The use of “Eye of the Tiger” at a rally for Kentucky clerk Kim Davis has Survivor’s Jim Peterik “risin’ up to the challenge” — and threatening action.
Peterik, who co-wrote the stirring “Rocky III” theme song, is upset that Davis emerged from jail Tuesday to the strains of his song. Davis, the Rowan County clerk, had been held in contempt of court for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses.
“I have not authorized the use of Eye of the Tiger for use by Kim Davis and my publisher will issue a C&D (cease and desist order). This does not reflect my views,” Peterik wrote on Twitter.
Peterik told CNN that the use of the song caught him by surprise.
“I was gobsmacked,” he said. “We were not asked about this at all. The first time we saw it was on national TV.”
Peterik’s co-writer, Frankie Sullivan, was also upset about the use of “Eye of the Tiger” and posted a message on Facebook to vent.
“I would not grant her the rights to use Charmin!” he wrote.
Sullivan also took a swipe at GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who traveled to Kentucky in support of Davis. Huckabee at times emceed her theatrical arrival at a pro-Davis rally outside the Carter County Detention Center in Grayson.
“If somebody needs to go to jail, I’m willing to go in her place,” Huckabee told the crowd as he comforted an emotional Davis.
Sullivan wasn’t having it.
“C’mo(n) Mike, you are not The Donald but you can do better than that,” he wrote.
The event at the detention center was planned by Huckabee’s people, senior communications adviser Hogan Gridley told CNN.
However, he didn’t know “why (‘Eye of the Tiger’) was picked,” he said. The song wasn’t one used at an event for Huckabee before.
“Eye of the Tiger” is only the latest pop song to be caught in a political crossfire. Over the years, any number of political candidates have referenced fiery rockers and heartland anthems but then been called out by the musicians — whose political beliefs often run counter to the candidates’.
In 1984, Ronald Reagan evoked Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.,” only to have Springsteen respond by dedicating the song to workers at a union local. In 2008, Heart took offense at its song “Barracuda” being used at rallies for vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, whose nickname was “Sarah Barracuda.”
Perhaps the bluntest were the Dropkick Murphys, whose music was used by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, also a 2016 GOP presidential candidate.
“”Please stop using our music in any way…we literally hate you!!!” they tweeted.
The practice is so pervasive that ASCAP, the music licensing organization, has a Q&A dedicated to it (PDF).
For his part, Survivor’s Peterik would like to make sure the band’s 1982 No. 1 hit promotes workouts and personal motivation, not politics.
“This is not about taking political sides,” he said. “I like to keep my views personal. All I know is, this was never authorized for this purpose. … No matter what I think, if nothing else, they should have asked permission for this.”
By Todd Leopold, CNN
CNN’s Tom LoBianco, Tal Kopan, Theodore Schleifer, Martin Savidge, Deanna Hackney, Jason Hanna, Ed Payne and Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this article.