Step away from the song - Adele, Rolling Stones and more angry at politicians using their tunes
Published 05/05/2016 | 08:00
In May 2016 The Rolling Stones asked presumptive Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump to stop playing their songs at his campaign events. This followed a complaint in February 2016, Adele complained about Donald Trump using her song Rolling In The Deep as part of his presidential candidacy campaign. They are not the only musicians who have been riled by a politician using songs without permission. We look at some of the top musicians, including Bruce Springsteen and Jackson Browne, who have complained about this problem.
Republican candidate Donald Trump was reportedly playing Adele's hit Rolling In The Deep as "warm-up" music. "Adele has not given permission for her music to be used for any political campaigning," her spokesman confirmed. Trump came on stage to the hit song during a rally held in Lexington, South Carolina, prompting BBC's North America Editor Jon Sopel to comment on Twitter that it was an "unlikely combo". Trump is believed to be a fan of the Hello singer's work and attended her concert in New York previously.
In June 2015, Neil Young criticised Trump for using his song Rockin' In The Free World when the Republican launched his US presidential campaign. Young, who was born in Toronto, Canada, lives on a ranch in California. In a statement, the singer-songwriter said: "Donald Trump was not authorised to use Rockin' In The Free World in his presidential candidacy announcement." The statement went on to say that the Canadian citizen supports Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent and one of the most outspoken liberals in Congress, in his campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.
A Trump campaign spokeswoman said that Trump's team paid for the legal right to play the recording during the launch of his campaign through a license agreement with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, adding: "Nevertheless, we won't be using it again – there are plenty of songs to choose from. Despite Neil's differing political views, Mr Trump likes Neil very much."
In February 2016, Elton John also took umbrage at Trump for using his 1972 hit Rocket Man. A spokesman for the singer said: ""Elton's music has not been requested for use in any official capacity by Donald Trump. Any use of his music should not be seen as an endorsement of Donald Trump by Elton."
Strike four! Rock band R.E.M. lashed out in September 2015 at Trump for using their hit song It's the End of the World" at a rally.
Stike five! On May 4, 2016, The Rolling Stones have asked presumptive Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump to stop playing their songs at his campaign events.
After effectively sealing the Republican nomination on May 3, Trump played the Stones hit Start Me Up as he left the stage following a victory speech. However, the band said in a statement: “The Rolling Stones have never given permission to the Trump campaign to use their songs and have requested that they cease all use immediately.”
Swedish band Abba once sued a Danish anti-immigration party for using their song, Mamma Mia in a rally.
Jackson Browne sued John McCain for using his song Running on Empty during the 2008 US presidential campaign.
President Ronald Reagan angered Bruce Springsteen by using Born in the USA in his 1984 re-election campaign. Springsteen said: "I think people have a need to feel good about the country they live in. But what's happening, I think, is that that need is getting manipulated and exploited. You see that in the Reagan election ads on TV."
Keane drummer Richard Hughes posted on Twitter that the Conservative Party had not asked for permission to use the band's song Everybody's Changing and said he would not be voting for the party.
James singer Tim Booth complained about the use of the band's song Sit Down at a Labour Party Conference in 2008. The song was played over a PA system before a speech by then Prime Minister Gordon Brown in Manchester.
The Talking Heads singer and songwriter sued Charlie Crist in 2010 when the Florida Senator used his song Road to Nowhere as the music for an "attack ad" on his opponent Marco Rubio. Crist agreed to pay an undisclosed sum and also posted an apology video on YouTube. Byrne said: "It turns out I am one of the few artists who has the bucks and [guts] to challenge such usage."
In 1988 then Republican candidate George HW Bush used Bobby McFerrin's song Don't Worry, Be Happy as his presidential campaign theme. McFerrin, who backed Michael Dukakis supporter, told team Bush to stop. The singer even stopped performing the song for a while to drive home his disapproval.
In 2008, country singer Gretchen Peters objected to Sarah Palin using her song Independence Day as the introduction music at a rally. Peter said: "The fact that the McCain/Palin campaign is using a song about an abused woman as a rallying cry for their Vice Presidential candidate, a woman who would ban abortion even in cases of rape and incest, is beyond irony. They are co-opting the song, completely overlooking the context and message, and using it to promote a candidate who would set women's rights back decades." Peters donated all of the election period royalties from Independence Day to Planned Parenthood.