All the Musicians Who Have Stopped Trump Using Their Music

Donald Trump's campaign has seen a number of musicians and bands declaring they do not want their music played at his events.

The latest artist to protest the use of a track at a rally is Panic! At the Disco frontman Brendon Urie, who tweeted the President to demand he stop using his band's songs at his events.

Urie is certainly not the first musician to oppose the use of his music at the President's rallies, in fact, there is quite a long list of stars who have tried to put a stop to it.

Here are all the musicians who have stopped Trump using their music from Rihanna to R.E.M.

Brendon Urie

Brendon Urie
Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco accepts the Top Rock Song award for 'High Hopes' onstage during the 2019 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 01, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Kevin Winter/Getty Images for dcp

The song that sparked the controversy again this week is "High Hopes,"—Trump walked onto the stage at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona, with Urie telling the President he was "not invited" to use the track.

He tweeted Wednesday: "Dear Trump Campaign, F*** you. You're not invited. Stop playing my song. No thanks, Brendon Urie, Panic! At The Disco & company."

Tom Petty's estate

Tom Petty performs on stage after being inducted during the 47th Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction ceremony in New York June 9, 2016. Reuters

The estate of the late Tom Petty issued the president with a cease-and-desist earlier this month saying the performer "would never want a song of his used for a campaign of hate."

The 1989 song "I Won't Back Down" was reportedly played at President Trump's comeback rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma last week.

The statement was signed Adria, Annakim, Dana, and Jane Petty and shared on the singer's official Twitter page from Petty's children, widow, and first wife.

"Tom wrote this song for the underdog, for the common man and for EVERYONE," they noted, adding: "We believe in America and we believe in democracy. But Donald Trump is not representing the noble ideals of either."

Prince's estate

Prince performs at Wembley Arena in London in August 1986. Amid ongoing protests against police violence and racism in the weeks after George Floyd's death, Prince's Estate shared an archived note written by the artist about intolerance on Sunday. Michael Putland/Getty

Trump was reportedly using one of the late Prince's most iconic songs, "Purple Rain," at his pre-Midterm rallies in 2018.

Prince's brother, Omarr Baker, released a statement on behalf of the family asking Trump to stop playing the song.

"The Prince Estate has never given permission to President Trump or The White House to use Prince's songs and have requested that they cease all use immediately," the statement read.


Rihanna attends the Fenty Beauty by Rihanna event at Sephora on September 14, 2018, in Brooklyn, New York. Angela Weiss/Getty

Pop legend Rihanna was not impressed when she discovered via Twitter that Trump had been using her song "Please Don't Stop the Music" in 2018 in Chattanooga, TN.

She tweeted in response to journalist Philip Rucker at the time: "Not for much nor my people would ever be at or around one of those tragic rallies, so thanks for the heads up philip!"

Rolling Stone later reported that her team sent out a cease-and-desist.

Not for much nor my people would ever be at or around one of those tragic rallies, so thanks for the heads up philip!

— Rihanna (@rihanna) November 5, 2018

Steven Tyler

Musician Steven Tyler arrives at the 2016 Billboard Awards in Las Vegas in 2016. Tyler has issued a letter to Trump's team, demanding they stop using the Aerosmith song "Livin' On The Edge" at political rallies. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

Aerosmith's Steven Tyler tried to get Trump to stop playing his band's music back in 2015, but responded again in 2018 when "Livin' on the Edge" was played at a rally.

Tyler's team then sent out a formal cease-and-desist notice.

"By using 'Livin' On The Edge' without our client's permission, Mr. Trump is falsely implying that our client, once again, endorses his campaign and/or his presidency, as evidenced by actual confusion seen from the reactions of our client's fans all over social media," the letter reads, per CBS News.

Pharrell Williams

Pharrell Williams pictured attending Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week on July 4, 2017 in Paris, France. Getty Images

William's hit "Happy" was played at a rally in October 2018, prompting the singer and producer to issue the president with a formal cease and desist letter.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, it read: "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."

The tragedy was the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.

It also said Williams "has not and will not" give the Trump administration permission to use his music.

Neil Young

Canadian rocker Neil Young
Canadian rock star Neil Young performs in concert during Farm Aid 34 at Alpine Valley Music Theatre on September 21, 2019 in East Troy, Wisconsin. He wants to become a U.S. citizen so he can vote in 2020. Getty/Gary Miller

Among the first to oppose Trump using his music, Young's battle started over the song "Rockin' in the Free World" back in 2015 when it was used during the then-candidate's presidential announcement.

Rolling Stone published this statement from Young's representatives: "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."

However, a Trump representative told the publication that the song was being used legally.

Axl Rose

Axl Rose sings at Madison Square Garden on September 14, 2016, in New York City. Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Guns N Roses frontman Axl Rose found out that "Sweet Child O' Mine" was being played at Trump events and put a stop to it.

He tweeted in 2018: "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."

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

George Harrison's estate

George Harrison
English singer-songwriter, guitarist and former Beatle, George Harrison (1943 - 2001), Cannes, France, 30th January 1976. Harrison is in Cannes for the Midem music industry trade fair. Michael Putland/Getty

Members of the late George Harrison's estate were not pleased when The Beatles' classic "Here Comes the Sun" was used at the same 2016 RNC.

They later joked on Twitter: "If it had been Beware of Darkness, then we MAY have approved it! #TrumpYourself."

