All the Musicians Who Have Banned Donald Trump From Playing Their Music
Political campaigns have always gotten some backlash from artists about the use of their songs, but it seemed that no political campaign had more backlash than Donald Trump’s. Several popular musicians and groups have condemned the president’s use of their songs for any political events.
Steven Tyler has given Trump more than one warning about using Aerosmith’s music for events and rallies. Most recently, Tyler sent a cease and desist letter to Trump in August 2018 telling Trump to immediately stop using the music for any political rally or event. Tyler followed his actions with a Tweet saying the letter was not about democrats or republicans, but rather protecting musicians’ rights to their music. The letter sent to Trump also detailed two other times during Trump’s campaign when he used Tyler’s music without permission.
The Rolling Stones
When Trump all but secured the Republican presidential nomination in May 2016, he used the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up” at the end of his speech. The Rolling Stones immediately clapped back, asking Trump to not play their music at any of his political events. According to The Telegraph, after the song was heard, the band released a statement saying, “The Rolling Stones have never given permission to the Trump campaign to use their songs and have requested that they cease all use immediately.”
Trump used R.E.M.’s famous “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” at an anti-Iran deal rally. The band did not take it well, and bashed Trump for using the song without the band’s permission. They released a statement through Facebook saying they do not authorize or condone the use of their music at a Trump political event. Mike Mills, R.E.M. bassist, also tweeted about the issue, calling Trump’s run for presidency a “moronic charade of a campaign.”
Queen is another group who was unhappy with Trump’s use of the hit song “We Are the Champions” at the Republic National Convention in 2016. In most cases, the politician actually does have the right to use the songs they prefer, as long as they get the correct license. But Queen requested their songs not be made available to Trump even if he gets a license to secure the rights. Queen’s request was granted, and they were able to revoke Trump’s access to any of their songs.
George Harrison (estate)
Although George Harrison himself was unable to condemn Trump for the use of his song “Here Comes the Sun,” his estate did speak out about it. When Ivanka Trump walked on stage to speak at the Republican National Convention, the song was played in the background. The estate said Trump playing his music was “offensive” and were insulted it was used.
Trump used Neil Young’s popular “Rockin’ in the Free World” as he walked to the lectern to announce his presidential candidacy. Young issued a statement shortly after, condemning the use of the song. Trump claimed his team had obtained rights to use the song, but they didn’t provide proof of payment or legal rights. But later, Young said in an interview that he doesn’t hold any resentment toward the president for using the song. However, he has spoken out about his disagreements with Trump’s politics.
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