Aerosmith joins R.E.M.: Rock bands keep warning Donald Trump to stop playing their songs at his rallies

Steven Tyler becomes the third rocker to send a cease-and-desist letter to The Donald

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published October 12, 2015 1:55PM (EDT)


When Donald Trump held one of the largest one-night gatherings of the 2016 campaign in Mobile, Alabama in August, he entered the stage at Ladd-Peebles Stadium to the sound of Aerosmith's 1973 hit "Dream On." The Republican frontrunner, a fan of the band, even played a snippet of the tune during his infamous campaign kick-off at Trump Tower in August and again during a campaign stop in Las Vegas this weekend, but now Aerosmith is joining other artists like Neil Young and R.E.M. to push-back against Trump's use of their songs during political events.

A cease-and-desist letter was sent by a representative for frontman Steven Tyler on Saturday. Tyler, who was Trump's guest to the first GOP presidential debate in Cleveland, wrote 100 percent of the lyrics to "Dream On" and the letter contends that Trump's use of the song "would imply a false endorsement," according to the Hollywood Reporter.

"Trump for President does not have our client’s permission to use 'Dream On' or any of our client’s other music in connection with the Campaign because it gives the false impression that he is connected with or endorses Mr. Trump’s presidential bid," the cease-and-desist letter reads.

This now marks the third time a musician has confronted Trump about using the artist's songs to promote his presidential campaign.

After Trump played Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World" during his campaign kick-off, the rocker objected, noting his own support for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

"Donald Trump was not authorized to use 'Rockin' In The Free World' in his presidential candidacy announcement," Young's representative said in a statement. "Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for President of the United States of America."

Trump, apparently in defense of his use of a song featuring the lyric, "He's just a rich old man / He never cared for anyone," lashed out against Young at the time:

Then, after he used R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)," singer Michael Stipe condemn the move in a strongly-worded statement.

“Go fuck 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,” Stipe said through the Twitter account of bandmate Mike Mills:

"While we do not authorize or condone the use of our music at this political event, and do ask that these candidates...

Posted by R.E.M. on Wednesday, September 9, 2015

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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2016 Republican Primary Aerosmith Donald Trump R.e.m. Stephen Tyler