Tom Petty: Michele Bachmann Can’t Use My Song

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Charlie Neibergall/AP

Michele Bachmann waves to supporters before making her formal announcement to seek the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Monday, June 27, 2011

If Michele Bachmann becomes the next President of the United States, it’s safe to say that Tom Petty won’t be playing the inauguration.

When the newly minted Republican presidential candidate left the stage in Waterloo, Iowa, after making a nationally televised speech to announce her candidacy, Petty’s track “American Girl” could be heard playing her off. According to NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell, Petty’s manager will be asking Bachmann’s team to┬ánot use the song again.

How serious is Petty taking the matter? His people issued Bachmann’s with a ‘cease and desist’ letter from publishers Wixen Music Publishing, who don’t want voters under the impression that he supports the GOP candidate.

(LIST: Michele Bachmann in the TIME 100)

Petty has reacted similarly in the past when it came to the Republicans using his music for their campaigns. A ‘cease and desist’ was sent to former President George W. Bush over his campaign’s use of “I Won’t Back Down” (Bush duly did).

Indeed, the relations between musicians and (it would seem, Republican) politicians can be frosty. After the last election, John McCain apologized to Jackson Browne to settle a lawsuit over the use of his song, “Running on Empty” (the luckless McCain was also asked to stop using tracks by the Foo Fighters and John Mellancamp). Soon afterward, California senatorial candidate Chuck DeVore had to make nice with Don Henley over use of the songs “Boys of Summer” and “All She Wants to Do is Dance.” And completing this most unwanted of hat-tricks, Florida governor Charlie Crist was extremely regretful after playing David Byrne’s iconic “Road to Nowhere.”

But if Bachmann wants to feel slightly better about this slip-up, at least she has recent company in the form of potential Republican rival, Sarah Palin. In 2008, she used Heart’s “Barracuda” at the Republican National Convention. The band said after the performance that, “Sarah Palin’s views and values in NO WAY represent us as American women.”

And it could have been worse still for Bachmann: at least she didn’t compare Petty to a serial killer, as she did before “American Girl” was played when mixing up John Wayne with John Wayne Gacy. Wayne was famously known for being the “strong silent type,” advice that Bachmann may want to consider instead of upsetting musicians at the end of her speeches. (via NBC)

LIST: All-TIME Best 100 Albums