The long, proud tradition of aging rock stars suing republican candidates for using their songs on the trail continued today. Frank Sullivan, Survivor's only true survivor and co-author of the song "Eye of the Tiger," filed a lawsuit against Newt Gingrich, who has taken to entering political rallies while the Rocky theme blasts on the PA system.
Gingrich is like Rocky Balboa, you see. Well, like Rocky Balboa of Rocky III. That's an important distinction to make here.
Sullivan co-wrote the song with Jim Peterik, but filed the federal lawsuit alone. He alleges that Gingrich has illegally used the song since 2009, asks for an injunction to prohibit future use, and demands damages and attorneys' fees. Risin' up to the challenge of his rival, indeed.
Should we celebrate Gingrich potentially losing his theme song? I'm conflicted. It's nice to see him challenged, but it's also hilarious to see him waddle out the gates to one of the greatest fight songs of all time, whether or not that's his intention. Sullivan says it's not a political issue for him—he told the Chicago Tribune that his wife is "a big fan" of Gingrich—but it's also not the first time he's decided to pull his song from the political ring. John McCain and Sarah Palin removed it from their 2008 campaign upon his request.
In the past few years alone, we've seen the Talking Heads publicly shame Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, Jackson Browne take down McCain, and Don Henley of the Eagles force former California Assemblyman Chuck DeVore to cease with his political parodies. (DeVore's renditions of "Boys of Summer" and "All She Wants to do is Dance" are no longer available on the Internet, unfortunately.)
There's a message here, aging politicians, and it is that aging rockers will not tolerate your copyright infractions—unless, of course, they also happen to be aging recluses. Peterik, Sullivan's co-writer, told the Tribune that he opted out of joining the lawsuit because he "hates suits" and is "very apolitical."
If someone is out there trying to make a difference, let him do it," Peterik explained. "Unless it was Adolf Hitler."