Pumping Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop The Music” through a couple of speakers is a classic mood-setting move. Her 2007 dance anthem is the perfect pop song to warm up a crowd, whether you’re a football game, a Much Music Video Dance, a wedding reception — or, apparently, a Trump rally.
Washington Post’s Philip Rucker tweeted that the classic RihRih tune was “blaring in Chattanooga,” adding that, “Everyone’s loving it.” Rihanna, however, was not loving it. After having been alerted to the tweet by fans, she responded on her own Twitter account: “Not for much longer… me nor my people would ever be at or around one of those tragic rallies, so thanks for the heads up philip!”
Not for much longer…me nor my people would ever be at or around one of those tragic rallies, so thanks for the heads up philip! https://t.co/dRgRi06GrJ
— Rihanna (@rihanna) November 5, 2018
This isn’t the first time Trump has received flak for his unapproved use of popular music—and it probably won’t be the last. From the Queen (Adele) to Queen (the band), here’s a brief roundup of every musician the President of the United States has pissed off.
On October 27, Trump played Pharell’s hit song “Happy” at a rally, just hours after 11 people were murdered by a gunman in a Pittsburgh synagogue. Two days later, Pharell’s attorney Howard King sent the president a cease and desist letter. “On the day of the mass murder of 11 human beings at the hands of a deranged ‘nationalist,’ you played his song ‘Happy’ to a crowd at a political event in Indiana,” King wrote. “There was nothing ‘happy’ about the tragedy inflicted upon our country on Saturday and no permission was granted for your use of this song for this purpose.”
“Adele has not given permission for her music to be used for any political campaigning,” her spokesman said in January of 2016, when Trump was campaigning for the presidential election with “Skyfall” and “Rolling in the Deep” playing in the background of his rallies. Adele later went on to endorse Hillary Clinton for president at a concert in Miami, saying to her American audience: “Don’t vote for him. I am English, but what happens in America affects me, too. I am 100 percent for Hillary Clinton. I love her, she’s amazing.”
Trump used the Aerosmith song “Dream On” in his 2015 election campaign, causing the attorney of lead singer Steven Tyler to send a cease and desist letter to Trump’s campaign committee, which said Trump did “not have our client’s permission to use ‘Dream On’” or any of Tyler’s other songs and that it “gives the false impression that he is connected with, or endorses, Mr Trump’s presidential bid”.
Guns and Roses
Shortly after finding out that Trump played “Sweet Child ‘o Mine” at a rally in West Virginia on November 2, Guns and Roses’ front guy Axl Rose tweeted that he and his band denied Trump permission to use their music. He even included a poop emoji.
Unfortunately the Trump campaign is using loopholes in the various venues’ blanket performance licenses which were not intended for such craven political purposes, without the songwriters’ consent.
Can u say “shitbags?!”💩
— Axl Rose (@axlrose) November 4, 2018
Before issuing a formal statement, REM’s Michael Stipe sent a more personal message to Trump: “Go fuck yourselves, the lot of you – you sad, attention-grabbing, power-hungry little men. Do not use our music or my voice for your moronic charade of a campaign,” he wrote to Twitter in September of 2015 after Trump used “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)” at a rally.
Brian May, one of Queen’s three surviving members, wants Trump to know that in their eyes, he isn’t a champion. “I can confirm that permission to use the track was neither sought nor given,” he wrote in an open letter, after Trump made his stage entrance to the band’s “We Are The Champions” at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland. “Regardless of our views on Mr. Trump’s platform, it has always been against our policy to allow Queen music to be used as a political campaigning tool.”
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