Metro Weekly

Huckabee sued by “Eye of the Tiger” co-writer

Dispute arises from use of the tune at an anti-gay marriage rally for Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis

Mike Huckabee - Photo: Gage Skidmore

Mike Huckabee – Photo: Gage Skidmore

We’ll have to wait and see whether Mike Huckabee rises up to the challenge of his (legal) rivals.

Huckabee, a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, Baptist minister and former governor of Arkansas is being sued for copyright infringement by Rude Music — owned by Frankie Sullivan, the co-writer of Survivor’s 1982 hit “Eye of the Tiger.”

The controversy over the Grammy Award-winning song stems from Huckabee’s use of it during a campaign rally for Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis, after she was released from jail. Huckabee seized upon Davis’ opposition to same-sex marriage and staged the impromptu rally, during which he played “Eye of the Tiger” as Davis emerged from prison.

According to CNN, Rude Music brought suit against Huckabee in federal court in Illinois. The lawsuit charges that Huckabee allowed the song to be played at the rally for Davis, even though he knew he was committing copyright infringement when he did so. Sullivan, a founding member of Survivor, previously sued presidential candidate Newt Gingrich for using the song during his campaign events in 2012.

In the lawsuit, Sullivan also attempts to prove that Huckabee has demonstrated a pattern of behavior by committing similar copyright infringement during his 2008 presidential campaign.

“Artists’ complaints of candidates’ unauthorized use of their songs have become an election-year staple,” the lawsuit reads. “According to news reports, in 2008, the founder of the band Boston demanded that Mr. Huckabee’s presidential campaign stop playing the Boston hit ‘More Than a Feeling’ at his events.”

But Huckabee’s campaign hit back against the lawsuit, implying it was frivolous and that Sullivan was attempting to “bully” them into silence.

“Mr. Sullivan is demanding an amount of money that exceeds the average yearly salary of a hard-working American simply because a snippet of his song was played briefly at a rally,” Huckabee campaign spokeswoman Alice Stewart told CNN. “The campaign offered Mr. Sullivan fair compensation, but that offer was rejected. We refuse to be bullied.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at

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