US Senator John McCain might hold the record for most times, for using songs without the permission of the artists. He used Van Halen’s Right Now. He’s also had John Mellancamp upset for using “Our Country.” Heart didn’t like McCain spinning “Barracuda.”
Other songs McCain pinched without approval: John Mellancamp’s “Pink Houses,” The Foo Fighter’s “My Hero,” Abba’s “Take A Chance on Me,” Bon Jovi’s “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” and Jackson Browne’s “Running On Empty.”
These are from McCain’s 2008 run for President as a Republican. He lost to Barack Obama.
Are there more?
Tom Petty objected to the Arizona Senator using “I Won’t Back Down.”
The general lyrics about not giving up in the face of adversity do fit well for an election campaign theme song. It was also a popular song on the radio following 9/11.
Petty had his 1989 song copped again, but this time by a non-politician. Petty got co-writing credits on Sam Smith’s similar-sounding “Stay With Me” (2014), even though he didn’t think it was such a big deal.