- Family members of the late Tom Petty denounced Trump’s campaign playing “I Won’t Back Down” at the Tulsa, Oklahoma, rally on Saturday.
- “Trump was in no way authorised to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind,” Petty’s family wrote in a message published on Saturday.
- Twenty years ago, Petty issued a similar notice to George W. Bush after the same song was used during his political campaign.
- Petty allowed Barack Obama to walk out to “I Won’t Back Down” at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
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The family of the late Tom Petty has denounced the apparent use of the rockstar’s iconic song “I Won’t Back Down” at President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday.
In a tweet on Saturday night, family members of Tom Petty – his daughters Adria and Annakim, widow Dana, and ex-wife Jane Petty –wrote that they “issued an official cease and desist notice to the Trump campaign.”
— Tom Petty (@tompetty) June 21, 2020
A cease-and-desist notice is “a cautionary letter sent to an alleged wrongdoer”– in other words, it provides a warning and demands that the action be stopped or legal action will taken.
“Trump was in no way authorised to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind,” wrote Tom Petty’s family members.
“Both the late Tom Petty and his family firmly stand against racism and discrimination of any kind. Tom Petty would never want a song of his used for a campaign of hate. He liked to bring people together,” read the family’s Twitter message.
The family continued: “Tom wrote this song for the underdog, for the common man and for EVERYONE. We want to make it clear that we believe everyone is free to vote as they like, think as they like, but the Petty family doesn’t stand for this. 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 marginalised by this administration to think we were complicit in this usage.”
In the past, Petty issued similar complaints about the use of his songs – namely ‘I Won’t Back Down’ – at GOP political events
Petty’s 1989 hit “I Won’t Back Down” has become a popular choice for political rallies, but the musician wasn’t always on board with it being used.
In 2000, Petty threatened to sue George W. Bush for using “I Won’t Back Down” on his campaign trail, according to Time. Petty’s notice to the Bush campaign said that the use of his song implied that he was endorsing Bush – while the singer-songwriter didn’t give an endorsement.
Petty also issued a cease-and-desist order in 2012 when Republican presidential nominee hopeful Michele Bachmann used “American Girl” at a campaign event, according to Rolling Stone.
At the 2012 Democratic National Convention, when Barack Obama entered the stage to “I Won’t Back Down,” Petty told Rolling Stone that he was OK with the song usage.
“I got chills,” Petty said in 2012. “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.”
That being said, a number of other musicians have been vocal about not wanting President Trump or other American politicians to use their songs at related events – including Rihanna and Elton John.
The family of Tom Petty did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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