Donald Trump has used a number of recognizable classic rock songs during his campaign by Queen, the Rolling Stones and R.E.M. On Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, a team of high-profile musicians – Usher, Sheryl Crow, Heart, Michael Bolton, John Mellencamp, Cyndi Lauper, Josh Groban and Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds – united to deliver a clear message to politicians: stop using our songs without permission.
“If artists want to lend their music to politicians, that’s fine,” John Oliver says in the clip. “But it is not OK for politicians to just take their songs. This happens every single election, and it is time for musicians to come together and take a stand.”
“It’s that time of year: campaign season’s here,” the supergroup sings on the ballad – which they warn is also not available for campaign use. “You wave and point, make your speeches while balloons fall everywhere/ But we notice something’s wrong, and it’s gone on way too long/ So we’re asking you right now: stop using our songs.”
“That’s licensing. You gotta call my publisher, OK?” Usher declares. Groban belts, “If I wanted to sing and not get paid, I’d be on Spotify.”
From Springsteen vs. Reagan to Neil Young vs. the Donald, here’s a look back at the musicians who have told politicians to stop using their songs during their campaigns. Watch here.