On Tuesday morning (September 9), the 1977 hit played before McCain and Palin showed up for an outdoor rally in Lebanon, Ohio. Heart’s Ann and Nancy Wilson initially complained when it was played at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, before Palin’s appearance last Wednesday and after McCain’s speech on Thursday. Palin gained the nickname “Sarah Barracuda” while on her high school basketball team, and Republicans are likely using the rock anthem to remind voters of the Alaska governor’s reputation as a tenacious leader.
“The Republican campaign did not ask for permission to use the song, nor would they have been granted that permission,” read a statement from Heart’s camp. “We have asked the Republican campaign publicly not to use our music. We hope our wishes will be honored.”
Later, in an e-mail to EW.com, the Wilson sisters said that “Sarah Palin’s views and values in NO WAY represent us as American women. … While Heart did not and would not authorize the use of their song at the RNC, there’s irony in Republican strategists’ choice to make use of it there.”
The Republican Party did in fact obtain the necessary license to use the song, which can be played when a venue pays a blanket fee to ASCAP, the organization that protects music copyrights.
While the Wilsons are clearly upset, “Barracuda” co-writer and former Heart guitarist Roger Fisher (Nancy’s ex) has a different outlook. He’s happy to receive the publicity, he told Reuters last week, and he pledged to give part of the royalties from the song’s use to Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama’s campaign.