If it had been Beware of Darkness, then we MAY have approved it! #TrumpYourself

— George Harrison (@GeorgeHarrison) July 22, 2016

Luciano Pavarotti's estate

Princess Diana Pavarotti
Diana is escorted by opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti to his concert "Luciano Pavarotti and friends together for the children of Bosnia " September 12, 1995. Vincenzo Pinto/Reuters

The family of late opera legend Pavarotti was not impressed when his rendition of "Nessun Dorma" was used at Trump campaign events.

His widow, Nicoletta Mantovani Pavarotti, and three daughters spoke to the New York Times, saying: "The values of brotherhood and solidarity which Luciano Pavarotti expressed throughout the course of his artistic career are entirely incompatible with the worldview offered by the candidate Donald Trump."

Twisted Sister's Dee Snider

Twisted Sister
Members of the metal band Twisted Sister—from left, A.J. Pero, J.J. French, Dee Snider, Mark Mendoza and Eddie Ojeda—pose for photos in New York, April 29, 2003. Peter Morgan/Reuters

Dee Snider from the band Twisted Sister once agreed to let Trump use his music, but then had a change of heart.

"It's very upsetting to me, 'cause I strongly don't agree with his extremist positions," he said in an interview with Loudwire.

Elton John

Elton John
Elton John performs at Mt Smart Stadium on February 16, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand. ireImage/Dave Simpson

Trump used Elton John's songs "Rocket Man" and "Tiny Dancer" but the Piano man said he didn't want his music used in American political campaigns.

Speaking to The Guardian, he said: "I don't really want my music to be involved in anything to do with an American election campaign. I'm British. I've met Donald Trump, he was very nice to me, it's nothing personal, his political views are his own, mine are very different, I'm not a Republican in a million years."


Musician Michael Stipe from REM joins Dashboard Confessional to perform covers from REM's Automatic for the People, for 'MTV2 Album Covers' at Arlene's Grocery November Getty Images

R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe was not impressed when Trump used the song "It's the End of the World," in 2016 and sent him a cease-and-desist.

The O'Jays

The O'Jays
Members of the OJays perform after being inducted into the Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame at Hyatt at The Bellevue on October 22, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

Eddie Levert of The O'Jays objected to Trump using their song "Love Train" at rallies, having already used "For The Love Of Money" on The Apprentice.

Levert told Billboard: "I wish him the best, but I don't think he's the man to run our country. So when he started using 'Love Train,' I called him up and told them, 'Listen, man, I don't believe in what you're doing. I'm not with you. I don't want you to use my voice. I'm not condoning what you're doing."


Adele performs at The Gabba on March 4, 2017, in Brisbane, Australia. Fans and celebrities have been commenting on Instagram to wish Adele a happy birthday, as she celebrated her 32nd birthday on May 5, 2020. Getty/Glenn Hunt

Pop superstar Adele is another artist who opposed Trump using her music at his events.

The "Hello" singer said she never gave the then-candidate permission to use her music, telling Vulture: "Don't vote for him," she said of Trump, per Vulture. "I am English, but what happens in America affects me, too. I am 100 percent for Hillary Clinton. I love her, she's amazing."

The Rolling Stones

mick jagger
Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones performs onstage at Hard Rock Stadium on August 30, 2019 in Miami, Florida. Jagger is one of many performers in Sunday's "iFor India" concert. Getty/Rich Fury

Vulture reports that the rock and roll legends ordered Trump to "cease all use" of their music.

Brian May and Queen

Brian May
Brian May of Queen performs onstage during the 2019 Global Citizen Festival: Power The Movement in Central Park on September 28, 2019 in New York City. Kevin Mazur/Getty

Queen's seminal hit "We Are The Champions" was being used at Trump events, but guitarist Brian May was not too pleased about it.

He released an unofficial statement in 2016, saying: "permission to use the track was neither sought nor given."

He added: "It has always been against our policy to allow Queen music to be used as a political campaigning tool."

A tweet from the band's Twitter account was posted, reading: "An unauthorised use at the Republican Convention against our wishes - Queen."

Earth, Wind & Fire

Maurice White of Earth Wind & Fire reacts as the band are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Maurice White, center, reacts as Earth, Wind & Fire are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in New York City, March 6, 2000. White passed away on Wednesday night. STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

The iconic "September" by Earth, Wind & Fire was being used by Trump at events until the band quote tweeted Queen, saying: "Another unauthorized use (September) at the Republican Convention, against our wishes — Earth, Wind & Fire."

Another unauthorized use (September) at the Republican Convention, against our wishes - Earth, Wind & Fire

— Earth, Wind & Fire (@EarthWindFire) July 20, 2016

Free's Paul Rodgers

Paul Rodgers
Singer Paul Rodgers of Bad Company and Free performs onstage during the 2017 Bourbon and Beyond Festival at Champions Park on September 24, 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky. Scott Dudelson/WireImage/Getty

Paul Rodgers of the band Free was not happy when the Trump campaign used the song "All Right Now" during the 2016 RNC.

He tweeted: "Permission to use 'All Right Now' was never sought for or granted by me. My lawyer is dealing with this matter. - Paul."

Permission to use "All Right Now" was never sought for or granted by me. My lawyer is dealing with this matter. - Paul

— Paul Rodgers (@_paulrodgers) July 18, 2016