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Neil Young permits Trump to Keep on Rockin'

Young excuses Donald Trump’s use of Rockin’ in the Free World on campaign trail, saying: ‘Once the music goes out, everybody can use it’

Neil Young – a confessed Bernie Sanders supporter – has approved Donald Trump’s use of his music on the campaign trial.


Almost a year after the Canadian artist protested against the Republican representative’s use of Rockin’ in the Free World at a rally, Young has adjusted his position on the situation, saying that he has “nothing against him” but simply wanted to be given approval of the decision. Referring to the claim Trump’s team made about an agreement with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers for the right to play the track from his 1989 album Freedom, Young said:

“He actually got a licence to use it. I mean, he said he did and I believe him. So I got nothing against him. You know, once the music goes out, everybody can use it for anything. But if the artist who made it is saying you never spoke to them, if that means something to you, you probably will stop playing it. And it meant something to Donald and he stopped.”

He added: “The fact that I said I was for Bernie Sanders and then he didn’t ask me to use Rockin’ in the Free World doesn’t mean that he can’t use it.”

In June 2015, Young released a statement about the use of his song at Trump’s campaign rally. “Had I been asked to allow my music to be used for a candidate, I would have said no,” he said. “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 favour corporate interests over the people’s.”

It’s likely that Trump has since lost interest in using the track anyway. Following Young’s initial statement last year, he tweeted:

Neil Young permits Trump to Keep on Rockin'

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