In one of the stranger stories to come over the wire in a long time, it turns out that former Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney got into an altercation with Sky Blu of LMFAO on an airplane on Monday (February 15). Before the flight from Vancouver (where the group was hanging out at the Winter Olympics) to Los Angeles could even get off the ground, Romney asked Blu to put his seat up. When the artist didn’t comply, the altercation became physical, and Blu was escorted off the plane by air marshals.
While this is probably the most direct confrontation between a musician and a politician, there have been no shortage of head-to-heads between the two worlds.
John McCain vs. John Mellencamp
At rallies during his 2008 presidential run, McCain’s camp often played the rootsy midwestern rocker’s “Our Country.” One problem: Mellencamp is a staunch Democrat and at the time was endorsing the campaign of John Edwards (who was also using “Our Country” at rallies). Mellencamp asked McCain to stop using the songs, which lead to a parade of other rockers calling out McCain, including Eddie Van Halen (for the use of “Right Now”) and Dave Grohl (because McCain was using Foo Fighters’ “My Hero”).
Ronald Reagan vs. Bruce Springsteen
During his reelection campaign in 1984, Reagan dropped Springsteen’s name and attempted to associate “Born in the U.S.A.” with his image. Springsteen, who wasn’t a Reagan fan, didn’t like that at all. During a concert in Pittsburgh after Reagan’s mention, Springsteen introduced a song saying, “The President was mentioning my name the other day, and I kinda got to wondering what his favorite album musta been. I don’t think it was the Nebraska album. I don’t think he’s been listening to this one.” The Boss’ main frustration was with the fact that Reagan (and most everybody, really) seemed to miss the fact that “Born in the U.S.A.” wasn’t a nationalistic anthem but a lament on the fading of the American dream.
Sarah Palin vs. Heart
When she was first introduced to the world at the 2008 Republican National Convention, former Alaska governor Palin used Heart’s “Barracuda” as an entrance theme. That didn’t sit well with Heart frontwoman Nancy Wilson, who sent a cease and desist letter to the National Republican Party. “I feel completely f—ed over,” Wilson said. “Sarah Palin’s views and values in no way represent us as American women.”
George W. Bush vs. Everybody
There was never any particular direct confrontation, but most anybody with a guitar took a shot at George W. Bush during his eight years in office. Green Day? Check. Beastie Boys? Yep. Pearl Jam? Of course. Bright Eyes? Absolutely. Eminem? Certainly. Neil Young? You bet. The list goes on and on — in fact, there were two volumes of a punk compilation called Rock Against Bush.
What’s your favorite musician versus politician feud? Did we forget any notable entries? Leave your ideas in the comments!