It should come as no surprise to anyone that Neil Young did not authorize billionaire jagoff Donald Trump to use “Keep On Rockin’ In The Free World,“ a scathing criticism of a regime that doesn’t give a damn about the poor, in Trump’s presidential candidacy announcement. In a official statement from Young’s management team, Young states that while he is a Canadian citizen, he is a supporter of Bernie Sanders.
Republican and conservative politicians have a long history of being told by their favorite musicans to stop using their music in their political campagins. Musicians are known for their sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, all the things the right wing vilifies but practice behind closed doors (alongside Tinder, Grindr, BDSM, and enjoying The Colbert Report for all the wrong reasons.) Here are a few cases of art and politics not jibing, courtesy of The Daily Kos:
George W. Bush induced the ire of John Hall of the band Orleans—making him the only person to induce the ire of anyone from the band Orleans—for use of his ’70s AM pop staple, “Still The One.” Hall, who moved from music to politics by becoming a Democratic congressman in 2006, however, gladly allowed Burger King to use the same tune in a 1997 commercial advertising the 99-cent Whopper.
Tom Petty’s lawyers got involved when George W. Bush attempted to co-opt “I Won’t Back Down” off of his Full Moon Fever album, and again when Michelle Bachman attempted to use “American Girl” during her presidential campaign. (Petty was more than happy to let Hillary Clinton take the latter tune on the road, however.)
One of the most famous examples was the Gipper wanting to use The Boss’s “Born In The U.S.A.” in his 1984 Presidential campaign due to the song’s patriotic chorus. Springsteen denied Reagan use of the song, which apparently Reagan rocked out to on his Walkman, but didn’t listen to the lyrics. His heart and his best intentions must have told him that the song is patriotic, even as the facts and evidence told him that it’s not.
That being said, Neil Young has never commited to a total right wing or left wing view. In an interview with MTV in 1990, Young pointed out that he thought Reagan had some good ideas. On the subject of George Bush, Sr., Young said, “Every day is different. Sometimes I like George, sometimes I don’t like George Bush.”
It can be assumed that, like most people, Neil Young just thinks Donald Trump is an idiot.