Musicians who forbid Trump to use their songs

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To say the least, Donald Trump lacks respect from A-listing musicians. His road to the White House was remarkable by a number of angered artists. Andrea Bocelli, Elton John, Céline Dion, Garth Brooks, David Foster, Kiss, Charlotte Church, Jennifer Holliday, The B Street Band, and Rebecca Ferguson were among celebrities who refused to perform at Trump’s inauguration.

2020 presidential rally has not become any different.

Let’s go through the list of musicians who demanded Trump to stop playing their songs as part of his campaign.

  1. Neil Young

It started with Neil Young enrolling into a quarrel with Trump after the use of “Rockin’ in the Free World” as background noise for his official presidential campaign announcement at Trump Tower. Young’s label claimed the use of the song was “not authorized”. Trump’s team responded with receipts that prove paid rights to use the music

Young proceeded to speak about Trump’s “misogyny” and “racism”, and that he would happily give Bernie Sanders any of his music for free.

2. R.E.M.

The band sent a cease and desist letter to stop Trump’s campaign from using “It’s the End of the World” at the rallies.

It turned out that R.E.M.’s opposition to Donald Trump had started way back in time. Moreover, the origins of the feud were quite personal. Michael Stipe, the vocalist and lyricist of the band, he had to tell Trump to ‘shut up’ at Joe’s Pub in New York City.

3. Adele

Donald Trump used “Rolling in the Deep” and “Skyfall” at various events to rev up the crowd, but that soon ended as Adele’s representative spoke out.

“Adele has not given permission for her music to be used for any political campaigning”, he told.

Adele herself than made her political stance clear: “Don’t vote for him. I am English, but what happens in America affects me, too. I am 100% for Hillary Clinton. I love her, she’s amazing.”

Trump was not the first politician to get a copyright claim from the singer. Mike Huckabee had to mute the audio of his cover of Adele’s “Hello” on Twitter after Adele’s reps contacted his team.

4. Aerosmith

Another cease and desist letter against Trump came from

The letter read, “Trump for President does not have our client’s permission to use ‘Dream On’ or any of our client’s other music in connection with the campaign because it gives the false impression that [Tyler] is connected with or endorses Mr. Trump’s presidential bid.”

Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler (Image credit: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic – Getty)

5. Elton John

In times of his his first campaign Trump saw John’s “Rocket Man” and “Tiny Dancer” as a perfect warm-up jam for the rallies.

The famous musician, however, did not feel the same way about being associated with Trump.

“I don’t really want my music to be involved in anything to do with an American election campaign. I’m British. I’ve met Donald Trump, he was very nice to me, it’s nothing personal, his political views are his own, mine are very different, I’m not a Republican in a million years,” John told The Guardian. “Why not ask Ted Nugent? Or one of those f—— country stars? They’ll do it for you.”

6. The Queen’s Brian May

An unofficial statement came from Brian May in 2016, saying ”permission to use the track was neither sought nor given,” concerning the Queen hit “We Are The Champions”.

May also added, “It has always been against our policy to allow Queen music to be used as a political campaigning tool.”

The Queen’s iconic “We are the Champions” played during the 2016 RNC as then-Republican nominee Donald Trump introduced his wife, Melania.

7. Guns N’ Roses’ Axl Rose

When Axl Rose discovered that the band’s hit song “Sweet Child O’ Mine” was used during an event, he formally requested to immediately stop it.

8. Earth, Wind & Fire

The bands famous ”September” was played at the 2016 Republican Convention.

Earth, Wind & Fire took a cue from Queen. Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

The band strongly related to the Queen’s tweet about their experience with “We are the Champions”, so they quote-tweeted the Queens.

9. Eddie Levert of The O’Jays

The O’Jays’ song “For The Love Of Money” was used for Trump’s reality show “The Apprentice” based on the obtained rights to use it.

When Trump became Republican candidate, Eddie Levert expressed his antipathy to the mogul’s decision.

O’Jays changed their views on Trump when the mater had become political.

In the interview with Billboard the band’s lead vocalist and songwriter said: ”They got on me about it, said I got enough money from him so now I can kick dirt in his face … I wish him the best, but I don’t think he’s the man to run our country. So when he started using ‘Love Train,’ I called him up and told them, ‘Listen, man, I don’t believe in what you’re doing. I’m not with you. I don’t want you to use my voice. I’m not condoning what you’re doing.”

10. Luciano Pavarotti’s family

The family of the most famous operatic tenor in history was angered with Trump’s usage of the rendition of Giacomo Puccini’s aria “Nessun Dorma”.

His widow, Nicoletta Mantovani Pavarotti, and three daughters told the New York Times “the values of brotherhood and solidarity which Luciano Pavarotti expressed throughout the course of his artistic career are entirely incompatible with the worldview offered by the candidate Donald Trump.”

Nicoletta Mantovani an Luciano Pavarotti

11. Prince’s half-brother

Omarr Baker, Prince’s half-brother, released a statement on behalf of the family after late singer’s most iconic hit was use at the pre-Midterm rallies in 2018.

Prince on the cover of his breakthrough ”1999” album.

12. Rihanna

©Image Press Agency/SPUS/ABACA

In 2018 Rihanna discovered her song were being used at Trump’s rallies from The Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker’s tweet. The world’s richest female musician did not hesitate to snap back.

Swiftly after her twitter response, Rihanna’s team took legal action against the real estate mogul.

13. Pharrell Williams

In October 2018, just few hours after Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, the US president chose to play Williams’s happy at his mid-term rally.

According to the Hollywood reporter, Williams had his lawyer send the White House a cease-and-desist notice pertaining to the hit song and any of his other tunes.


“There was nothing ‘happy’ about the tragedy inflicted upon our country on Saturday and no permission was granted for your use of this song for this purpose,” the letter stated.

It also said Williams “has not and will not” give Trump permission to use his music.

14. Tom Petty’s family

The use of the song “I Won’t Back Down” at Trump’s recent campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was officially denounced by the family of the late Tom Petty.

Tom Petty’s daughters Adria and Annakim, widow Dana, and ex-wife Jane Petty released their statement.

Tom Petty’s family said they did not give Trump permission to use “I Won’t Back Down.” Samir Hussein/Getty Images

Tom Petty’s music had been previously used in political campaigns without permission. According to Time, George W. Bush used “I Won’t Back Down” on his campaign trail in year 2000. Tom Petty threatened legal action against Bush, saying the use of his song falsely implied that he was endorsing Bush.

15 . Panic! At The Disco

Brendon Urie, the front man of Panic! At The Disco, slapped Trump with a warning after ‘High Hopes’ was played at a recent event in Phoenix, Arizona.

Brendon Urie is the frontman of Panic! At The Disco. Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for iHeartMedia

Later Urie posted a link to HeadCount, encouraging people to register to vote.

16. The Rolling Stones

The crowd pump-up playlist at Tulsa rally last week included ”You Can’t Always Get What You Want”.

This very same song was used by the Trump campaign during the 2016 US election. Back than the Rolling Stones chose to warn Trump by a tweet, and clarified for their fans, stating that they ”do not endorse Donald Trump”.

This year the ignorant Tulsa choice caused instantly more serious and harsh response.

On Sunday a statement from the band’s legal team said the are currently working with the performing rights organisation, the BMI, to stop the unauthorised use of their music by Trump’s campaign.

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