What’s in a song? Apparently a lot, if the song happens to be Heart’s 1977 hit “Barracuda” and the people playing it happen to work for Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
Following Governor Palin’s address to the Republican National Convention, strains of Heart’s classic “Barracuda” filtered through the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., in deference to the first female GOP vice presidential nominee.
After Palin made such a forceful and at times biting debut on the national political stage, the song seemed a dead-on choice to symbolize the GOP’s brash new political star. In fact, Palin earned the nickname “Sarah Barracuda” as a basketball player at her Wasilla, Alaska, high school for being a tough competitor.
Now flash-forward to the next day.
Heart front women Nancy and Ann Wilson were so aghast by the GOP ticket’s use of their music to promote Palin that
they publicly issued a cease-and-desist order asking the McCain campaign to stop using their song, posthaste.
In a statement to Entertainment Weekly , the Wilson sisters even went so far as to say that “Sarah Palin’s views and values in no way [their emphasis] represent us as American women.” One might have thought that would be the end of the story, but Heart’s former guitarist Roger Fisher, who cowrote “Barracuda,” had a different take on the matter. Fisher told Reuters he believed that the McCain camp’s use of the song benefited both sides: Republicans get “the ingenious placement of a kick-ass song” — and Heart gets headlines and royalties. Part of that money, Fisher said, would be heading to the Arizona senator’s opponent: “With my contribution to Obama’s campaign, the Republicans are now supporting Obama.”
The McCain campaign didn’t respond to The Advocate‘s requests for comment. However, according to CNN.com, the campaign has said that it had paid for and obtained all necessary licenses before using “Barracuda.”
Hence, the song was still blaring through the streets of towns like Lebanon, Ohio, last week as McCain and Palin barnstormed through this year’s most contentious battleground states.
A spokesperson for Ann and Nancy Wilson has yet to comment further, so to quote the opening line of “Barracuda” –- “So, this ain’t the end.”