The Tragically Hip Slams Conservative Party's Use Of Song


The Tragically Hip’s Paul Langlois said Saturday it is “highly offensive” that the band’s music was played at an event for Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre.

A fan tweeted at The Hip asking if it was aware that one of its songs was played at Saturday’s meet-and-greet with Poilievre at the Grand Olympia Hospitality and Convention Centre in Stoney Creek, Ont.

“We certainly did not know this,” Langlois, one of The Hip’s guitarists, replied. “Highly offensive if true (we’ll wait to make sure and potentially confirm this) and if so, this will be stopped.”

In a video recorded at the event and shared on Twitter by Toronto lawyer Caryma Sa’d, The Hip’s 1993 song “Fifty Mission Cap” can be heard in the background.

In Canada, businesses are legally required to have a license to broadcast recorded music.

On Monday afternoon, The Tragically Hip issued a statement: "It is (and has always been) our expectation that brands, political parties, or public figures wishing to use our music for a campaign first seek our approval. When we began to see posts and tweets from the event this weekend, the specifics were unclear. It has now been confirmed that Saturday’s event took place in a venue licensed by SOCAN, which means the venue pays a fee to ensure artists and musicians are compensated appropriately when music is played on site. As such, specific permissions were not required in this case. We did not have the full details in our earlier posts – and now consider this matter resolved.”

Langlois’ reaction was praised by some fans ("Amazing that the most iconic band in Canadian history is not afraid to label little pp offensive. This is a proud Canadian Heritage Moment") and criticized by others.

“Highly offensive? What makes it ‘highly offensive’ that your music is being played by a party that represents a huge slice of Canadians? Please do elaborate,” read one reply. Another read: “Just to be clear, you don't want conservatives buying your music?”

These kinds of comments prompted Langlois to tweet a clarification late Sunday night: "We have always been highly offended by anybody who doesn’t ask for our permission to use our music for a brand, a political party, or a public figure of any sort. It’s just common courtesy to ask, and it applies to anyone and everyone."

In 2014, Randy Bachman accused prime minister Stephen Harper of playing the BTO hit “Takin’ Care of Business” at a rally without permission. He later acknowledged that the Ottawa Convention Centre had a license to play the track.

South of the border, Canada’s Neil Young has previously protested the use of his songs, including “Rockin’ in the Free World” at rallies for Donald Trump. Artists like Rihanna, Phil Collins, The Rolling Stones and the estate of Isaac Hayes have also voiced opposition to Trump’s campaign using their songs.

Tom Petty's estate objected in January to his song “I Won’t Back Down” being used in a promotional video for failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake.

In January, Twitter removed a video from the account of far-right U.S. congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene that used Dr. Dre’s 1999 hit “Still D.R.E.” ft. Snoop Dogg. In a statement to TMZ, Dre said: “I don’t license my music to politicians, especially someone as divisive and hateful as this one.”

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