Tom Petty’s Family Send Trump Cease And Desist Over His Use Of ‘I Won’t Back Down’ At Tulsa Rally


The family of late singer-songwriter Tom Petty issued a cease and desist notice to the Trump campaign on Sunday and denounced the President’s unauthorized use of 1989 hit I Won’t Back Down at Saturday’s Tulsa rally.


“Trump was in no way authorized to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind,” his daughters Adria and Annakim, widow Dana and ex-wife Jane wrote in a statement.

“We have issued an official cease and desist notice to the Trump campaign,” they added.

Tom Petty and his family “firmly stand” against racism and discrimination of any kind, the family wrote.

Trump’s campaign played the song at his closely-watched rally in Tulsa on June 20, which he used to defend his coronavirus response and criticize anti-racism protests to a smaller-than-anticipated crowd.

Crucial quote

Petty’s family wrote: “We believe in America and we believe in Democracy. But Donald Trump is not representing the noble ideals of either. We would hate for fans that are marginalized by this administration to think we were complicit in this usage.”

Key background

This isn’t Trump’s first legal brush with music stars unhappy with his use of their hits at his rallies. Last October, Trump angered Prince’s estate after breaching a written promise he made in 2018 to not use the late artist’s music and playing Purple Rain at a rally in Minneapolis. In 2018, Rihanna sent Trump’s campaign a cease and desist after they played her song Don’t Stop The Music unauthorized at a Tennessee rally, Rolling Stone reported. Aerosmith, Elton John, Adele and Queen are some of the world’s most famous artists to publicly blast Trump for using their music without their permission. Political candidates in the U.S. are largely free to use the music they want at rallies, provided they pay for a license to use it.


Petty, who died from an accidental drug overdose in 2017, previously threatened to sue former President George W. Bush for using I Won’t Back Down, a song popular at political rallies. However, he was okay with President Obama’s use of the song in 2012, telling Rolling Stone at the time: “I got chills. They knew it would be OK. I’ve had a chance to meet the President and talk to him about the music he listens to.”

Further reading

Turnout At Trump’s Tulsa Rally Was Just Under 6,200–A Fraction Of The Venue’s 19,200 Capacity (Forbes)

Why Queen Cannot Stop Donald Trump’s Use Of ‘We Are The Champions’ (Forbes)

35 musicians who famously told politicians: Don’t use my song (USA Today)

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Written by Angle News

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