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10/04/2010

But in their defense, Pat Boone only had so many hits

by Jeremy Hooper

Over the years, this site's taken a particular interest in the way social conservatives sometimes pepper campaign stops with artists and songs that are diametrically opposed to most or all of the candidate's agenda. Famously, there was Ronald Reagan's face value embrace of the Vietnam-critical "Born In The U.S.A.," an out-of-sync jam that was publicly repudiated by The Boss himself. Or there was the usage of Heart's Barracuda to play out Sarah Palin at the '08 Republican Convention, a move that led Ann and Nancy Wilson to step in and say thanks but no thanks to the McCain campaign. And in 2000, Tom Petty said "I Won't Back Down" to the Bush campaign when they tried to use that very song.

But it's not just campaigns: It also happens at those big conference hall type events, where there is always interstitial music that seems incongruous at best, offensive to the spirit of the song/artist at worst. For example, during the recent Values Voters Summit, this writer was calmly waiting between condemnations of his life and love, when all of a sudden Ace of Base's "Beautiful Life" came blaring out of my speakers. Now, there are few thing I've come to expect from this particular Family Research Council event -- being transported to a mid-'90s gay bar just ain't one of 'em!

Or there are the times when an advocacy group uses a certain artist's music to promote a particular cause, prompting said composer to step in and cease/desist the effort. We saw this 201010041714firsthand this past August, when we prompted composer Bear McCreary to come out against the way the aforementioned Family Research Council was using his "Battlestar Gallactica" compositions in pro-bias web videos. That same month, our pals at the Courage Campaign had a similar experience when their exposure prompted Peter, Paul & Mary's people to call out the National Organization For Marriage for using PP&M's version of "This Land is Your Land" at some of that orgnization's summer tour stops. In both cases, it was the artists' resistance to the anti-LGBT crowd's discriminatory ways that led to a screeching record.

Now comes yet another chapter in the Top 40 countdown or anti-gay smackdowns. The subject remains NOM, though this time it's John Mellencamp who's calling out Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown's anti-civil rights organization for what it is:

"I am getting in touch with you on behalf of my client John Mellencamp who has become aware that his music (“Pink Houses”) has been used at events sponsored by your organization. Please be aware that Mr. Mellencamp’s views on same sex marriage and equal rights for people of all sexual orientations are at odds with NOM’s stated agenda."
FULL STORY: John Mellencamp: No “Pink Houses” for NOM [Prop 8 Trial Tracker]

What a feisty Cougar!

Our advice to those who want to push both an anti-gay agenda and the play button on a progressive artist's music: Don't. Besides, they always have Lewis & Lewis to keep the team entertained:

Or Anita:

Or Angie & Debbie Winans:

What more do they need?

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