In one of his best known hit songs, New Jersey rock star Jon Bon Jovi sings “It’s My Life,” but he may want to consider a change in those lyrics to “It’s My Song.”
Bon Jovi is the latest of a long line of famous musicians this year to cry foul over the use of his music by the presidential campaign of Republican candidate John McCain. In rallies held this week by McCain’s vice presidential running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, Bon Jovi claims the song "Who Says You Can't Go Home" was used without his permission.
"We wrote this song as a thank you to those who have supported us over the past 25 years. The song has since become a banner for our home state of New Jersey and the de facto theme song for our partnerships around the country to build homes and rebuild communities,” Bon Jovi said in a statement. "Although we were not asked, we do not approve of their use of 'Home,'"
Earlier this year, Ann and Nancy Wilson of the rock group Heart expressed similar displeasure when Palin used their song “Barracuda” as something of an unofficial theme song (Barracuda was Palin’s nickname as a high school athlete). Both “"Who Says You Can't Go Home" and “Barracuda” are licensed for public use by ASCAP, the publishing company who controls the rights to the songs.
However, Bon Jovi and Heart have plenty of company when it comes to the unauthorized use of their songs. Musicians ranging from John Mellencamp to the Foo Fighters have been quite vocal at various times this year over the use of their songs by the McCain/Palin campaign. Jackson Browne even went so far as file a lawsuit charging copyright infringement when McCain used his song “Running On Empty” during political rallies.
Bon Jovi, who publically supports Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, recently threw a $30,000 per person fundraiser for Obama at his New Jersey home. Fellow New Jersey-ite Bruce Springsteen will perform tomorrow night along with Billy Joel and John Legend in an event for Obama at at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.