It may seem like politicians stealing music for their campaigns is a relatively new phenomenon, with Donald Trump’s storied history of using songs without permission now reaching an absurd level, Huckabee getting nailed for using Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” at a Kim Davis rally, and the Dropkick Murphys telling Scott Walker “we literally hate you” after stealing one of their songs. But as John Oliver pointed out on Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight, this has been happening for quite some time now. Even Ronald Reagan got schooled by Bruce Springsteen for using “Born in the U.S.A.” for his reelection campaign in 1984, which actually doesn’t have the patriotic messaging the song’s title would suggest.
So what is an artist to do? Well sure, they can sue. There’s that. Taking a proactive measure, however, Oliver rounded up popular musicians such as Heart, Cyndi Lauper, John Mellencamp, Usher, Michael Bolton, Sheryl Crow, that dude from Imagine Dragons, and yes — even GROBAN — to come together and take a stand against this problem.
The resulting ballad was pretty inspiring to say the least, although for good measure they also make sure to remind politicians that, no, you can’t use this song either. And just to show that they’re good sports, they even offered up a free alternative! I personally can’t wait for Hillary to enter to a cat playing a keyboard for her big DNC speech.