New Zealand rockers Dragon have slammed Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison after he attempted an amateur rendition of their classic song April Sun in Cuba.
The clip, which aired on 60 Minutes on Sunday night went viral after it was previewed on Channel Nine’s social media channels.
Prime Minister Morrison appeared on the program alongside his wife Jenny and two daughters Lily and Abbey.
Sitting around the dinner table, he led his family in a singalong of the 1977 hit song while he played the ukulele.
In a statement, the band lamented they were back in the headlines for “all the wrong reasons” and poked fun at his fumbling of their lyrics.
“It is a cynical move for a politician to co-opt music in an attempt to humanise themselves come election time,” they said.
“Maybe if his trip to Hawaii had not been cut short, he could have learnt the lyrics to the rest of the chorus.
“Take me where the April sun,
“Gonna treat me so right, so right, so right."
Dragon reveal hidden inspiration behind April Sun in Cuba
Dragon frontman Todd Hunter spoke with Yahoo News to explain the history of the iconic track.
While the song has wide popularity, the meaning of the song is highly specific and reflects the passion of late keyboard player Paul Hewson who was a chess fanatic.
It was inspired by the story of a chess master who lost in Cuba and blamed the April sun for distracting him.
“That’s where it came from and it’s just one of those songs that no matter what, everyone sings like crazy,” Mr Hunter said.
“When you play it live the whole place just erupts, it’s wild.”
Dragon frontman shares why band spoke out against PM
The last time Mr Hunter played the song was at Crown Casino’s Palms Theatre on Friday night, but because of the coronavirus pandemic it’s been a long time between gigs.
“That’s the first show we’ve done for a year,” he said.
“Which is sort of why we’ve had a bit to say about this.”
With concerts cancelled due to the pandemic the music industry has been suffering, and Mr Hunter feels performers haven’t got the support they needed from the federal government.
He said Dragon were taken aback to see the Prime Minister playing April Sun in Cuba and 60 Minutes then using the band’s original recording to promote the segment.
We started the week with an apology from the Prime Minister for the toxic culture in Parliament, and we are ending the week tonight with Mr Morrison playing the ukulele to Karl Stefanovic. @CUhlmann #9Today pic.twitter.com/iDYpN0GTWS
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) February 12, 2022
“It’s not about politics, for me it’s about the music,” Mr Hunter said.
Amid the downturn, Dragon have been big enough to “weather it”, but it’s the smaller bands Mr Hunter is concerned about.
He warns the music industry is in “dire straits” and that he would “hate to be a young musician starting out in the face of this.”
The band will play multiple gigs across Australia this year, with their next show in Sydney on February 26.
— Jim Malo (@thejimmalo) February 14, 2022
Dragon applauded for ‘solid burn’ of PM
April Sun in Cuba became a massive hit for Dragon, peaking at number two in Australia and staying in the charts for 22 weeks.
Unfortunately for the prime minister his cover of the song does not appear to have been as successful, with many social media users poking fun of his attempt.
"Hopefully it’s a sign that he’ll be in Cuba by April,"quipped one Twitter user.
Meanwhile Dragon’s response has been applauded among music fans on Twitter.
“Solid burn,” said one person.
“Could not love this more,” someone else added.
“Tweet of the day,” another social media user said.
Long history of musicians objecting to politicians using their hits
It’s not the first time rock stars have fired off at politicians for using theirs songs.
In 2018, Cold Chisel frontman Jimmy Barnes blasted Treasurer Josh Frydenberg for referencing his solo hit Working class man during an energy announcement at Port Kembla.
Former US President Donald Trump also fell foul of music superstars including the Rolling Stones during his election campaign.They warned him to stop using their music at his rallies, threatening legal action if he did.
Bruce Springsteen’s anti-war anthem Born in the USA has also been frequently co-opted by politicians to drum up patriotic fervour among supporters. The rockstar has famously objected to Republican Presidents Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan using the track.
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