Musician to RNC: We're Not 'Happy Together,' and Stop Using Our Song
There is no love lost between musicians and the Republican Party. We know this because almost every time a Republican candidate plays a song at a campaign rally, the musician who recorded that song issues a cease and desist. The latest example came yesterday, in the midst of the GOP’s first convention day.
Former "Saturday Night Live" bandleader G.E. Smith has been handling music duties at the RNC, playing covers of familiar songs in the style bar bands are known for the world over. This included a version of the Turtles’ 1967 hit “Happy Together,” which the lead singer of the band, Howard Kaylan, was none too happy about. He took to Twitter to express his displeasure.
We never approved this use. Now we call the lawyers https://t.co/JZQjx8KZua— Howard Kaylan🐢 (@Howard Kaylan🐢) 1468863629
Kaylan found out that because the song was a cover, and not a recording of the original version recorded by his band, there’s not much he can do. The L.A. Times reached out to his Turtles bandmate, Mark Volman, who explained the situation, saying, “They can’t use the Turtles’ record on TV without paying for it, so if they did, they will certainly hear about it. But what I’ve been told is that it was the house band playing the song, which we can’t control, because we only own the Turtles’ version of the song."
Volman added, "It seems kind of silly that they would open the convention with something that has nothing to do with them at all. The RNC seems to be going out of its way in creating more of a negative than a positive, so I don’t think ‘Happy Together’ really fits.”
Clearly annoyed by the whole situation, Turtles frontman Kaylan took to Twitter again to vent his frustration over not being able to stop his song from being covered, by making fun of Melania Trump (or rather, her speechwriters) for wholesale plagiarizing parts of Michelle Obama’s 2008 DNC speech.