Ten times Donald Trump Pi**ed off the music world

Take a look at all the global musical icons the former orange-hued president has managed to p*ss off discover the reasons why

Skiddle Staff

Last updated: 22nd Nov 2022

The orange-hued, twice-impeached, toupée-sporting former president of the United States of America, Donald Trump has once again been causing controversy, making enemies of the world's biggest music icons.

No stranger to rubbing artists up the wrong way, the 45th commander-in-chief and head of the Trump global business empire has cheesed off a long list of international rock and pop stars in the past, most notably for repeatedly using said artists' records whilst promoting his presidential campaigns without gaining clearance or paying for a licence for their use.

Not one to learn from his mistakes, Trump has recently made the news again. This time provoking the son of David Bowie, Duncan Jones.

The 51-year-old film director has reportedly tried to block Trump from using Bowie's music at political rallies on numerous occasions but to no avail, recently taking to Twitter to share his displeasure at having almost no control of his late father's back catalogue: ‘I have been told there is little we can do about it.'

So, who else has the controversial media personality turned egoistic republican dictator managed to wind up over the years, and for what reasons? Let's take a look-see, shall we...



David Porter and Isaac Hayes 

Unless you live under a rock, you'll no doubt be aware of Trump's somewhat overly optimistic plans to run for office again in 2024. Whilst delusionally declaring his bid for office, it's reported that 'Hold On, I'm Comin', written by Isaac Hayes and David Porter, was used to soundtrack the campaign launch at his recently raided Mar-A-Lago home, all without clearance from the Isaac Hayes estate, surprise surprise.

Speaking of the uncleared use of the track, Isaac Hayes' family estate said:

“Stopping a politician from using your music is not always an easy task, but we are dedicated to making sure that Donald Trump does not continue to use ‘Hold on I’m Coming’ written by Isaac Hayes and David Porter in further rallies and public appearances.”




See if you can spot the reoccurring theme here... In 2016, Trump was reported to have used a medley of Adele's biggest hits as his entrance numbers at rallies across multiple US states, all without clearance from Adele, of course. Adele's team came out swinging stating, “Adele has not given permission for her music to be used for any political campaigning.”

Clearly not a fan of Trump, she later went on to endorse his rival, Hillary Clinton, whilst out on tour in the states. 




“Go f**k 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.” The words of R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe, in case you were wondering. 

'It's The End Of The World (And I Feel Fine)', the band's hugely popular 1987 single was used without clearance, would you believe, by Trump in 2015. The band handcrafted its own cease and released a previously unheard live version of 'World Leader Pretend' from the band's sixth studio album, Green, as part of the anti-Trump campaign, 30 Days, 30 Songs.



Neil Young

Supposedly Trump's favourite artist, Neil Young was peeved, to say the least, upon hearing he'd used 'Rocking In The Free World' at a political rally at Trump Tower back in 2015. A fan and supporter of Bernie Sanders, Young was enraged by Trump's supposed 'illegal' use of his record. However, it turns out Trump had this time gone down the legal route and opted for paid use of the track. Round of applause for Trump. But in a final dramatic twist, after hearing of Neil Young's disapproval, Trump decided to stop using the track altogether at his rallies, apparently in an attempt to keep his favourite artist sweet. Too little, too late, it seems.



The Rolling Stones

The world-famous rock n roll band, fronted by Mick Jagger, might be the first musical act to have successfully prevented the meme president from using their music at political campaigns or rallies. Following a number of cease and desist letters from the bands' legal team, who demanded Trump stop using 'You Can’t Always Get What You Want', ironically, BMI offered a public statement on legal proceedings, saying:

“BMI have notified the Trump campaign on behalf of the Stones that the unauthorized use of their songs will constitute a breach of its licensing agreement. If Donald Trump disregards the exclusion and persists, then he would face a lawsuit for breaking the embargo and playing music that has not been licensed". 

We can all agree, the last thing Trump needs right now is another court case against him...



Pharell Williams

In 2018, America fell victim to yet another mass shooting, this time a synagogue in Pittsburgh where 11 people were murdered in cold blood at the hands of an antisemitic gunman. Just hours after the tragedy, then-president Donald Trump took to the stage at a rally in Indiana to the sound of Pharell William's monster hit record, 'Happy'.

Learning of the grossly inappropriate and again uncleared use of 'Happy' at the rally, Pharell Williams pounced into action. Commissioning his lawyers to draft and send a cease and desist to Trump's team, requesting the immediate suspension of the use of his track, the letter read:

“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. There was nothing ‘happy’ about the tragedy inflicted upon our country and no permission was granted for your use of this song for this purpose. Pharrell has not, and will not, grant you permission to publicly perform or otherwise broadcast or disseminate any of his music.”




Proud Democrat and global pop superstar, Rihanna was alerted to the misuse of her 2008 smash hit, 'Don't Stop The Music' via Twitter back in 2018, when a writer at The Washington Post, Philip Rucker observed Trump and the Republican party using the song at a rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The kicker was RiRi had only just declared her support for Florida Democrat Andrew Gillum at the time and, needless to say, was pretty upset when she found out. 

Responding to Rucker on Twitter, Rhianna said:

"Me nor my people would ever be at or around one of those tragic rallies, so thanks for the heads up, Philip!"



Guns N' Roses

On the very same day that Rhianna learned of Trump's dastardly exploits, Axl Rose, the leather-clad frontman of big-haired 80s rock legends, Guns N' Roses, also took to tweeting his thoughts about Trump using the band's music at his rallies. Referencing the use of 'Sweet Child O’ Mine' at a rally in West Virginia, Rose publically stated that the band had formally asked Trump and the Republican party to stop using their records to suit their political agendas. And yet they continued to do so regardless. 

Axl tweeted:

"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 you say ‘sh**bags?!"



Elton John

Historically a well-known fiery redhead, Elton John is a man you don't want to cross at the best of times. And yet, when asked for comment about denying Donald Trump the use of cult classic anthems, 'Rocket Man' and 'Tiny Dancer' at his political rallies, he gave a very composed response, saying "...it’s nothing personal, his political views are his own, mine are very different, I’m not a Republican in a million years." 

Never one to disappoint, however, he rounded this particular conversation off in typical Elton fashion, with some suggestions for Trump on where he should go looking for music to use:

"Why not ask Ted f**king Nugent? Or one of those f**king country stars? They’ll do it for you.” God bless you, Elton. 



And the list doesn't end there...  

Tom Petty, Prince, Twisted Sister, Ozzy Osbourne and Brendan Urie of Panic! At The Disco have all told the former POTUS where to go, some metaphorically and some quite literally. Who's next to dismiss Trump like a bad smell, pardon the pun? Time will only tell. It seems he has very few friends in the music world.



Check out our What's On Guide to discover even more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.








Header image credit: Donald J. Trump / Facebook.com