By Lesbiatopia Feature Writer Sei
On my rack of music CD’s, you will find a very long section beginning with a simple black edged CD and ending with a more rainbow colored one. It takes up about a quarter of my three foot tall CD rack. This is the section dedicated to the band Heart. In there, you will find three pink edged CD’s. They are all special editions, and the top one is Little Queen. The first song from that album is "Barracuda." I have been a fan of the Wilson sisters and their group Heart since I was ten. Twenty-four years later, I am still a huge fan of their work, and I’ll cop to having a major crush on Ann Wilson growing up. I still have my poster from their album Bad Animals.
So, like many of the legions of Heart fans out there, I was appalled and angered by the GOP’s lifting of their signature song "Barracuda" to be used as a backdrop to Sarah Palin. Palin, who earned the nickname Barracuda while playing basketball, was certainly not of the caliber of these two women who suffered greatly to bring us music for more than three decades. When Heart first burst onto the scene in the 1970's, they were attacked by various agents of the music industry. Rumors abounded that the sisters were lesbians, and that they were having an incestuous affair. These rumors were all aimed at ruining what really was one of the first strong, popular women led rock bands. Their response to this, the writing of a single song- Barracuda. The song has become synonymous with the soulless, predatory, and inhumane appearing in movies from Shrek the Third to Wag the Dog, and video games as diverse as Guitar Hero III and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (not all of the versions are by Heart, but rather other artists). Their song "No Other Love" from their 2004 release Jupiter’s Darling appears in the L Word season two.
The use of their song did not go unnoticed by the Wilson sisters. "The sisterly duo known as Heart sent a cease-and-desist notice to the McCain-Palin campaign Thursday afternoon after their hit "Barracuda" was used- twice- without permission as the official rallying cry for the vice presidential candidate after her acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention," according to Gina Serpe of E! Online. "‘We have asked the Republican campaign publicly not to use our music,’ the Heart duo said in a statement. ‘We hope our wishes will be honored.’" Unfortunately they were not. McCain and Palin appeared on stage after his acceptance speech to the strains of that familiar song. While it is possible the slow, inefficient campaign structure of McCain-Palin simply had not had time to digest the ‘request’. "‘I think it’s completely unfair to be so misrepresented,’ Nancy Wilson told [Entertainment Weekly] Thursday night. ‘I feel completely f–ked over’" A follow up email was sent to EW- "Sarah Palin’s views and values in NO WAY represent us as American women. We ask that our song ‘Barracuda’ no longer be used to promote her image. The song ‘Barracuda’ was written in the late ‘70's as a scathing rant against the soulless, corporate nature of the music business, particularly for women (the ‘barracuda’ represents the business.) While Heart did not and would not authorize the use of their song at the RNC there’s irony in Republican strategits’ choice to make use of it there." This is not the first time the RNC or even the DNC have courted controversy with their choices of theme music. The McCain campaign has already been warned by Boston, John Mellencamp and Jackson Browne over the use of their music. However, Brooks and Dunn have not had any similar reaction to Senator Obama’s use of their song "Only in America".
The Wilson sisters are currently on the last leg of their summer tour. Their next stops are in Cincinnati, Ohio and Clarkson, Michigan, and they will be wrapping things up in Hollywood, California the end of this month. Heart also supports the anti-poverty and anti-AIDS charity ONE. Ann Wilson’s album Hope and Glory is in the stores and contains many great covers as well as the very gentle, somber anti-war ballad "Little Problems, Little Lies" sung from the perspective of a dying solder. Heart is one of the few artists to release an album in each of the four decades that they have been recording. Others in that tiny alum are Aerosmith and Meat Loaf.