Australian politician Clive Palmer has slammed TWISTED SISTER's "We're Not Gonna Take It" as a "ripoff" of the Christmas carol "O Come, All Ye Faithful", and has called on TWISTED SISTER singer Dee Snider's 2019 Australian tour to be canceled amid an ongoing disagreement between the United Australia Party leader and the American band over the use of "We're Not Gonna Take It" in political campaign ads.
In a statement released on Tuesday, United Australia Party accused TWISTED SISTER of "swindling its hit song from a famous Christmas carol." Snider had previously admitted that glam rock band SLADE and "O Come, All Ye Faithful" were influences while he was writing "We're Not Gonna Take It".
"The song 'We're Not Gonna Take It' as an alleged musical work was not written by Dee Snider," said Palmer. "The music was originally arranged as a cappella piece from the hymn 'O Come All Ye Faithful' first composed in the mid 1700s. Others may have documented the instrumentation, but the melody was already present. As TWISTED SISTER never remunerated the original arranger, we do not understand how they have ever had any claim to its copyright.
"It seems Universal Music Group [Snider's publisher] may have been misled at the time of paying the group's frontman Dee Snider money for something he never owned. Maybe Universal should consider commencement of proceedings against Dee Snider or seek a refund of any money they have paid to him."
Palmer adopted the melody and rhythm of "We're Not Gonna Take It" in his political advertisements for the United Australia Party. The advertisements feature a vocalist singing the TWISTED SISTER song's melody along with the lyrics: "Australia ain't gonna cop it, no Australia's not gonna cop it, Aussies not gonna cop it any more."
In TWISTED SISTER's original, Snider sings: "Oh we're not gonna take it, no we ain't gonna take it, oh we're not gonna take it anymore."
The opening five words in the lyrics of "O Come, All Ye Faithful" have the same melody as the song in the ad, as well as the chorus of "We're Not Gonna Take It", but the Christmas carol follows a different chord progression and is traditionally played in a different musical style to both the ad and the TWISTED SISTER classic.
TWISTED SISTER guitarist Jay Jay French called Palmer's use of the song "unauthorized" and vowed to do his "best to stop it." Snider also claimed that Palmer knew about the licensing fee required for the song but decided to re-record his own version of it anyway.
Palmer fired back, claiming he "wrote the words personally that appear on our [UAP] promotion and hold the copyright for those words."
He added: "If they attempt to use my lyrics in any of their songs, I'll not hesitate to take legal proceedings against them."
On Tuesday, Palmer said that he was concerned about threats made by French and Snider and has called Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to "reject" Dee's visa ahead of his forthcoming Australian tour, "given the current crackdown." Dee is scheduled to perform four solo shows in Sydney and Melbourne in January and February.
In a tweet posted on Monday, Snider said: "Woke up this morning to find out that ass Clive Palmer and Palmer United Party are ignoring cease & desist order (not really surprised – the man is an entitled prat). Not to worry. Lawyers have been officially engaged (remember Eminem NZ case?) & that loathsome toad will pay!"
Rapper Eminem successfully won $600,000 NZD ($415,000 USD) in damages in October 2017 when he sued New Zealand's National party for using a version of his song "Lose Yourself" in a 2014 election campaign advertisement. However, last month, the Court of Appeal ruled that those damages should be reduced down to $225,000 NZD ($154,000 USD).