Donald Trump announced his bid for the U.S. Presidency last Tuesday in a speech that left many cringing with raised eyebrows, including assertions about Mexico, the Middle East, China and Japan (he later cried ‘sorry not sorry‘ on Twitter).
Yet his biggest faux pas turned out to be his choice of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” for his big campaign entrance.
Even at first glance, “Rockin’ in the Free World” doesn’t exactly seem to be the best match with the conservative billionaire tycoon’s agenda. The song is about surviving the oppressive regime that is the “Free World”.
Young quickly gave two reasons of his own for why Trump picked the wrong campaign anthem:
“Donald Trump was not authorized to use ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’ in his presidential candidacy announcement,” said Young’s manager in a statement. “Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for President of the United States of America.”
Trump says he paid ASCAP and BMI for his use of the song, but will back off from future public strutting to the tune.
“Mr. Trump likes [Young’s] music and has been to his concerts, we won’t use it again, out of respect to Mr. Young,” said Trump’s Campaign Manager, Corey Lewandowski. (Never mind Trump receiving a cease and desist letter from Young.)
Bernie Sanders heard Young’s cry and rolled with the song at his own rally in Denver last Saturday for an “extraordinary turnout”.
Young chose to elaborate even further on his position in an open letter posted to Facebook.
“I am Canadian and I don’t vote in the United States, but more importantly I don’t like the current political system in the USA and some other countries. Increasingly Democracy has been hijacked by corporate interests. The money needed to run for office, the money spent on lobbying by special interests, the ever increasing economic disparity and the well funded legislative decisions all favor corporate interests over the people’s.
“I do not trust self serving misinformation coming from corporations and their media trolls. I do not trust politicians who are taking millions from those corporations either. I trust people. So I make my music for people not for candidates. Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World.”
This is not the first time music has been misappropriated by campaigning politicians, but musicians have become increasingly staunch in standing for their music being honestly represented.
It’s inspiring to see Young stand up for the integrity of his music; keep on rockin’ the Free World!