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Richard Roeper Blog

Campaign rap for Newt Gingrich signals the death of hip hop

Have you heard the rap song titled “Hoot for Newt,” performed by those teenagers from Florida?

Lyrics sample:

Hoot, hoot, hoot

Everybody vote for Newt

Hoot, hoot, hoot

Everybody vote for Newt

N to the E to the WT

Newt Gingrich taking over these streets . . .

Obama better step out the White House

Gingrich gonna get in the White House . . .

Celebrating all day like it’s a parade

Yeah we got pro-life all up in this thang . . .

Hoot, hoot, hoot

Everybody vote for Newt

Hoot, hoot, hoot

Everybody vote for Newt

And with that I would just like to say:

R.I.P. Hip-hop music, 1977-2012. You had a good run.

Call him Thunderlips

At least there’s not a kerfuffle over the Gingrich campaign playing “Hoot for Newt,” as there is with “Eye of the Tiger.” When Frank Sullivan, who composed and wrote the song along with Jim Peterik, filed a lawsuit in federal court to stop Gingrich from using the “Rocky III” anthem, it was just the latest in a long line of stories about pop stars not happy about certain politicians using their songs without permission.

Just a couple of months ago Michele Bachmann was kicking off campaign rallies with the opening riff to Tom Petty’s “American Girl,” which prompted Petty to issue a cease-and-desist letter. A decade earlier, Petty was pissed off when George W. Bush’s campaign used “I Won’t Back Down” as a campaign anthem.

I don’t believe we ever heard or read about this kind of thing happening way back in the day, e.g., Sinatra threatening to sue Goldwater for using “The Best is Yet to Come” in 1964, or Don McLean pleading with Nixon to PLEASE stop using “American Pie” in ’72. Seems the first of these controversies occurred in 1984, when Ronald Reagan made a re-election campaign stop in Hammonton, N.J., and told the crowd:

“America’s future rests in a thousand dreams inside our hearts. It rests in the message of hope in the songs of a man so many young Americans admire: New Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen.”

Reagan’s campaign staff said “Born in the USA” was Reagan’s favorite Springsteen song, prompting the press — and Springsteen — to wonder if the president understood the song was about a disillusioned Vietnam vet who is, in Springsteen’s words, “in the middle of a spiritual crisis, in which man is left lost . . . he’s isolated from the government, from his family . . .”

In 2000, Sting asked George W. Bush to stop using “Brand New Day,” while John Mellencamp voiced displeasure over Bush using “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.”

In 2008, John McCain was like a guy at a karaoke bar who keeps getting booed every time he butchers a song. John Mellencamp didn’t want the McCain campaign to use “Pink Houses” or “Our Country,” Jackson Browne sued McCain and the GOP for using “Running on Empty,” and Dave Grohl asked them to stop using “My Hero.”

The McCain campaign even tried to use Orleans’ “Still the One” — even though former Orleans founder John Hall was a Democratic congressman by then.

When Sarah Palin, who was known as “Sarah Barracuda” in high school, stepped to the lectern at the 2008 GOP convention, Heart’s “Barracuda” blasted from the sound system. Heart’s Nancy Wilson said, “Sarah Palin’s views . . . in no way represent us as American women.”

Tom Scholz of Boston asked Mike Huckabee to stop using “More Than a Feeling.”

At least Ross Perot showed a sense of humor in 1992, when he chose a campaign anthem that would fit just about any candidate on the trail:

Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.”

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