Rolling Stones Tell Donald Trump to Stop Using Their Songs at Rallies

May 5th 2016

Alex Mierjeski

The Rolling Stones have no sympathy for Donald Trump.

On Wednesday night, the band released a statement requesting that the GOP's presumptive nominee "cease all use immediately" of their songs at his campaign events.

The band's songs "You Can't Always Get What You Want," and "Start Me Up," have been among a number of tunes played at Trump's rallies and campaign events in recent months. Others have included The Beatles' "Revolution," Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" and "Rocket Man," and a riveting Luciano Pavarotti rendition of Puccini's "Nessun Dorma."

Many other artists whose songs were used by Trump have asked the campaign to stop playing their music in protest of the candidate's divisive political platform. They include Adele, Neil Young, Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, and R.E.M.

As far back as 1984, John Mellencamp pushed back when Ronald Reagan's re-election campaign asked for permission to use his song "Pink Houses."

"I said it to Ronald Reagan. Look, just so you know, these songs are for everyone. They’re not really for any particular party, Democrat or Republican, but just so you know, I’m as left-wing as you can get," Mellencamp told Salon. "So you can go ahead and use the song if you want, but just know that you’re using it in a way it was not intended. And if you listen to the song closely, it’s really not your message."

Political campaigns don't necessarily need the permission of the artists to use their songs thanks to blanket agreements between music licensing organizations and venues or political groups, the Associated Press reported. Some of those licensing agreements, however, allow artists to ask that their songs not be used.