Hello and welcome members of the Republican Party. Welcome to your 2016 National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Welcome to Freedom Plaza* (*pending credentials for approved and strictly monitored outlets and individuals). What is up, you Republicans? GOPpers. Elephant people. Red staters. Tea baggers and Trump pumpers alike, welcome. Trickle-down economics! Viva Alito! Lincoln’s party what is up?! Look, there’s 2010 Super Bowl commercial star Tim Tebow! Oh, he cancelled? Well, uh, check out the C+ celebs like Scott Baio and Antonio Sabato! Jr! And over there is one of the aliens from V, Ted Cruz! And don’t forget to pick up your lamé totes with Trump steaks and a “TRUMP” insignia on both sides!
Sorry. This isn’t meant to be a bashing of Republicans, but rather a little something about the bash for Republicans that goes down every four years. Today, the Republican Party is defined by, well, whatever Obama is doing and then going in the absolute opposite direction. But the face of the Republican Party in the past 30 years has altered so drastically that it’s just so hard to know where they stand and what defines the Grand Old Party sometimes. One must imagine Nixon’s corpse has spun so many times in its grave that it’s a toothpick.
But there’s one thing Republicans have been great at for over 50 years: being asked time and again to stop using popular artists’ music. It’s wild. Pick a prominent Republican presidential nominee, and the playlist of prohibited music could fill dozens of iPods. So, in the spirit of the Republican National Convention, and getting in trouble over copyright laws for misuse of arts at public events, we’re looking back at 10 distinct moments when artists said “no” to Republicans. Because there are few things funnier than the RNC, the party that rock music seems to hate, being hosted in the city of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
Let’s hit play*.
(*But not before checking with Neil Young first.)
Senior Staff Writer
Carol Channing and Louis Armstrong
Pulled From: Barry Goldwater’s 1964 Campaign
This is kinda sad.
Not because Goldwater got busted by the producers of Hello, Dolly! And not just because “Hello, Dolly!” is just such a super mushy show tune from a warbly-voiced Carol Channing. But the fact that Goldwater pulled an Alfred E. Newman and tried to parody a show tune from a Channing movie. Pretty lame, Milhouse. The parody? “Hello, Barry!” That’s like the world’s dweebiest birthday theme right there, but such is life in the fast lanes of the 1964 Republican campaign for the presidency.
In July of 1964, Goldwater took the Republican presidential nomination (he lost to Johnson). Around the time of the RNC, “Hello, Dolly!”’s composer and lyricist, Jerry Herman, had gotten wind that Goldwater was playing the song in jest at presidential rallies. Now, supposedly Herman was just too gosh darn nice a guy to say anything or really put up a fight. So naturally the song’s producer, and a lifelong Democrat, David Merrick took bold action!
Yep, he politely asked Goldwater’s campaign to stop using the parody out of respect for copyright laws. And wait’ll you hear what happened next.
Goldwater respectfully apologized, pulled the track from campaign events, and the matter was resolved in a very civil manner.
Wow. That’s like the most polite and least showy anecdote from this list. Maybe it’s the 2016 talking, but it’s wonderful to hear of peaceful accords and respectful communications across ideological aisles. It was still very uncool what Goldwater did, but at least this was a time when a politician could be contrite pre-spin and actually do something to control their message. Those were crazy times in 1964. And the song is still dorky.
But there’s a bitter twist to this story. Channing re-tinkered the song for Lyndon Johnson at the Democratic National Convention. Somewhere, Goldwater may have been pulling out his hair.