Neil Young: I'm OK With Donald Trump Using 'Rockin' in the Free World' - Rolling Stone
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Neil Young: I’m OK With Donald Trump Using ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’

“Once the music goes out, everybody can use it for anything,” rocker says

Neil Young; Donald Trump; Rockin' in the Free WorldNeil Young; Donald Trump; Rockin' in the Free World

Neil Young admitted in an interview that he might have allowed Donald Trump to use "Rockin' in the Free World" had the mogul asked permission first.

Gus Stewart/Redferns/Getty

Donald Trump‘s presidential campaign got off to a rocky start last June when – after playing Neil Young‘s “Rockin’ in the Free World” after the rally announcing his presidential bid – the rocker immediately asked the mogul to stop using the Freedom track on the campaign trail. The issue sparked a public argument between Young and Trump, as Young stated that Trump was “not authorized” to use the track, while a spokesperson for the GOP candidate insisted they had acquired the necessary publishing rights.

However, in a new interview with Reuters, Young said he doesn’t harbor any resentment towards Trump for using the Freedom track; in fact, he might have okayed the mogul’s usage if Trump had just asked permission first.

“The fact that I said I was for Bernie Sanders and then [Trump] didn’t ask me to use ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ doesn’t mean that he can’t use it,” Young said. “He actually got a license to use it. I mean, he said he did and I believe him. So I got nothing against him. You know, once the music goes out, everybody can use it for anything. But if the artist who made it is saying you never spoke to them, if that means something to you, you probably will stop playing it. And it meant something to Donald and he stopped.”

Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told Rolling Stone in June 2015 after Young protested the song’s usage on the campaign trail, “We won’t be using it again. There are plenty of other songs to choose from, despite the fact that Mr. Trump is a big fan and likes Neil very much. We will respect his wish and not use it because it’s the right thing to do.”

After the “Rockin’ in the Free World” incident, Young’s rep issued a statement saying, “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.” Eleven months later, Young is still supporting the Vermont senator.

“He’s the only one talking about the issues, about issues that matter to me, the issues on my mind,” Young told Reuters. “Problems of corporate control of democracy and everything slipping away and not being able to have six major companies owning all the media in the United States.”

Although Young supports Sanders, come November, he won’t be able to vote for the Vermont senator, or any other candidate for that matter: The rocker maintains his Canadian citizenship, making him ineligible to vote in the presidential election. When asked if he’d consider U.S. citizenship, Young quipped, “Oh, that would be a big ruse. I’m a Canadian. There’s nothing I can do about that.”

“I vote in my own way, by making a lot of noise. If you don’t want to listen to me, fine. If you don’t want to vote like I would, don’t,” Young said. “But I still have a voice.”

Find out five things you didn’t know about Neil Young.

In This Article: Donald Trump, Neil Young, Politics


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