You may have noticed something in the background this week when the Donald announced that he would be adding his name to the list of Republican candidates vying for the Presidency in the coming election.
A familiar tune playing the background, possibly?
Neil Young's "Rockin In The Free World" was Trump's chosen theme song – for a hot minute anyway. Neil Young shut that down almost immediately. Trump used the song both at both his kickoff rally at Trump Tower in New York City and at a speech in Iowa later Tuesday night (June 16).
Though, moving forward, the Donald will have to find another theme song to use as he enters his political events after Young's management company released the following statement:
"Donald Trump was not authorized to use 'Rockin' In The Free World' in his presidential candidacy announcement. Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for President of the United States of America."
This certainly would not be the first time musicians have put the kibosh on their material being used in association with a candidate for President.
John Mellencamp had to go toe-to-toe with John McCain and George Bush. Tom Petty had to put the brakes on Michelle Bachman and George W. Bush using his songs, while Heart had to send a "cease and desist" letter to Sarah Plain and the entire GOP after their song "Barracuda" was used in association with the former Alaskan Governor. Bruce Springsteen has been saying no to conservative candidates since Ronald Reagan tried to use "Born in The U.S.A." back in 1984.
Though many say it is matter of musicians publishing rights and the fact that using their songs without permission is essentially stealing, which is true, I think it runs a bit deeper.
For most musicians, their music is not only their job, but it is their art. And their art is crafted around the ideologies and issues that ring true and mean something to them.
So if a candidate who goes completely against that ideology misrepresents the essence of that musician's message – then I say they reserve the right to say NO.
Here's to Neil Young and rockin' in that free world for another election cycle.