Rocker Tom Petty has torpedoed Michele Bachmann’s use of his “American Girl” as a theme song, if you haven’t heard. The newly declared GOP presidential candidate had been playing the piece when she walked onstage at public events.
Petty’s management has sent the Bachmann campaign a cease-and-desist notice, according to Rolling Stone. Thus Ms. Bachmann joins the long list of Republican politicians angrily told “You Wreck Me” by liberal musicians who claim their music is being used against their will.
The band Heart objected when Sarah Palin used their “Barracuda” on stage at the 2008 GOP convention, for instance. John Mellencamp didn’t approve of John McCain using his “Our Country” in the 2008 campaign. (Senator McCain’s advisers perhaps did not know that Mellencamp played at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.)
And here’s a tip for politicians of all stripes: It might be best to stay away from Bruce Springsteen’s iconic “Born in the USA.” The Boss rebuked Ronald Reagan when the Gipper used it in 1984, and, really, the lyrics aren’t as upbeat as the tune suggests. Even for Democrats, “The Rising” might be a better choice – that’s what Springsteen played at President Obama’s inaugural.
Anyway, the Bachmann campaign is still “Learning to Fly,” so they’re probably looking for a better theme song. Reportedly they played “American Girl” again on Wednesday, apparently by accident. They cut it off after 30 seconds and went to “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves. Really, they can do better than that. Here are some suggestions from a classic rock expert we know.
“Girl from the North Country” by Bob Dylan. On the plus side, Dylan is from Minnesota, like Bachmann. He’s famously unpredictable, so he might let Bachmann go ahead and use this, no matter his own personal politics. And the title is perfect. On the minus side, this song is kind of lyrical. Maybe she could use it in a campaign commercial.
“Little Miss Dangerous” by Ted Nugent. No, we’re not trying to demean Bachmann here – we’re looking for something that says “I mean business.” This would fill that role. Plus, Ted Nugent is a big-time conservative. The only reason he’d nix Bachmann’s use of this song is if he believes she’s too far to the left.
“Planet Queen” by T. Rex. Choose this song, and you’re outflanking Tom Petty. What’s bigger than an American girl? A planet queen, that’s who. More land, and a higher rank.
“Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac. This title gets at the renegade, maverick, going rogue part of the Bachmann candidacy. And using it would counterbalance Bill Clinton’s long association with the band’s “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.” Plus, this band has reached the age where it perhaps is more interested in the size and regularity of royalty checks than in where the money comes from. So the song might be available.
“Michelle” by the Beatles. Yes, it might be a long shot. Paul McCartney played this for Michelle Obama in the White House, so we’re guessing that he and the other Beatles copyright holders might not be wild about letting Bachmann use it too. But isn’t the title perfect? Except for that extra “l.”