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Tom Petty Trump Rally – Petty Family Doesn’t Want Trump Using I Won’t Back Down
Andrew ChinGetty Images
If there’s one thing the Trump campaign does effectively, it’s infuriate some of the biggest musicians on the planet through unauthorized use of their songs. And now, like many other artists and estates before them, the family of late rock star Tom Petty has hit the Trump campaign with a cease and desist over its use of Petty’s 1989 hit “I Won’t Back Down” at the president’s Saturday rally in Tulsa.
“Trump was in no way authorized to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind,” wrote the Petty family in a statement. “Both the late Tom Petty and his family firmly stand against racism and discrimination of any kind. Tom Petty would never want a song of his used for a campaign of hate. He liked to bring people together.”
“Tom wrote this song for the underdog, for the common man and for EVERYONE,” the family continued. “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 an official cease and desist notice to the Trump campaign.”
The Petty family are far from alone in urging Trump to switch up his playlist. During the 2016 presidential campaign, the Rolling Stones were vocal in their distaste for the campaign’s fondness for “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” and powerless to stop Trump from using it. “In America, if you’re in a public place like Madison Square Garden or a theater, you can play any music you want,” Mick Jagger explained in an interview, “and you can’t be stopped.” Other artists who’ve tried to pull the plug on Trump’s use of their hits include R.E.M, Prince, and Elton John.
Gabrielle Bruney is a writer and editor for Esquire, where she focuses on politics and culture.
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