Artists Who Wouldn’t Let Glee Use Their Music

Glee was one of the most popular television shows of the 2010s, and it garnered an incredibly loyal fan base who loved its rich tapestry of characters. Because the show had such an intense following, it also served as a great promotional vehicle. If a song was covered on the show, there was a good chance that it would rise on the iTunes charts. Despite this, certain artists denied the show permission to use their music.

Glee‘s Darren Criss in Paris | Photo by SADIA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images


The legendary guitarist of Guns N’ Roses was not a fan of Glee, so he wouldn’t allow any GNR songs on the show.

Slash | Photo by Marc S Canter/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

When asked why he disliked the show so much, Slash said that he hated it because it reminded him of the 1970s John Travolta musical Grease. He elaborated: “In the current climate of what’s going on in entertainment these days, I try to be more optimistic than negative because it’s really easy to get negative about it, but I draw the line at Glee. Glee is worse than Grease and Grease is bad enough… When Grease came out I was like, ‘Oh, c’mon, give me a break.’ Actually, I look at Grease now and think: Between High School Musical and Glee, Grease was a brilliant work of art.”

Glee’s creator, Ryan Murphy, refused to take these comments sitting down and fired back in an interview with Rolling Stone. He said: “that people who make those comments, their careers are over; they’re uneducated and quite stupid.” Given those comments, it’s difficult to imagine Slash allowing Ryan Murphy to use “Paradise City” in an episode of American Horror Story or one of the other shows that Murphy created.

The Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters | Photo by Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images

Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters had the following to say about his experiences with Glee: “the guy who created Glee is so offended that we’re not, like, begging to be on his f***ing show … I watched 10 minutes – It’s not my thing.”

Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake in 1997 | Photo by Fryderyk Gabowicz/picture alliance via Getty Images

While the cast of Glee covered songs of all genres, from show tunes to old school rap songs, pop was their general wheelhouse. That fact made Justin Timberlake’s refusal to be associated with the show very surprising.

What did Timberlake have against Glee? Nobody knows. The singer has never disclosed why he didn’t want his music on the show. Since Glee fans (or “gleeks”) are so dedicated, it was probably wise for him to keep his mouth shut. He didn’t need his Twitter mentions filled with angry comments.


Coldplay | Photo by Paul Natkin/WireImage

 At first, Coldplay refused to let the show use their music…but they eventually changed their minds. The first episode of the show was originally going to feature a cover of the band’s number-one hit “Viva la Vida,” but the band didn’t want any of their music in the show until it proved to be a success.

Once the show became a hit, the band’s lead singer, Chris Martin called Murphy to let him know that he could use any song from the band’s catalog. The show would later feature covers of two classic Coldplay ballads: “The Scientist” and “Fix You.”