He may have been one of New York’s most towering and influential pop culture figures at one point (with cameos in Sex and the City and Home Alone, to name a few), but Donald Trump has been shunned in recent years by parts of the entertainment industry.
The US president, 74, has been widely derided in showbiz circles for his divisive politics, which have sparked international condemnation and widespread protests over the years.
As a result, a number of bands and soloists have been speaking out against Trump using their music at his political rallies, wishing to dissociate themselves from his controversial views.
The most recent artist to sue the president’s campaign is musician Neil Young, who claims his tracks Rockin’ in the Free World and Devil’s Sidewalk were played at the president’s recent rally in Tulsa without a license.
“This complaint is not intended to disrespect the rights and opinions of American citizens, who are free to support the candidate of their choosing,” reads the copyright infringement complaint filed in New York federal court. “However, Plaintiff in good conscience cannot allow his music to be used as a ‘theme song’ for a divisive, un-American campaign of ignorance and hate.”
Here are the other artists who have opposed Trump using their music…
The estate representing the late George Harrison criticised the campaign for using the Beatles track Here Comes the Sun in 2016 during Trump’s victory party.
Expressing their distaste on Twitter, the estate wrote: “The unauthorized use of ‘Here Comes the Sun’ at the RNC is offensive & against the wishes of the George Harrison estate.
“If it had been ‘Beware of Darkness,’ then we MAY have approved it! #TrumpYourself.”
The singer distanced herself from the Trump campaign after her Bond theme from the movie of the same name, Skyfall, as well 2011 smash Rolling in the Deep as his “warm-up music.”
"Adele has not given permission for her music to be used for any political campaigning," her spokesman confirmed.
The 30-year-old then went one step further, and endorsed Trump’s political rival Clinton in a performance at Miami’s American Airlines Arena.
“I am English, but what happens in America affects me too," Adele told the crowd, according to Entertainment Weekly. "I am 100 percent for Hillary Clinton. I love her, she's amazing.
"Don't vote for him.”
Lead singer Steven Tyler has demanded on two occasions that the Trump campaign stop playing Aerosmith classics Dream On and Livin’ on the Edge.
A letter sent on behalf of the band read: "As we have made clear numerous times, Mr. Trump is creating the false impression that our client has given his consent for the use of his music, and even that he endorses the presidency of Mr. Trump.
"By using 'Livin' On The Edge' without our client's permission, Mr. Trump is falsely implying that our client, once again, endorses his campaign and/or his presidency, as evidenced by actual confusion seen from the reactions of our client's fans all over social media.”
Tyler himself added on Twitter that this wasn’t necessarily a political decision, but a copyright one.
Instead of suing Trump for using Born in the USA during his political rallies, Springsteen openly announced his support for Democrat candidate Hilary Clinton, even campaigning for her and releasing anti-Trump anthem ‘That’s What Makes Us Great.’ As a result, Springsteen’s music was booed whenever Trump played him at rallies.
Earlier this year, Trump drew attention of a supporter-made re-election YouTube video to his 84 million followers, which used a cover of Linkin Park’s In The End.
After being served with a Copyright Notice, the video was pulled, with the band issuing a statement saying they do not endorse Trump.
It comes after late lead singer Chester Bennington has previously described Trump as “a greater threat to the USA than terrorism” in a tweet from January 2017.
In similar vein, Nickelback accused Trump of Copyright Infringement when he bizarrely shared a heavily edited version of their song, and its accompanying music video, Photograph.
The strange events saw downloads of the highly meme-able song from 2005 shoot up by 569%, according to Vice.
After the Trump campaign used Nessun Dorma, Luciano Parvarotti’s widow Nicoletta Mantovani Pavarotti objected to the President using the operatic classic as she felt Trump’s views on immigration were at odds with Pavarotti’s principles.
A statement on behalf of the family read: “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.”
Panic! At the Disco
The Trump campaign’s use of 2019 hit High Hopes saw the band’s frontman Brendon Urie call out Trump publicly and baldly on Twitter.
“Donald Trump represents nothing we stand for...Dear Trump Campaign, F--- you. You're not invited. Stop playing my song. No thanks, Brendon Urie, Panic! At The Disco & company.”
Having used We Are The Champions after clinching the final round of Republican primaries, guitarist Brian May issued a lengthy objection to the usage of the song on his website.
“I’ve had an avalanche of complaints – some of which you can see in our ‘Letters’ page – about Donald Trump using our ‘We Are The Champions’ track as his ‘theme’ song on USA TV,” May wrote on his website.
“This is not an official Queen statement, but I can confirm that permission to use the track was neither sought nor given. We are taking advice on what steps we can take to ensure this use does not continue.
“Regardless of our views on Mr. Trump’s platform, it has always been against our policy to allow Queen music to be used as a political campaigning tool.”
The singer and savvy businesswoman threatened to launch legal proceedings against the Trump campaign in 2018 after he played Don’t Stop the Music at a Tennessee rally.
“It has come to our attention that President Trump has utilized [Rihanna’s] musical compositions and master recordings, including her hit track ‘Don’t Stop the Music,’ in connection with a number of political events held across the United States,” Rihanna’s legal team wrote in the letter obtained by Rolling Stone to Trump’s White House counsel.
“As you are or should be aware, Ms. Fenty has not provided her consent to Mr. Trump to use her music. Such use is therefore improper.”
On three occasions, the band has vocally slammed Trump for using their hits, with frontman Michael Stipe being particularly vitriolic after the campaign used 1987 hit "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) in 2016.
“Go f*ck yourselves, the lot of you -- you sad, attention-grabbing, power-hungry little men," Stipe said in an email to The Daily Beast. "Do not use our music or my voice for your moronic charade of a campaign."
The estate for the legendary singer objected the use of classic track Purple Rain during a 2019 rally in Minnesota, despite having said a year prior to this that they would “refrain from” using Prince’s music in connection to campaign rally.
President Trump played Prince’s “Purple Rain” tonight at a campaign event in Minneapolis despite confirming a year ago that the campaign would not use Prince’s music. The Prince Estate will never give permission to President Trump to use Prince’s songs. pic.twitter.com/FuMUPzSWOe— Prince (@prince)October 11, 2019
A team representing Price, who died in 2016, shared the original letter from the campaign’s lawyer and an additional statement on Twitter saying they will “never give permission to President Trump.”
The Rolling Stones
Both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones have opposed the repeated use of You Cant Always Get What You Want, and have sent a cease and desist in 2016 and 2020 – and are now threatening legal action.
“This could be the last time President Donald Trump uses Stones songs. Despite cease & desist directives to Donald Trump in the past, the Rolling Stones are taking further steps to exclude him using their songs at any of his future political campaigning,” said a statement issued by Deadline.
“The Stones’ legal team is working with BMI. BMI has notified the Trump campaign on behalf of the Stones that the unauthorized use of their songs will constitute a breach of its licensing agreement.
“If Donald Trump disregards the exclusion and persists, then he would face a lawsuit for breaking the embargo and playing music that has not been licensed.”