I Won’t Back Down: Tom Petty’s family hit Trump with cease and desist

The family of late singer Tom Petty has issued Donald Trump with a cease and desist notice after he played one of his songs at a rally.

The family said the president was not authorised to use the singer’s music, and that Petty “would never want a song of his used for a campaign of hate”.

The 1989 rock song I Won’t Back Down was reportedly played at President Trump’s comeback rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday.

Trump addresses Tulsa rally
Image:Trump speaking at the Tulsa rally, his first since March

Criticising Mr Trump’s re-election campaign, the family said he “leaves too many Americans and common sense behind”.

The one-page statement went on: “Both the late Tom Petty and his family firmly stand against racism and discrimination of any kind.

“Tom Petty would never want a song of his used for a campaign of hate. He liked to bring people together.”

It was shared on the singer’s official Twitter page, and signed Adria, Annakim, Dana and Jane Petty.

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Adria and Annakim are Petty’s daughters from his first marriage to Jane Benyo, and Dana York was his second wife.

Petty died in 2017 from an accidental overdose, just days after completing a 40th anniversary tour.

Tom Petty of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers performs during their 40th Anniversary Tour at Bridgestone Arena on April 25, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee
Image:Petty performing with the Heartbreakers six months before his death

The statement added that the while the song was written “for the underdog, for the common man and for everyone…. the Petty family doesn’t stand for this”.

It said that everyone is free to vote and think as they like, but added: “We believe in America and we believe in democracy. But Donald Trump is not representing the noble ideals of either.”

The Petty estate is not the first to hit out at the Trump administration for using music without permission.

Prince, Rihanna,The Rolling Stones, Pharrell Williams, Aerosmith and Neil Young are among a long list of stars who have previously criticised the president for using their tracks.

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The Tulsa rally was the president’s first since March due to the coronavirus lockdown, however, it received a lower-than-expected turnout.

Only around 10,000 people turned up at the 19,000-seat BOK Center arena.

Teenage TikTok users and K-pop (Korean pop music) fans have since claimed they are responsible for potentially hundreds of thousands of no-shows after registering for tickets for days, with no intention of turning up.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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