All of the pundits are pretty much saying that it looks like curtains for the Presidential Campaign of Mike Huckabee, the bass-playing, Bible-quoting Stephen Colbert-homeboy who is wayyyy behind John McCain in the delegate count.
So it pretty much seems to be a weird time to get insult added to injury, but that insult is coming in the form of Tom Scholz, an Obama supporter (like me!) who wrote the classic Boston song that Huckabee has been using on his campaign trail: “More Than A Feeling.” Scholz is pissed, and he wants it to stop.
To me, this is like that time Elvis sent the widely quoted “open email” to Bill Clinton after Clinton played “Heartbreak Hotel” on Arsenio Hall which ended with “didn’t you see me shaking hands with Nixon, stop playing my song.”
This, of course, is the place for the obligatory “Tom Scholz is still alive?” joke, but instead I’m going to do something perhaps even funnier: defend Mike Huckabee.
First, the backstory. Apparently Boston’s other guitar player (“Boston had another guitar player?”) is a Huckabee supporter and he has been appearing at events and been jamming on the song with Huckabee’s band.
Well, yeah. Every single rock band in America has jammed on that song at least once. A couple of shots of Bourbon, a couple of Milwaukee’s Best, and that chorus is absolutely irresistible.
However, apparently Tom Scholz — who has pretty much played every instrument on every single Boston album ever — is a bit of a control freak. Who woulda thunk? And he doesn’t like his totally and utterly non-political song being used for political campaign. Which is, of course, his right. But I think that he’s overreacting:
As the “straight talk candidate,” I hope you will help undo the damage still being caused by this misleading use of BOSTON and More Than a Feeling.
For their part, the Huckabee Campaign defend their actions:
“Governor Huckabee plays ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’ Does that mean Lynard Skynard 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.’
First off, they should have been playing “Free Bird.” Secondly, someone needs to learn how to spell “Lynyrd Skynyrd,” and thirdly, I would be surprised if the Skynyrd guys weren’t supporting Huckabee.
No doubt the folks at the RIAA are thinking about suing the Huckabee Campaign for unauthorized sharing of the song.
So, is it a dumb song to use for politics? Sure. It’s totally unpolitical — it’s mostly about how songs like “More Than A Feeling” instantly transport you to some point in your past. As a matter of fact, it has become what it is about.
And that’s why “More Than A Feeling” has not been damaged. Nothing could ever damage “More Than A Feeling.” That song has been played by millions and millions of people billions and billions of time in zillions and zillions of situations.
Sure, the copyright and legal mumbo belong to Tom Scholz. But Mr. Scholz, “More Than A Feeling” belongs — in the truest sense of the word — to us. It belongs to the popular culture into which it was unleashed in 1976 and has never ever left.
It belongs to the 1970s teenagers who bought that first Boston album and played it over and over and over. It belongs to their children, who stumbled across it because they thought the spaceships on that album cover looked neat. It will belong to their children as they discover it on old iPods and the expressway-to-your-skull music delivery devices of the mid 21st Century.
That’s one of the reasons that they chose it, as opposed to one of your other songs (Boston had other songs?) like “Peace of Mind” or “Don’t Look Back.”
In other words, this is a song that will transcend a soon-to-be-forgotten politician playing it a couple of times on the campaign trail. If people remember Huckabee, it be because of the incongruity of his being a bass player with a sense of humour who also denied evolution and wanted to “take this nation back for Christ,” but not a single soul — saved or dammed for all times — will ever associate “More Than A Feeling” with him.
Like its grandfather “Louie Louie” and granddaughter “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “More Than A Feeling” will remain part of the fabric of people’s actual lives, not their politics. It is safe, and undamaged. As a matter of fact, I think that I am going to go listen to it right now.