Neil Young Not Happy With Donald Trump’s Use of “Rockin’ in the Free World”

Young offers paragraph-long Re•Ac•Tion

Despite being a Reagan supporter, Neil Young has never been a fan of big business. On The Monsanto Years, his latest album due out June 29, he blasts Walmart, Starbucks, and (naturally) megafarm Monsanto for what he sees as those business’ pattern of worker exploitation. So you can imagine how he felt about Donald Trump‘s choice to announce his run for the presidency to the tune of Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World.”

“Donald Trump was not authorized to use ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ in his presidential candidacy announcement,” Young said in a written statement, before adding, “Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for President of the United States of America.” It’s hard not to think that Neil is undercutting his own argument with the Canadian citizen thing, but presidential politics aren’t known for their logic.

This isn’t the first time that a politician’s decision to use a particular song has offended the song’s writer. Earlier this year, Dropkick Murphys asked Wisconsin governor Scott Walker to stop using their song “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” on the campaign trail (“We literally hate you,” the punk band tweeted), while in 2011, former Florida governor Charlie Crist was forced to make a YouTube apology for using David Byrne‘s “Road to Nowhere” in a campaign ad.

Perhaps most famously, Ronald Reagan once told a town hall meeting that “America’s future rests in a thousand dreams inside your hearts. It rests in the message of hope in the songs of a man so many young Americans admire—New Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen.” Two nights later, on stage in Pittsburgh, Springsteen wondered aloud which of his records was Reagan’s favorite. “I don’t think it was the Nebraska album,” he said, before playing that record’s closed-factory lament “Johnny 99.”

With the election season still woefully young, it’s only a matter of time before another candidate chooses a wildly inappropriate soundtrack his or her run for the presidency. We’ll keep you posted.


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