Trump makes unauthorized use of ‘Hallelujah’ at the Republican convention

Los Angeles, US, Aug 28 (efe-epa).- Representatives of singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, who died in 2016, said that United States President Donald Trump used the song “Hallelujah” during his speech at the Republican Convention despite being denied permission.

In a statement issued on Friday, the legal representative of Cohen’s estate said that it “specifically denied” a request by the organizing committee of the event to use the song and is now considering legal action.

“We are surprised and dismayed that the RNC (Republican National Committee) would proceed knowing that the Cohen Estate had specifically declined the RNC’s use request, and their rather brazen attempt to politicize and exploit in such an egregious manner “Hallelujah,” one of the most important songs in the Cohen song catalogue,” attorney Michelle L. Rice said.

“We are exploring our legal options,” she added.

“Had the RNC requested another song, ‘You Want it Darker’, for which Leonard won a posthumous Grammy in 2017, we might have considered approval of that song,” she noted ironically.

The popular song was played twice during a fireworks display following Trump’s speech, one an operatic version and another, a recording by Tori Kelly, who said on social media that “neither myself nor my team received a request.”

Cohen’s music publishers Sony/ATV Music Publishing also issued a statement.

“On the eve of the finale of the convention, representatives from the Republican National Committee contacted us regarding obtaining permission for a live performance of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’. We declined their request,” they said.

Music lovers on social media highlighted the fact that Trump used a song sung by a Canadian after his patriotic speech and that too a song that is often interpreted as a break-up song.

They also pointed out that Cohen passed away a day before Trump won the 2016 elections.

This is not the first controversy over Trump’s unauthorized use of songs in his rallies.

The Rolling Stones and Neil Young have, on earlier occasions, also criticized the use of their songs and threatened to take legal action.

Last month, artists and bands including R.E.M., Lorde, Sia, Linkin Park, Green Day, Blondie and Pearl Jam, among others, demanded that the two major political parties of the country put an end to the use of popular songs for political purposes without authorization. EFE-EPA


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