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Talking Heads' David Byrne Sues Charlie Crist Over Song

By Jason Beahm on May 27, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

David Byrne is telling Florida Governor Charlie Crist to quit playing his music. The former lead of the famous band, Talking Heads, has sued the Governor over the use of the 1985 hit song by the Talking Heads, "Road To Nowhere," which Crist used in a campaign commercial. Byrne is seeking $1 million in damages. 

The Talking Heads Road to Nowhere was a smash hit in the 80's. Byrne most recently made headlines in April, when he said that song lyrics are overrated (video below). But it did not sit well with Byrne when Crist used his lyrics in a political ad.

Crist is running against Marco Rubio and Kendrick Meek for the United States Senate as an independent; he left the Republican Party last month. 

According to Byrne's attorney, Lawrence Iser, Crist's campaign used the song without asking anyone for permission or attempting to license it. Iser argues that the use of the song is a violation of copyright law as well as a violation of the Lanham ActIser recently successfully sued John McCain over his illegal use of a Jackson Browne song during his 2008 Republican presidential campaign

Byrne released a statement in which he said that he has not licensed this song "Road To Nowhere" for use in an advertisement, nor has he ever licensed a song for advertising. 

"I'm a bit of a throwback that way, as I still believe songs occasionally mean something," Byrne said. He added that if he started licensing songs to political campaigns, he'd be afraid his fans "might not respect me as much in the morning."

"It's not about politics, it's about copyright and about the fact that it does imply that I would have licensed it and endorsed him and whatever he stands for."

So far Crist has not released a response to Byrne's lawsuit. 

"Road to Nowhere" appeared on Talking Heads 1985 album "Little Creatures," and reached number 25 on the Billboards Rock Chart in addition to receiving a nomination for Best Video of the Year at the MTV Music Video Awards. 

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