Donald Trump continues to collect grievances from musicians angry that their songs are being used in his political campaigning. Rihanna, Axl Rose, Pharrell Williams, and The Rolling Stones, and even Prince’s estate have already complained about the president’s use of their songs without their permission. Today, Neil Young took another shot at the president for continuing to use the classic “Rockin’ in the Free World” at his rallies.
Young’s beef with Trump’s use of his music stems all the way back to 2015, when “Rockin’ in the Free World” was used liberally throughout his campaign. Young spoke out then, as well, opposing the then-candidate’s use of the song despite Young himself supporting Bernie Sanders. At that time, the Trump campaign responded, “We will respect [Young’s] wish and not use it because it’s the right thing to do.”
However, Lyin’ Trump’s team continues to use the song, and it was frequently heard at some of POTUS’s midterm rallies. In response, Young posted a statement to his website, saying,
“DT does not have my permission to use the song ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ at his appearances. Legally, he has the right to, however, it goes against my wishes. I made this perfectly clear after he played it in a media moment to announce his candidacy. I asked him then, in a widely shared public letter to cease and desist.
However, he chose not to listen to my request, just as he chooses not to listen to the many American voices who ask him to stop his constant lies, to stop his petty, nasty name calling and bullying, to stop pushing his dangerous, vilifying and hateful rhetoric.”
Of Trump, Young made clear that “this man does not represent the character of the people in the U.S.A. that I have come to know and love.”
Young campaigned hard to ensure that young people voted in yesterday’s midterms, including releasing a timely live version of “Ohio”. With the Democrats flipping the House in the midterms, he may well fell a measure of victory against the Trump administration — if only he could get them to turn off his music.