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September 6, 2008

We Heart Heart

Lilith and I were out at the bar last night, and of course one of the topics of conversation was Sarah Palin. It wasn't entirely our fault - for some reason the bar we were in decided to have 37 TVs turned to baseball games and one to Fox News. They showed some footage of Palin onstage after her speech at the RNC, and we were talking about how the campaign kept using the Heart song "Barracuda" for her because of her lovely nickname, "Sarah Barracuda", which is apparently from her high school basketball days. We said that we found it really hard to believe that the women of Heart would allow or be happy about their song being used for someone like Palin, and it turns out that we were right.

Thursday afternoon, Heart e-mailed out a statement regarding vice-presidential candidate Sarah "Barracuda" Palin's use of their similarly monikered song at the Republican National Convention: "The Republican campaign did not ask for permission to use the song, nor would they have been granted that permission," it read. "We have asked the Republican campaign publicly not to use our music. We hope our wishes will be honored."

But after McCain finished his speech accepting the GOP's presidential nomination tonight, Palin joined him on stage, and the song was used again: Heart's "Barracuda" played as balloons fell. With that elephant in the room, Heart's Nancy Wilson felt compelled to personally respond. "I think it's completely unfair to be so misrepresented," she said in a phone call to EW.com after the speech. "I feel completely f---ed over." She and sister Ann Wilson then e-mailed the following exclusive statement:

"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. The song 'Barracuda' was written in the late 70s as a scathing rant against the soulless, corporate nature of the music business, particularly for women. (The 'barracuda' represented the business.) 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."

This annoyed us so much that we both...downloaded "Barracuda" from itunes. We know, not exactly groundbreaking activism. But we can imagine how frustrating it would be as artists and businesswomen to have your work taken and used without your permission by people who stand against everything that you stand for, and who are willing to misunderstand and misrepresent the meaning of your work in order to twist it to suit their own needs. (Actually, we've experienced it ourselves, but on a much smaller stage than the RNC.) So we figured a small show of support couldn't hurt.

Also check out Ann Wilson's recent solo album Hope & Glory, where she covers and reimagines songs from the 60s and 70s and collaborates with a whole bunch of cool people. Ann says, "A lot of these songs have a strong political and social component. I felt it would be good to bring them back, given the way things are in the world right now."

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