Ten songs stolen by politicians


Swedish band Abba is suing a Danish anti-immigration party for using their song, Mama Mia in a rally.

The youth wing of the party sang the song, changing its lyrics to suit their far-right agenda.

But the Swedish legends are by no means the only musicians to object to politicians using their work. Here are 10 others:

Keane - Everybody's Changing

Earlier this year, the British Conservative Party used the rock group's 2004 hit in their election campaign. Drummer Richard Hughes posted on Twitter that the Tories had not asked for permission and that he would not be voting for the party.

James - Sit Down

Singer Tim Booth complained about the use of the band's song at a Labour Party Conference in 2008. The song was played over a PA system before a speech by then Prime Minister Gordon Brown at Manchester Central.

MGMT - Kids

French President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party used the smash single by indie band MGMT at its national congress, and in two online videos, in 2009. The UMP admitted using the track without permission and offered the symbolic compensation of one euro (85p, $1). MGMT's French lawyer, Isabelle Wekstein declined the offer, calling it insulting and disrespectful.

The incident happened a week before the French parliament considered a law put forward by Mr Sarkozy's party to crack down on online piracy.

Jackson Browne - Running on Empty

During the US presidential campaign in 2008, John McCain used a handful of songs without the consent of their creators, collecting an impressive number of complaints and in one case, a lawsuit:

• Jackson Browne sued Mr McCain for the use of Running on Empty.

• John Mellencamp's songs, Our Country and Pink Houses, were used even though Mellencamp described himself as a "staunch Democrat".

• Van Halen, Foo Fighters, Heart and Orleans also complained about their music being used.

Sam & Dave - Hold On, I'm Comin'

The R&B duo's song was used by Barack Obama as a theme song in his 2008 presidential campaign until Sam Moore asked him to stop. Some supporters sang the lyrics as: "Hold On, Obama's Coming". It seems there were no hard feelings. Less than a year later, Sam Moore, along with Sting and Elvis Costello performed Soul Man at one of Obama's inaugural parties.

Bruce Springsteen - Born in the USA

Bruce Springsteen

US President Ronald Reagan infuriated Springsteen by using Born in the USA in his 1984 re-election campaign. It was an odd choice, as the song is widely interpreted as a bitter criticism of American society by a Vietnam veteran, with lyrics such as: "You end up like a dog that's been beat too much" and "Ain't got nowhere to run / I'm a long gone Daddy in the USA."

At the time, Springsteen told the Rolling Stone magazine "I think people have a need to feel good about the country they live in. But what's happening, I think, is that that need is getting manipulated and exploited. You see that in the Reagan election ads on TV."

Rolling Stones - Angie

Angela Merkel enraged the Rolling Stones when she used the band's 1973 hit, as her campaign theme in her 2005 bid for German Chancellor. Although the Stones did not take legal action, a spokesperson for the band said: "We are surprised that [permission] was not requested. If it had been, we would have said No."

Campaign managers probably hoped that something would be lost in translation with lyrics such as, "With no loving in our souls and no money in our coats / You can't say we're satisfied," or "All the dreams we held so close seemed to all go up in smoke."

Hunters & Collectors - Holy Grail

The Tasmanian Liberals angered Australian band, Hunters & Collectors, by using their song Holy Grail at an election launch in 2002. "We are disgusted by the appropriation of our much loved anthem by a political party that we utterly despise," former front man Mark Seymour said, "We would like to make it known to the people of Tasmania that we are opposed to everything that the Liberal Party stand for."

Coldplay - Clocks

Chris Martin

In 2007, New Zealand's National Party leader, John Key, used a piece of music in a political DVD that was strikingly similar to Coldplay's "Clocks."

The piece in the DVD was composed by an Auckland artist but was so similar to Coldplay's hit - in its harmonies and rhythms - that it confused audiences. Australian copyright authorities notified the group's front man, Chris Martin.

Rush - The Spirit of Radio

Canadian band Rush was infuriated when Rand Paul used their song, The Spirit of Radio, to enthuse crowds during the US campaign in 2010 for Kentucky's Republican Senate nomination. Mr Paul's campaign manager dismissed the band's complaint, calling it a "non-issue".

A selection of your comments:

It is shocking, really, that people running for high office have so little regard for the artists' rights and the laws intended to protect those rights. Then again, career politics has a long tradition of attracting ethically challenged narcissists to its opportunistic nurture.

Michael McClard, United States

"Artists" need to get off their high horses and be grateful people play their songs. No doubt this is all about money after all they must be down to their last millions by now. Have no sympathy.

John Wilson,

It strikes me the appropriate response for the bands would be to show edited recordings of the offending politicians at their gigs in suggestive ways. An eye for an eye?

Leon Doughty, Norwich, UK

I don't understand why anyone other than far-left political candidates would want to use the music from the many immature, Lampwickian, drug-addicted, disconnected-from-reality pop music stars anyway. One would think that the politicians would want to distance themselves from such people rather than play their music at campaign events, but I guess not.

Tom, Chicago, USA

Yet again composers get ripped of by the very people who are supposed to respect the law, not steal!

Robin Parry, Los Angeles

Didn't Bush Jnr use "Time's Like These" much to the anger of Dave Grohl, hence him throwing his lot in with Kerry?

Jonathan, Somerset, UK

I find it amusing that the same politicians listed here using songs for public broadcasts and rallies are the same that are pushing for tougher copyright laws and cracking down on P2P file sharing. Unauthorized public broadcast of copyright content is just as much of a breach of copyright as file sharing.

Doug, Red Deer, Canada

Goes to show that many politicians wouldn't ever bother to listen to more than the chorus tagline, and presume that their supporters are similarly lacking in attention. Sadly, they're mainly right.

Dominic Widdows, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

It's funny, but once elected all these politicians will be the same ones who will vote for stiff penalties for people who "pirate" music and otherwise violate copyrights. They are in the hip pockets of the Big Media Companies, while engaging in informal piracy themselves.

Morgan Getham, Bloomington, USA

Politicians seem to believe and often without basis, that we love them. However clearly they sense that we love the songs more than them.

John C Giles, London, UK

Personally I would hate for anything of mine to associated to anything political. I remember when Labour got in with Tony Blair and they played D'ream "things can only get better" and the camera panned round and you saw John Prescott looking totally unimpressed and Niel Kinnock next to him tapping and jigging away! - Hilarious! ;o)

Kathy, BC, Canada

It's especially odd that McCain used Orleans music and John Hall, a co-founder of the band, is now a Democratic Congressman from New York.

Matt, Washington DC

Understandable that Sam Moore, a staunch conservative, would be upset about Mr. Obama using the song. However, Sam did not write it. Fellow Stax label artists David Porter and the late Isaac Hayes wrote it.

BJ, Cincinnati, USA

Over the Sept. 11th weekend in NYC those protesting against the mosque being built near ground zero were blaring 'Born in the USA' over loudspeakers. I wanted to print out copies of the lyrics and pass them out.

Bryan Counts, USA

What bizarre comments. When did it become illegal or immoral to play music at a public event? How many of the commentators or complaining artists in this article have asked for permission from every artist for every song they have ever played, outside of the privacy of their own homes? None, I am sure. Why are politicians held to a different standard?

Joe, Palm Coast, FL, USA

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