Exclusive: Heart's Nancy Wilson responds to McCain campaign's use of 'Barracuda' at Republican convention

Mccainwilson_l 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.”

The Heart-McCain incident isn’t the only example of music-related controversy on this year’s presidential campaign trail. Click here to read Chris Willman’s report about Barack Obama’s eyebrow-raising use of Brooks & Dunn’s “Only in America” after his nomination-acceptance address last week.


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  • Sarah C

    The Wilsons should sue for royalties plus damages from the GOP — and then donate the funds to the Obama campaign.

    • Siri

      A-frickin’-MEN to that!

  • Anonymous

    Nancy Wilson, Tell it like it is!

  • Anonymous

    Thank God for the Wilson sisters!

  • Mary

    Well shucks!! I just spend the last hour+ listening to Heart and enjoying what I was hearing… because I WAS watching the RNC…and heard your music playing. After it was over, I went on a search for the song I heard (knowing it was Heart) and eventually found this statement. I’m floored!!
    I totally disagree with your statement above: “Sarah Palin’s views and values in NO WAY represent us as American women.” On the contrary, I believe they DO!!! I was so proud to see a fully rounded and grounded woman stand on that stage declaring truth and her heart and soul for all to see!! I didn’t see an angry, hardened politician. I didn’t see a frumpy, masculinized, sell out shell of a woman, but saw instead, a beautifully radiant, feminine woman who steps up to the plate, speaks her heart and mind and walks in integrity!! WOW what a concept!! She’s awesome!! Go Sarah!!! Go McCain/Palin!!! You made the women of AMERICA proud tonight!!

    • Siri

      I disagree totally, Mary, and furthermor, I salute any American woman who stands up to the American Proto-Fascists (i.e., Republicans, conservatives) and says that Palin does not represent her.

      And I’ll do it now, too: I’M AN AMERICAN WOMAN, AND SARAH PALIN **DOES NOT** REPRESENT ME!!!

    • bethb

      OK, this is a (grown) woman who actually said at a rally “How’s that hopey changey stuff werkin’ fer ya? REALLY/ They’re not even WORDS. You want us to take this woman seriously, who couldn’t even hack ONE term as governor, and whose teenage daughter comes home knocked up–REALLY?

    • josephhyde

      Were I Nancy Wilson, I might have simply told the back story to the song, and let the RNC decide if it serves them or not.
      Unless they are completely clueless, the RNC would probably have dropped it like a rock!

    • Sally2you

      I agree 100%!!What a disappointment Nancy!Guess I will have to stop listening to YOU! I am SO SICK of musicians and celebrities getting on their stands to shove their political views down our throats. Sing,- that’s what your fans want not your boost for the liberal a** in office.

      • anonymous

        I disagree. I don’t think Nancy was using her celebrity to shove political views down anyone’s throat. Heart wrote that song, and asked after the first unauthorized use that it not be used again. Their wishes were not honored and Nancy was simply reiterating that they do not appreciate their music being used to back a campaign that they do not support (whether you agree or not, they still have the rights to that song so the point is if they don’t want it used, it shouldn’t be). I don’t think she was getting up on a soapbox about her specific views other than she’s obviously not a republican.

    • William

      Thank God every woman is not a Soccer Mom or a Momma Grizzly! Palin may as well have slapped the Wilson’s in the face. She is so damn arrogant and thinks every woman should think like her.

  • Anonymous

    Heart should be happy just to have their music played…anywhere!

    • Patrick

      That’s just a douchey comment, you loser.

      • Justin

        And your comment isn’t? Anonymous may have been a little snarky but yours is just foul and rude.

    • de

      Radio won’t play Heart they only play black music. People like sarah palin made heart rich while people like obama won’t let white women rockers be heard when they maker the radio playlists.

  • TL

    Get over it!

  • Jessica

    That’s a bit redic don’t cha think! Palin is awesome!!

  • Lucy

    Yet another reminder of how freaking awesome the Wilson sisters are. I’ve always admired them, and I am so glad to see them taking a stand here!
    Oh, and Mary, for those of us American women who believe in things like choice, evolution, and global warming, Sarah Palin does NOT represent our views or values. So glad you discovered the genius of Heart; now shut the hell up.

  • JC

    Wow it’s nice to see EW actually covering SOMETHING from the RNC convention. It’s not like EW spent all of last week giving free buzz anf puff pieces to the DNC convention or anything…….oh wait…..
    On another note, who actually knew Barracuda had any meaning? I always thought it was a subpar song about fish. Who knew.
    Frankly, these Heart ladies need to grow up. People don’t care about you or your song that was written like 30 years ago. They sure as hell don’t care about the meaning of the song. If someone fairly gets the rights to use a song, tough beans.

    • Java Ace

      It’s so easy to slam someone’s music if you disagree with their politics, isn’t it? Heart’s music was so good, it helped smash through the wall at a time when radio stations had rules about only playing one female “or otherwise novelty” rock song per hour. They helped pave the way for women in rock. Sarah Palin in no way understands what we women had to put up with in every profession at that time. She benefits from our perseverence, political action and working twice as hard to get half as far. She just doesn’t care. And she’s so gleefully ignorant, she probably doesn’t know. She’s a spoiled, snarky brat who is completely comfortable with using beauty pagents to gain power and fortune.

  • Mary

    Uh.. Lucy? Hey, as long as I have a choice, I will speak my mind and the truth, and not be silenced by the likes of those who are NOT fully enlightened!! I believe in a woman’s right to be fully informed about the facts and make a choice she can live with the rest of her life!! I believe I have a “right” to speak my mind and convictions without being told to shut up!! Like I said, I admire integrity, truth, honesty.. and applaude the likes of Sarah Palin for having the CLASS to stand for what she does believe in!! Go Sarah!! Thank GOD we still have that right!!

  • CC

    What’s sad Mary, is that you opted to insult other female politicians on their appearances and their attitudes and little else. Someone doesn’t have integrity just because you agree with their views. Someone lacks it sorely when they ask for privacy in the press regarding their daughter’s CHOICE while running on a platform that plans to remove everyone else’s same right to choose. She should be scrutinized and questioned about the decision if she wants to take abortion rights away from even rape victims. Hypocritical republican moron (that’d be Palin).
    That choice you were talking to Lucy about… better pay a little more attention to the party and people you support before they rip it away from you.

  • Rebecca

    Pahleeze! It’s a sexy tune and it DOES describe Sarah role . Like someone said before…..HEART BE GLAD ANYONE IS LISTENING TO YOUR SONG. I was going to go out and buy it but now that I know your views…. I can’t … I plan on doing what Mc Cain has always done….the right thing.

  • Rowena Cherry

    It’s no wonder the public is confused about copyright when copyright isn’t respected in the highest office of our land.
    The law is clear about public performances. It’s a sad day for the world when the incumbent of the Oval Office sets an example that it is OK to steal.

  • R

    So Mary, YOU know what represents Ann and Nancy’s views and values better than they do themselves? You are an idiot.

  • nunnya

    Ugh. I’ve always loved Heart. I’m sad that they weren’t honored to be associated with Sara. I think she’s awesome.

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