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A silhouette of Donald Trump as he comes out on stage at the Republican convention.
Image: Reuters/M. Segar

Queen rejects Trump's use of anthem

July 20, 2016

Queen has become the latest in a line of rock bands to complain about the use of their songs by politicians. Written by the late, lead singer Freddie Mercury, it is one of Queen's most recognisable anthems.


Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appeared on stage to the sound of Queen's song during the first day of the Republican National Convention.

Sony/ATV Music Publishing which controls Queen’s copyright, issued a statement on Tuesday saying the rock band had repeatedly asked Trump not to use the song which was released by Queen in 1977.

The Sony statement pointed out: "Queen does not want its music associated with any mainstream or political debate in any country. Nor does Queen want 'We are the Champions" to be used as an endorsement of Mr. Trump and the political views of the Republican Party," the statement continued. "We trust, hope and expect that Mr. Trump and his campaign will respect these wishes moving forward."

"Sony/ATV Music Publishing has never been asked by Mr. Trump, the Trump campaign or the Trump Organization for permission to use 'We are the Champions' by Queen. On behalf of the band, we are frustrated by the repeated unauthorized use of the song after a previous request to desist, which has obviously been ignored by Mr. Trump and his campaign," the statement read.

But if Trump and the Republican National Committee (RNC) paid to license the use of the song, there was no need to obtain Queen’s permission. Sean Spicer, communications director for the RNC quickly responded on Twitter indicating the party had paid to license the use of song in the arena:

A portrait phot of Queen in 1977. From left to right are: Brian May, Roger Taylor, Freddie Mercury und John Deacon.
Queen in 1977 - when they released 'We Are the Champions'Image: picture alliance/dpa

On Tuesday there was a generic tweet from the band, which read, "An unauthorized use at the Republican Convention against our wishes."

Band members Brian May and Adam Lambert also took to twitter to voice their displeasure.

Trump gestures as stands with his wife after she concluded her remarks at the Republican National Convention.
Trump with his wife Melania after her convention speechImage: Reuters/M. Segar

We Are the Champions

Our music embodies our own dreams and beliefs, but it is for all who care to listen and enjoy," May wrote on his website at the time.

Lambert, the US singer who has been touring with Queen, was more critical. He called it hypocritical for the Republican Party to use a song written by Mercury, one of the most prominent musicians to die from complications of AIDS.

"If your political party spends decades treating gay people as second-class citizens, guess what: You don't get to use Freddie Mercury's music at your convention," Lambert, who is openly gay, wrote on Twitter.

The Rolling Stones, REM and Neil Young are some of the other rock stars who have complained about Trump using their songs.

bik/jm (AP, AFP, dpa)

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