Neil Young reacts angrily to Donald Trump's use of his music
(Credit: Gage Skidmore / Tore Sætre)

Neil Young reacts angrily to Donald Trump’s use of his music

US President Donald Trump has again ruffled the feathers of the rock music world by using material created by Neil Young as part of his campaign.

Ahead of Trump’s planned speech at Mt. Rushmore to mark the July 4th celebrations, footage has circulated of Neil Young tracks such as ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’, ‘Like a Hurricane’ and ‘Cowgirl in the Sand’ being played in preparations.

Reacting to the clips, Young took to social media to say: “This is NOT ok with me…”. Young then followed it up by stating: “I stand in solidarity with the Lakota Sioux & this is NOT ok with me.” Young’s comment is in reference to Lakota Sioux who have been vocal in their opposition of Mt. Rushmore, claiming that it was carved into sacred land.

Young’s opposition of the use of his music arrives shortly after The Rolling Stones were forced to threaten legal action against US President Donal Trump.

The move comes after a statement was issued by the performing rights organisation BMI who have insisted that Trump’s political campaign stop using music by The Rolling Stones as part of their official campaign events and rallies.

“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,” a statement reads.

Discussing a potential lawsuit, a BMI spokesperson told Deadline that Trump’s campaign has legal access to more than 15 million musical works in their archive under the Political Entities License. However, this particular license states that BMI have the right “to exclude musical works from the license if a songwriter or publisher objects to its use by a campaign.” Needless to say, The Rolling Stones object.

The statement continued: “BMI has received such an objection and sent a letter notifying the Trump campaign that The Rolling Stones’ works have been removed from the campaign license, and advising the campaign that any future use of these musical compositions will be in breach of its license agreement with BMI.”

Young and The Rolling Stones are now part of a growing list of musicians to voice their disapproval. The threat of legal action comes just days after the family of the late Tom Petty issued a cease and desist letter to the political campaign of Donald Trump.

The move comes after Trump’s campaign used Petty song ‘I Won’t Back Down’ during a recent rally held in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“Trump was in no way authorised to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind,” the Petty family said in a statement.

“Both the late Tom Petty and his family firmly stand against racism and discrimination of any kind,” they added. “Tom Petty would never want a song of his used for a campaign of hate. He liked to bring people together.”

Adding: “Tom wrote this song for the underdog, for the common man and for everyone. We want to make it clear that we believe everyone is free to vote as they like, think as they like, but the Petty family doesn’t stand for this. We believe in America and we believe in democracy. But Donald Trump is not representing the noble ideals of either.

“We would hate for fans that are marginalized by this administration to think we were complicit in this usage. Concurrently, we have issued a cease and desist notice to the Trump campaign.”

See the full statement, below.

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