Neil Young has repeatedly expressed his grievance against Donald Trump and his team for using the song, “Rockin’ in the Free World” at rallies across the United States. Young’s beef with Trump’s use of his music stems all the way back to 2015, when “Rockin’ in the Free World” was used liberally throughout his campaign.
Young spoke out then as well, opposing the then-candidate’s use of the song despite Young himself supporting Bernie Sanders. At that time, the Trump campaign responded, “We will respect [Young’s] wish and not use it because it’s the right thing to do.”
Young enjoyed performing this song with passionate musicians, Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam. Back in 1992, Young performed “Rockin’ in the Free World” with Pearl Jam and blew the audience away.
In response to the Trump campaign response, Young posted a statement to his website, saying, “DT does not have my permission to use the song “Rockin’ in the Free World” at his appearances. Legally, he has the right to, however, it goes against my wishes. I made this perfectly clear after he played it in a media moment to announce his candidacy. I asked him then, in a widely shared public letter to cease and desist.
However, he chose not to listen to my request, just as he chooses not to listen to the many American voices who ask him to stop his constant lies, to stop his petty, nasty name calling and bullying, to stop pushing his dangerous, vilifying and hateful rhetoric.” Of Trump, Young made clear that “this man does not represent the character of the people in the U.S.A. that I have come to know and love.”
Young is one of the founders of Farm Aid an annual concert which was held this year on September 22nd at the Xfinity Center in Hartford, Connecticut. The concert was initially organized by Young, John Mellencamp, and Willie Nelson in 1985, as a way to raise money to help out struggling American farmers who were in danger of going under due to mortgage debt.