Barbie Fest

Collectible Barbies, weird Barbie news, and the Barb in the media

Danish Band Horrorpops is Suing Barbie

Mattel and by extension, Barbie, are being sued by the lead singer of  the Danish Rockabilly band Horrorpops for using her likeness for Barbie’s “Hard Rock Café Barbie Doll.”

This is more than a little weird for a few reasons. First of all, who even knew that Denmark had a rockabilly band? I thought that genre was particular to the good ole US of A?

Second, Patricia Days, who is the singer suing Barbie and Mattel is just as angry about her likeness being used for a sexist icon as she is for not getting paid for her likeness being used at all. She contends that she is angry about being subjected to “the erotic male gaze” now that she is being represented as a Barbie doll. Doesn’t she feel the same way when she is appearing on stage with “erotic male gazes” on her as she is performing?

The third weird thing about the whole lawsuit is that Horrorpops was sued by Mattel in 1997 because of the band Aqua’s hit song “Barbie Girl”—Mattel lost the lawsuit because a California court claimed that the song was an obvious parody.

In her complaint, Patricia Day says that the “Hard Rock Café Barbie Doll” does not mention her by name in any of the literature about the doll, but is definitely a replica of her. According to this: 

 Day's killer detail is her upright bass, "adorned with unique artwork or 'tattoos' on the face of the instrument, including: (1) a blue bird in flight on the upper right; (2) a blue bird in flight on the upper left; (3) a red five-point star on the bottom left; and (4) a red heart on the bottom right."
     She says that the Hard Rock Barbie, "not coincidentally, holds a giant tattooed upright bass adorned with the following artwork or 'tattoos' on the face of the instrument: (1) a blue bird in flight on the upper right; (2) a blue bird in flight on the upper left; (3) a pink five-point star on the bottom left; and (4) a pink heart on the bottom right."

The fact that the “Hard Rock Café’s Barbie Doll’s” upright bass has the exact same artwork as the artwork on Patricia Day’s upright bass (which can be clearly seen on one of the band’s album covers) seems more than a little incriminating for Mattel and Barbie. The doll’s hair and make up also bear more than a striking resemblance to Patricia Day’s hair and make up as well. Despite the similarities, Patricia Day hasn’t received any compensation for her work.

Could it be that Mattel and Barbie are seeking retaliation for their loss in court or is it just one of those inexplicable coincidences?

Editor's note: A correction was made to this post. It was the band Aqua who was sued by Mattel for copyright infringement, not the Horrorpops.


Anonymous's picture


The Horrorpops did not get sued in 1997 for the song "Barbie Girl"

The band Aqua did. Get your facts right.

And The Horrorpops don't live in Denmark, they live in CA. They are just from Denmark. I think you need to do more research before you post.


Anonymous's picture


I stand corrected. I actually knew the band was in California, which is why they are suing in the US, but still think it's funny that a Rockabilly band has its roots in Denmark.

As for the lawsuit, the source sited in the post was erroneous.

Thanks- becksta


Anonymous's picture


theyre not rockabilly, theyre psychobilly, a seperate genre from rockabilly, which was actually started in england


Anonymous's picture


Thanks! I listened/read more later on their Facebook page and checked out the Wikipedia site on them- they actually sound pretty good.


Anonymous's picture


The HORRORPOPS were NOT the band sued by Mattell. That was Aqua, nice try though. This is your reporting? You made her argument (which is already a good one) and made it better because you are ridiculous.


Anonymous's picture


Thank you for dissing my reporting and arguments. If you notice that the very first commenter already pointed out the error I made, which came from my original source. Were I a NYT reporter, I might have re-written the entire article, but since I'm a blogger, I thought a comment was sufficient. -becksta


Ash's picture


How can anyone deny that this is a likeness of Patricia Day?  Seems pretty obvious.  Mattel would sue in a second if the tables were turned. 


I thought the tattoos were kind of a give-away. I wonder why they didn't try to approach her.


Anonymous's picture


Yes of course. Because Patricia Day is the only female rockabilly bass player with tattoos. Please. She needs to get over herself. 


Anonymous's picture


No, Patricia Day is not the only one, but one of the very few.

Aside from this, the stand up bass description should give it away in a heartbeat.


Catherine's picture


Well, this Patricia looks like nothing compared to the doll! She flatters herself too much, I think! Great post, by the way!