Tom Petty's management sent a Teapublican Michele Bachmann's campaign a cease-and-desist letter, demanding she never use his song
“American Girl” at campaign events again. That was fast–she just launched her campaign yesterday!
At any rate, this is just the latest instance where Tom Petty has had to ward off those pesky Republicans from using his songs to further their political careers. And Petty's not having it, no sirree. After the jump, a few moments in time when Petty has had to issue cease-and-desist letters to politicians (mostly for the song “I Won't Back Down”).
1. Petty vs. George Bush
In 2000, then-Texas Governor George W. Bush used “I Won't Back Down” for his presidential campaign. The song is the first single from Tom Petty's first solo album, Full Moon Fever, released
in 1989. It suggests a struggle against the odds, defying powers that
be. To Bush, it was the perfect song for a political campaign. Tom Petty didn't like that, so he had his publisher, Randall Wixen of Wixen Music Publishing Inc., send Dubya a “cease and desist” letter to stop his campaign from using the song.
According to Pophistorydig:
to Bush in early February 2000, telling him to “immediately cease and
desist all uses of the song in connection with your campaign.” Wixen
said in his letter to Bush that the use of the song “creates, either
intentionally or unintentionally, the impression that you and your
campaign have been endorsed by Tom Petty, which is not true.”
Michael Toner, a lawyer for Bush's campaign,
wrote back, saying, “We do not agree that the mere playing or
use of a particular song at a campaign event connotes any impression,
either intentionally or unintentionally, of endorsement.” Nevertheless,
Toner confirmed that the Bush campaign would not use the song at any
future campaign events. Yup, Bush backed down.
2. “I Won't Back Down” + Democrats
Petty has nothing against Dems using his song for their political campaigns, however. Virginia Democrat Jim Webb and Robert Menendez of New
Jersey both ran for Senate using the song successfully. Eliot Spitzer of New York used it for his gubernatorial bid, as did Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards–both of which failed.
3. “I Won't Back Down” + People Who Backed Down
When Hillary Rodham Clinton was campaigning to be the Democratic candidate for president during the primaries, she would use Tom
Petty's “I Won't Back Down” at her gatherings and press conferences.
Most notably, after Al Gore conceded
the 2000 presidential election to George Bush, Tom Petty performed the song for Gore and his
supporters at the gathering and at Gore's vice presidential
home in Washington.