Music & Politics: 5 Moments When They Didn't Mix
Music & Politics: 5 Moments When They Didn't Mix

From the protest songs of Woodie Guthrie to the streetside concerts of Occupy Wall Street, music and politics have long gone hand in hand. But the two haven't always seen eye-to-eye. Here are five moments where music and politics didn't mix so well.

Ronald Reagan Pisses Off The Boss (1984)

Stop using my song:
An MSNBC report


Despite the title and feel-good-sounding hook, Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." was less an anthem than a lament for Vietnam vets when it arrived in 1984. These subtleties seemed to slip by President Ronald Reagan, who borrowed the song (without permission) for his re-election campaign. The Boss responded at a concert in Pittsburgh, telling the audience, "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," before playing cautionary tale "Johnny 99." Thus was born a long tradition of right-leaning politicians appropriating liberal rockers' songs, ranging from Michelle Bachmann and George W. Bush using Tom Petty without permission, to Heart shutting down former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin's plays of "Barracuda" (the former Alaska governor's nickname). And let's not forget about three separate superstars -- the Foo Fighters, Jackson Browne and John Mellencamp -- asking John McCain to stop using their music during his '08 presidential bid. Read more.

Dixie Chicks Bash Bush, Feel Nation's Wrath (2003)

"We're ashamed that the President of the U.S. is from Texas."


The Dixie Chicks were halfway around the world in 2003 when they took aim at then-president George W. Bush: "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas," singer Natalie Maines told a London audience in protest of the war in Iraq. But the immediate impact in the U.S. was instant: listeners called for a boycott, radio stations pulled them from playlists and Maines wound up apologizing for being "disrespectful" to the president days later. Though the band would find success again, including a Grammy album of the year win for 2006 release "Taking the Long Way," the controversy lingered -- according to one report, many country stations continued an informal ban on the group for years to come. Read more.

NEXT: Kanye calls out Bush; politicians tap their inner music snob

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