Stop Using My Song: 35 Artists Who Fought Politicians Over Their Music

From Springsteen vs. Reagan to Neil Young vs. the Donald

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Van Halen vs. John McCain
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Jeffrey Ufberg/WireImage, Dennis Van Tine/Photoshot/Getty Images24/35

Van Halen vs. John McCain

When: 2008
Song: "Right Now"
Controversy: The self-proclaimed "maverick" candidate used one of the dullest tracks from the Van Hagar era during a televised rally; the brothers Van Halen jumped. They issued a statement saying, "Permission was not sought or granted nor would it have been given." While not necessarily a McCain supporter, Sammy Hagar – the song's singer and co-writer – said that he got goose bumps, in a positive sense, from the candidate playing the song. "I was honored that a potential president of the United States used those words in a positive sense, like, 'We gotta act now!'" he enthused.
Result: McCain kept using the song. What's perhaps more important is that the incident actually inspired Eddie Van Halen to call up Hagar, even though the two ended up just playing phone tag.

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