Neil Young objected to the use of his music in the prelude to President Donald Trump’s event at the base of Mount Rushmore, siding with Lakota Sioux who have long claimed the land as their own in violation of an 1868 treaty with the U.S. government.
“This is NOT ok with me…” said a tweet from Neil Young Archives, linked to footage from the Trump event in which “Rockin In The Free World” was playing.
Young then tweeted, “I stand in solidarity with the Lakota Sioux & this is NOT ok with me.” It linked to a video showing Young’s song “Like a Hurricane” playing before Trump took the stage. Young’s “Cowgirl in the Sand” was heard later at the rally, but the musician did not comment on its use.
Ironically, Young, 74, criticized Trump‘s leadership of the U.S. in a lyrical rewrite of his 2006 track “Lookin’ for a Leader” during one of his “front porch performances” released just two days before the Rushmore event. Young also expressed support 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
“Rockin’ In the Free World” was also played after Trump finished his speech at Mount Rushmore, an address that attacked what he called “far left facism” and “cancel culture.”
In 2015, Young objected to the Trump campaign’s use of “Rockin In the Free World” when the politician announced his presidential campaign. At the time, a Trump campaign spokeswoman said, “Through a license agreement with ASCAP, Mr. Trump’s campaign paid for and obtained the legal right to use Neil Young’s recording of ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ at today’s event. Nevertheless, we won’t be using it again — there are plenty of songs to choose from. Despite Neil’s differing political views, Mr. Trump likes Neil very much.”
Earlier this week, Deadline broke the news that performing-rights group ASCAP says that Trump won’t be allowed to use any of the Rolling Stones’ songs in its repertory – a playlist that includes “Start Me Up,” “Emotional Rescue,” “Waiting on a Friend” and “Angie.” BMI also put Trump on notice and threatened to sue if he ever again uses any of The Rolling Stones’ songs licensed by the giant performing rights organization.
Before Trump arrived on Friday, demonstrators blocked a road that led into the national monument, before authorities removed them. According to the Associated Press, police used pepper spray on several protesters. The demonstrators included Native Americans who long have claimed the land in the Black Hills. Four decades ago, the Supreme Court ruled that the lands had been taken illegally in violation of an 1868 treaty between the United States government and the Sioux Nation.
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