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Neil Young—Just Like The Rolling Stones, Rihanna, REM, Etc.—Blasts Trump For Using His Song, Again

TOPLINE

After Trump’s Fourth of July event Friday at Mount Rushmore where Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World” was played, the legendary musician—who is no stranger to tussling with Trump over the use of his music—responded on Twitter to say, “This is NOT ok with me,” the latest in a long line of famous musicians making the same complaint.

KEY FACTS

Trump infamously played “Rockin’ In The Free World” on the day he announced his presidential candidacy in 2015, earning a swift condemnation from Young’s management company. 

In another video from Friday’s event, Young’s “Like A Hurricane” can be heard.

“I stand in solidarity with the Lakota Sioux & this is NOT ok with me,” Young said again on Twitter. 

The South Dakota land Mount Rushmore is built on is a sacred area for local Native Americans; for some, the monument to U.S. presidents is viewed as a symbol of oppression

In February, Young published an open letter to President Trump: “you are a disgrace to my country,” he wrote. “‘Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World’ is not a song you can trot out at one of your rallies.”

Tangent 

“Rockin’ In The Free World” was written while Young was on the road in 1989, Rolling Stone notes, a month after President George H.W. Bush took office. The song is a bitter, sarcastic condemnation of a government that did not seem to care for the poor and vulnerable. 

Key background

Young is just one in a list of more than a dozen musical artists that have criticized the president for using their music at his rallies. The Rolling Stones threatened to sue Trump in June over the unauthorized use of their music after ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ played at a rally in Oklahoma. The family of the late Tom Petty issued a cease-and-desist notice to the Trump campaign after “I Won’t Back Down” was played. “Trump was in no way authorized to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind,” Petty’s family wrote in a statement. R.E.M., the estate of Prince, Nickelback, Guns N’ Roses, and Rihanna are also among the artists that have clashed with Trump over music. 

Further reading

All The Artists Who Have Told Trump To Stop Using Their Songs At His Rallies (Forbes)

Tom Petty’s Family Send Trump Cease And Desist Over His Use Of ‘I Won’t Back Down’ At Tulsa Rally (Forbes)

Why Queen Cannot Stop Donald Trump’s Use Of ‘We Are The Champions’ (Forbes)

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