Rocker Tells Huckabee to Lay Off Song

By: AP
By: AP

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- The chief songwriter and founder of the band Boston has more than a feeling that he's being ripped off by Mike Huckabee. In a letter to the Republican presidential hopeful, Tom Scholz complains that Huckabee is using his 1970s smash hit song "More Than a Feeling" without his permission.

A former member of the band, Barry Goudreau, has appeared with Huckabee at campaign events, and they have played the song with Huckabee's band, Capitol Offense.

Scholz, who said Goudreau left the band more than 25 years ago after a three-year stint, objects to the implication that the band and one of its members has endorsed Huckabee's candidacy.

"Boston has never endorsed a political candidate, and with all due respect, would not start by endorsing a candidate who is the polar opposite of most everything Boston stands for," wrote Scholz, adding that he is supporting Democratic Sen. Barack Obama. "By using my song, and my band's name Boston, you have taken something of mine and used it to promote ideas to which I am opposed. In other words, I think I've been ripped off, dude!"

Fred Bramante, who was chairman of Huckabee's New Hampshire campaign, called the allegations ridiculous. He said he attended dozens of Huckabee rallies in New Hampshire and other states and never heard Huckabee play "More Than a Feeling," other than when Goudreau campaigned with him in Iowa in October.

"Governor Huckabee plays 'Sweet Home Alabama.' Does that mean Lynyrd Skynyrd is endorsing him? He plays 'Louie Louie.' Does that mean The Kingsmen are endorsing him? To me, it's ridiculous," he said. "Never once has he said, 'The band Boston endorses me.'

Scholz, in a telephone interview Friday, said he understands "More Than a Feeling" has been a centerpiece at some rallies, and said Goudreau is identified with the band in an endorsement video.

"Whenever a campaign publicly exploits a well-known song, there is some inference of support" by the band or artist, he added.

He recommends that Huckabee "stick to music recorded by far-right Republicans."

Tensions between Scholz and some of the early band members date from the early 1980s, when CBS Inc. sued the band over delays in recording new albums. The company's Epic Records label recorded the band's first two releases: "Boston," in 1976, and "Don't Look Back," in 1978.

Scholz - who wrote, engineered, and laid down nearly all the instrumental tracks on the first album - countersued for the rights to the band's name and music. Three members of the original band, including Goudreau, testified for the record company, which lost.

In his letter, Scholz referred to Huckabee as the "straight talk candidate," but that label more often is applied to Sen. John McCain, who has had his own troubles when it comes to his musical playlist. Last week, McCain's campaign agreed to stop playing John Mellencamp's songs "Our Country" and "Pink Houses" at his rallies after the liberal rocker complained.

Mellencamp had supported Democrat John Edwards, who recently dropped out of the race.

Other candidates have had better luck selecting songs. Celine Dion said she was "thrilled" that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton used her song, "You and I" as her official campaign anthem. Obama frequently blares U2's "City of Blinding Lights" at his events.

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