Donald Trump suffers backlash for using REM song

TYCOON Donald Trump has fallen foul of the band REM after using one of their hit tracks without permission.

Trump also used Neil Youngs Rockin In The Free World for a rally and got a similarly negative response. Picture: Getty
Trump also used Neil Youngs Rockin In The Free World for a rally and got a similarly negative response. Picture: Getty

The aspiring Republican candidate for the US presidency emerged on stage on Wednesday to REM’s 1987 hit “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”.

But REM’s lead singer, Michael Stipe, then took to Twitter through bassist Mike Mills to bluntly denounce the use of their music.

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Mr Mills tweeted: “Upcoming is Michael’s statement about Trump using our song at the rally. His opinions are HIS, please do not tweet angry responses at me.

“Go f*** yourselves, the lot of you - you sad, attention grabbing, power-hungry little men.

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“Do not use our music or my voice for your moronic charade of a campaign.’”

In a statement on their Facebook page, they clarified: “While we do not authorise or condone the use of our music at this political event, and do ask that these candidates cease and desist from doing so, let us remember that there are things of greater importance at stake here.

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“The media and the American voter should focus on the bigger picture, and not allow grandstanding politicians to distract us from the pressing issues of the day and of the current Presidential campaign.”

In June, Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World” was used by Mr Trump, and the Canadian musician asserted the politician had no authorisation to do so. A statement added: “Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for President of the United States of America.”

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After the spat in June, Mr Trump tweeted: “@Neilyoung’s song, ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’ was just one of 10 songs used as background music. Didn’t love it anyway.”

Earlier in the week, the song “Eye of the Tiger” played as Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who was jailed for contempt of court for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licences, was released and took to a stage with supporters.

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Jim Peterik, who co-wrote the song, told CNN he was “gobsmacked” and insisted on Twitter: “I have not authorised the use of Eye of the Tiger for use by Kim Davis and my publisher will issue a C&D (cease and desist order). This does not reflect my views.”

Politicians around the globe have been using music for campaign rallies for decades, frequently without permission.

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US president Franklin D Roosevelt was the first to use an existing song in 1932 with “Happy Days Are Here Again” when he ran for office.

Major arguments erupted when Ronald Reagan used Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” in 1984. Republican candidates Bob Dole and Pat Buchanan also used it in 1996 and 2000.

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In a 2005 interview, Springsteen recalled of the first row: “This was when the Republicans first mastered the art of co-opting anything and everything that seemed fundamentally American, and if you were on the other side, you were somehow unpatriotic.

“I make American music, and I write about the place I live and who I am in my lifetime. Those are the things I’m going to struggle for and fight for.”

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In 2008, singer Will.i.am created the track “Yes We Can” after hearing a speech by Barack Obama while running for office, after which it became a rallying cry for the campaign.

But Sam Moore, half of R&B musicians Sam and Dave, asked Obama to stop using “Hold On, I’m Comin’” at his rallies. The singer said: “I have not agreed to endorse you for the highest office in our land. . . My vote is a very private matter between myself and the ballot box.”

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The next year, at Obama’s inaugural ball, he performed with Sting and Elvis Costello.

Tony Blair and the Labour Party used D:Ream’s “Things Can Only Get Better” when they won in 1997.