Republican National Convention Features Music by David Bowie, Queen and the Turtles
Using music without the artist's permission has been such a hallmark of the 2016 campaign season that it would have been surprising if the Republican National Convention hadn't added a couple more items to the list.
True to form, however, the first night of the RNC featured a number of odd and/or unauthorized soundtrack selections. As many outlets have reported (and as you can watch above), Republican nominee Donald Trump took the stage to the strains of Queen's "We Are the Champions" — despite guitarist Brian May's earlier insistence that the surviving band members didn't approve the use of their song.UPDATE: Queen have commented about the matter on Twitter: "An unauthorized use at the Republican Convention against our wishes." And Sony Music ATV, which owns the publishing rights for "We Are the Champions," told TMZ that the Trump campaign never asked for permission to use the song, but it's unknown whether or not it will take legal action.
Social media jumped all over Trump's "Champions" moment, with many users pointing out that the Republican platform, Trump's immigration stance and the political record of Trump's VP pick, Indiana governor Mike Pence, aren't exactly in step with Queen's background or overall message. (Even Sting wasn't pleased; TMZ has footage of him saying late singer Freddie Mercury would not approve.)
Still, that might not have been the oddest musical performance of the day.
Yahoo! Music also notes that the house band played David Bowie's "Station to Station," which — as the report points out — includes the line "It’s not the side effects of the cocaine / I’m thinking that it must be love." (Slate has video of the performance, for those who'd like the full experience.)
The band also covered the Turtles' "Happy Together," which prompted band member Howard Kaylan to threaten legal action — although, as his bandmate Mark Volman told the Los Angeles Times, that really isn't an option as long as the performance fees are paid. Still, while Volman laughed that it's "a fabulous song" and he understands why the party would want to use it, he sees a philosophical disconnect between the event and the spirit of the music's message.
"It seems kind of silly that they would open the convention with something that has nothing to do with them at all," Kaylan argued. "The RNC seems to be going out of its way in creating more of a negative than a positive, so I don’t think ‘Happy Together’ really fits."
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