Republicans Take Heart; Heart Takes It Back

Nancy and Ann Wilson send cease-and-desist letter to McCain-Palin campaign over unauthorized use of "Barracuda"

By Gina Serpe Sep 05, 2008 2:47 PMTags
Sarah PalinAP Photo/Kiichiro Sato

Ann and Nancy Wilson are hoping the Republicans change their tune—and aren't planning on waiting until November to find out.

The sisterly duo known as Heart sent a cease-and-desist notice to the McCain-Palin campaign Thursday afternoon after their hit "Barracuda" was used—twice—without permission as the official rallying cry for the vice presidential candidate after her nomination acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention.

The song was chosen as a would-be cute tie-in to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's past—"Barracuda" was her high school nickname.

Only problem, campaign officials failed to ask either the group, Universal Music Publishing or Sony BMG whether the song was fair game to use. It wasn't.

"We have asked the Republican campaign publicly not to use our music," the Heart duo said in a statement. "We hope our wishes will be honored."

The Wilsons added that permission to use the song was never requested, nor would it have been granted.

Then came Thursday night, and following John McCain's acceptance speech at the RNC, Palin joined her running mate onstage, once again to the strains of the '70s classic.

The Wilsons wasted no time in getting to the, well, heart of the matter in a rant to Entertainment Weekly.

"I think it's completely unfair to be so misrepresented," Nancy Wilson told the magazine Thursday night. "I feel completely f--ked over."

Randee St. Nicholas

Her reaction was followed up by an email sent by her and Ann to EW.

"Sarah Palin's views and values in NO WAY represent us as American women. We ask that our song 'Barracuda' no longer be used to promote her image...[It] was written in the late '70s as a scathing rant against the soulless, corporate nature of the music business, particularly for women...There's irony in Republican strategists' choice to make use of it there."

There's also a bit of precedent.

John Mellencamp, Jackson Browne and Boston have all previously made noise about the GOP's unauthorized use of their songs during this year's campaign.