Neil Young: "Had I Been Asked to Allow My Music to Be Used for a Candidate, I Would Have Said No"

by Guitar World Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2015 at 4:19pm

This past Tuesday, Donald Trump announced that he's running for president.

At the event, which took place at Trump Tower, Trump played Neil Young's 1989 song "Rockin' in the Free World" nice and loud—as you can hear in the video below—over the venue's public-address system.

This is something Young was none too pleased about.

A brief statement from Young's longtime management company, Lookout, read, "Donald Trump was not authorized to use 'Rockin' in the Free World' in his presidential candidacy announcement. Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for President of the United States of America."

Now Young has added a much longer statement addressing the issue, and you can read it below.

"My song 'Rockin' in the Free World' was used in an announcement for a U.S. presidential candidate without my permission. A picture of me with this candidate was also circulated in conjunction with this announcement, but It was a photograph taken during a meeting when I was trying to raise funds for Pono, my online high-resolution music service.

Music is a universal language. So I am glad that so many people with varying beliefs get enjoyment from my music, even if they don't share my beliefs. But had I been asked to allow my music to be used for a candidate—I would have said no.

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 favor corporate interests over the peoples.

The Citizens United Supreme Court ruling is proof of this corruption, as well as the proposed trade deals, which would further compromise our rights.

These Corporations were originally created to serve us but if we don't appropriately prioritize they will destroy us. Corporations don't have children. They don't have feelings or soul. They don't depend on uncontaminated water, clean air or healthy food to survive. They are beholden to one thing—the bottom line.

I choose to speak Truth to this Economic Power. When I speak out on corporations hurting the common man or the environment or other species, I expect a well-financed disinformation campaign to be aimed my way.

Such is the case with the reaction to my new album The Monsanto Years, which covers many of these issues. I support those bringing these issues to light and those who fight for their rights like Freedom of Choice. But Freedom of Choice is meaningless without knowledge. That's why it's crucial we all get engaged and get informed.

That's why GMO labeling matters. Mothers need to know what they are feeding their children. They need freedom to make educated choices at the market. When the people have voted for labeling, as they have in Vermont, they need our support when they are fighting these corporate interests trying to reverse the laws they have voted for and passed in the democratic process.

I do not trust self-serving misinformation coming from corporations and their media trolls. I do not trust politicians who are taking millions from those corporations either. I trust people. So I make my music for people not for candidates.

Keep on Rockin' in the Free World. — Neil Young"


Add a Comment
0 Comments

Similar Guitar News

Neil Young to Open Rebel Content Summer Tour with Solo Acoustic Set (6/25/2015)
Neil Young has announced that he will open his upcoming Rebel Content Summer Tour with a solo acoustic set. He will then be joined by the band Promise of the Real for a full electric show. Both sets will feature new songs and old favorites. T...
Neil Young Premieres "A Rock Star Bucks a Coffee Shop" Music Video (6/1/2015)
Neil Young has released the music video for "A Rock Star Bucks a Coffee Shop," the first single from his new album, The Monsanto Years. The video for the song, which was originally titled "Rock Starbucks," takes aim at the ubiquitous coffee chai...
Neil Young Not Happy That Donald Trump Used "Rockin' in the Free World" When Announcing Presidential Bid (6/17/2015)
Donald Trump announced that he's running for president yesterday, July 16. At the event, which took place at Trump Tower, Trump played Neil Young's 1989 song "Rockin' in the Free World" nice and loud—as you can hear in the video below—over the p...
Dave Grohl Performs Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl" at July 4 Party — Video (7/7/2015)
Prior to Foo Fighters' 20th-anniversary show, which took place July 4 in Washington, D.C., Dave Grohl organized a Rally & Ride motorcycle event, which took place earlier that day at DC Brau Brewing. The 9:30 a.m. party featured breakfast, co...
'Dirt Road’s End': Sugarcane Jane's Anthony Crawford Talks New Album, Touring with Neil Young and More (6/19/2015)
Sugarcane Jane have amassed an extremely loyal following by performing what they like to call, “organic music at its finest." Anthony Crawford and his wife, Savana Lee, are both virtuosos. Crawford is a songwriter who plays guitar and mandolin ...
Nils Lofgren talks beloved gear, Neil Young and his first guitar (12/15/2014)
Read more about Nils Lofgren talks beloved gear, Neil Young and his first guitar at MusicRadar.com The A-list sideman has scored hits with everyone from Neil Young to Bruce Springsteen. But did Nils Lofgren get nil in the 10 questions we ask eve...
Graham Nash on 'CSNY 1974' and Watching Stephen Stills and Neil Young Battle (8/11/2014)
Between July 9 and September 14, 1974, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash and Neil Young played 31 shows on a tour that took them through the U.S. and up into Canada, touching down for a grand finale at London’s Wembley Stadium. Over the...
Nils Lofgren talks guitars, Springsteen, Neil Young and box set Face The Music (4/16/2014)
Read more about Nils Lofgren talks guitars, Springsteen, Neil Young and box set Face The Music at MusicRadar.com
First Listen: Neil Young’s ‘Live At The Cellar Door,’ Releasing December 10th (12/6/2013)
As one of the most chameleonic and prolific figures in rock’s great history, few artists have as deep a treasure trove of unreleased recordings as Neil Young. As part of his wonderfully illuminating “Performance Archive” series, Young is releasi...
Neil Young to Release 'Live at the Cellar Door' on Dec 10 on Reprise Records (10/21/2013)
Neil Young will release Live At The Cellar Door, the latest in his Archives Performance Series, on December 10th on Reprise Records. The album collects recordings made during Young's intimate six-show solo stand at The Cellar Door in Washington ...
Neil Young Readies New Live Album (10/21/2013)
Neil Young will release Live At the Cellar Door, the latest in his Archives Performance Series, on November 26, on Reprise Records. The album collects recordings made during Young's intimate six-show solo stand at the Cellar Door in Washington, ...
Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time Readers Poll: Round 2 — "One" (Kirk Hammett) Vs. "Cortez the Killer" (Neil Young) (7/26/2013)
A few years ago, the editors of Guitar World magazine compiled what we feel is the ultimate guide to the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time. The list, which has been quoted by countless artists, websites and publications around the world, sta...
Crazy Horse's Billy Talbot talks Neil Young, solo CD On The Road To Spearfish (7/11/2013)
Read more about Crazy Horse's Billy Talbot talks Neil Young, solo CD On The Road To Spearfish at MusicRadar.com Over a breakfast of oatmeal and berries in New York City's tony Carlyle Hotel, Crazy Horse bassist Billy Talbot explains how Neil You...
Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time Readers Poll: Round 1 — "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (Kurt Cobain) Vs. "Cortez the Killer" (Neil Young) (7/2/2013)
A few years ago, the editors of Guitar World magazine compiled what we feel is the ultimate guide to the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time. The list, which has been quoted by countless artists, websites and publications around the world, sta...
Neil Young: Learn 'The Story Behind Every Song, 1966-1992' (3/25/2013)
Iconoclast, innovator and influence on generations of musicians, Neil Young has recorded more than 40 albums in a 35-plus-year career. In Neil Young: The Story Behind Every Song, 1966-1992, Nigel Williamson explores Young's repertoire, from the...