It seems like Donald Trump can’t pick a campaign song without causing a stir online. The president, who held a rally in Des Moines, Iowa on Oct. 14, 2020, played Phil Collins’ track “In the Air Tonight” as massive crowds of people gathered to watch him take the stage — many of which were not wearing masks, according to TMZ. The outlet also reported that Iowa had the fourth-highest COVID-19 infection rate in the United States with 1,180 new cases at the time.
One Twitter user called Trump’s use of the song “peak 2020” while others referred to the president’s choice as “classless” as well as “sick” and “twisted.” Meanwhile, another person pointed out the irony of using “In the Air Tonight” at a packed “Trump COVID Superspreader event.” Clearly, playing a song with that title as an airborne virus continues to spread across the country and world, killing millions of people, is arguably tone-deaf, to say the least. However, as TMZ points out, “Trump and his campaign never miss a chance to jab at his haters with their music selections at his rallies.”
Whatever the case is, Trump did not receive permission from Collins to use the song ahead of the rally — and the British singer’s lawyers made it very clear this won’t happen again. Keep scrolling to find out how Collins really feels about Trump as president.
Phil Collins is anti-Trump
Phil Collins, the voice behind the famous 1981 track “In the Air Tonight,” is not a fan of Donald Trump. In late October 2016, days before Trump was elected president, Collins revealed he’s not a supporter and would not be voting for him. According to Billboard, he called Trump “a big accident waiting to happen.”
“I’ve got a house full of anti-Trumpers,” the singer continued. “Even my Matthew, at 11, he hates Trump. I really hate Trump’s surrogates; I just wish that some time one of the guys would stand up on CNN and say, ‘Yep, sorry, he f**ked up when he said that. He should never have said that.’ But none of them do. They just back him up. He makes tremendous gaffes and nobody owns up to them.” Lily Collins’ dad also added, “Ooh, it makes me mad.”
Four years later, it would be interesting to hear Collin’s thoughts about Trump using “In the Air Tonight” at his Des Moines rally. What we do know is that Consequence of Sound reports the musician’s attorneys sent Trump’s presidential campaign a cease-and-desist order following the unauthorized use of the song on Oct. 14, 2020. And it turns out that Collins isn’t be the first artist to condemn Trump and take legal action for using one of their songs. Read on to see which famous artists and rock bands have told Trump to stop using their music at his rallies.
Rihanna called out Donald Trump for using 'Don't Stop the Music'
Many famous musicians have spoken out against Donald Trump using their music for his rallies, including artists like Neil Young, Brendon Urie, and Pharrell Williams. Some of them have even gone as far as to threaten legal action, according to Forbes. And then there’s Rihanna who, in November 2018, was quick to call out Trump after he used her track “Don’t Stop The Music” at one of his events.
First, Rihanna tweeted her disapproval by responding to a Washington Post report. “Me nor my people would ever be at or around one of those tragic rallies,” she wrote, thanking the reporter for bringing it to her attention. The singer’s lawyers then sent Trump a cease-and-desist, declaring that Rihanna “has not provided her consent to Mr. Trump to use her music. Such use is therefore improper.” They also added that his decision to use the dong “creates a false impression that Ms. Fenty is affiliated with, connected to or otherwise associated with Trump.” Clearly, that’s not what Rihanna — or the next iconic act — wanted.
The Rolling Stones also threatened to sue Donald Trump
In June 2020, The Rolling Stones also denounced Donald Trump’s use of their music. The band released a statement, per Rolling Stone, revealing that they planned to stop Trump from playing their songs at his rallies — with the help of music rights company BMI — after he played their classic 1968 hit “You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ at his rally in Tulsa, Okla.
“Despite cease & desist directives to Donald Trump in the past, The Rolling Stones are taking further steps to exclude him using their songs at any of his future political campaigning,” a spokesman for the band said (via CNN). The rep added that the BMI had “notified the Trump campaign on behalf of the Stones that the unauthorized use of their songs will constitute a breach of its licensing agreement.” They also noted that “[i]f Donald Trump disregards the exclusion and persists then he would face a lawsuit for breaking the embargo and playing music that has not been licensed.”
Perhaps Trump would be better off playing songs from musicians who actually support him.
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