June 18, 2018 / 8:52 PM

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5 Examples of Rand Paul in Music: Candidate Deals with Mark Ronson, Rush and SXSW 2015


Rand Paul has announced his candidacy for president during the 2016 election, making him the second member of the Republican Party to throw his name into the ring. The first was Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who came out several weeks prior to the Kentucky politician. Music Times gathered together five connections between Cruz and music, and we admit that several of them were tenuous at best. Senator Paul is a different story however. Here are five connections between the new nominee and our favorite subject to cover:

01) His Presidential Announcement

The biggest news to come out of Paul's announcement of his campaign for the presidency, aside from that fact, was how quickly video of the formal announcement got pulled from YouTube. He came onstage and left the stage while the song "Shuttin' Detroit Down" by John Rich (of Big & Rich fame) played over the loudspeakers. YouTube has recently begun using technology that identifies when copyrighted material, such as songs and video, are being used without permission and then automatically removes the video from the site. These sorts of firewalls were created at the behest of record labels such as Warner Music, which owns the rights to "Shuttin' Detroit Down." The irony is that Rich himself was probably more than happy for Paul to use the music, having shown support for Paul and those of similar political ideologies in the past. The whole event can be seen as a metaphor of sorts for Paul's entire hands-off approach to government: A man just wants to use music from an artist he respects and BOOM...the big corporate record label comes swooping down to squash it.

02) Not his first time not getting permission to use a song...

So the most recent example might have just been some miscommunication between the politician, the performer, and the label that controls the performer's work, but this isn't the first time Paul has been zapped for using music without permission. Although many Republicans deal frequently with Rush Limbaugh, Paul caught the wrath of prog rockers Rush during his 2010 Senate campaign when he used the band's song "Spirit of The Radio" during events. The then-candidate quoted the song in his speeches as well, citing its line of "glittering prizes and endless compromises / shattering the illusion of integrity." Rush, although seemingly Libertarian in their own discussions of politics, move to shut down any politician or political body that attempts to use its music. Among those was Limbaugh, for using the same song as lead-in music on his radio program.

03) DJ Rand Paul

One of the major criticisms of recent GOP candidates is that they aren't very socially aware, when it comes to both themselves and young people in general. Paul, unlike Cruz, seems to have been award of pop culture for at least some part of his life. During 2013, Saturday Night Live did a skit mocking Republicans for being out of touch with the youth, and posed a number of prominent party names attempting to be hip. One of the jokes referenced was "DJ Rand Paul." Paul took full advantage of the situation, taking to Twitter and encouraging followers to send him song requests throughout the day, using the hashtag "#DJRandPaul." He then posted music videos as he got requests, and even used it to frame his own political agenda, dedicating the video for "Every Breath You Take" by The Police to the NSA, one of his favorite targets.

04) South by Southwest

Going along with the theme of Rand Paul being in-touch with youth culture, the soon to be presidential candidate made an appearance at the South by Southwest music festival, an event that we would not be surprised if Cruz was not aware that it existed, even though it takes place in his home state. The subject didn't have anything to do with music—he and Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith discussed technology and how it affected politics and campaigning—but the senator still managed to rub elbows with high profile members of the music community. He reportedly attended a party with "Uptown Funk" performer Mark Ronson.

05) Memes

There is a part of us that realizes, as a professional journalist, that we should not rely on memes to get our point across. Surely Buzzfeed writers wrestle with this everyday. Rand Paul however, despite being a Senator, has no qualms about using images with comical overlaid text to send messages. He's also culturally aware enough to use hot songs to emphasize his points. Our favorite is an image of Paul leaving Congress and putting on sunglasses, accompanied by the text "First thing's first, I'm the realist," referencing his own self-proclaimed status as one of the few members of Congress grounded in reality while also referencing Iggy Azalea's hit "Fancy."

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