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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 14 November 2018

Pharrell Williams bans Donald Trump from using his music

Singer's lawyers issue notice following use of 'Happy' at post-synagogue shooting rally

Pharrell Williams joins a long list of musicians who have barred Trump from playing their songs in public. Delores Johnson / The National
Pharrell Williams joins a long list of musicians who have barred Trump from playing their songs in public. Delores Johnson / The National

Pharrell Williams has issued a legal notice banning Donald Trump from using his music at his rallies. The move came after the US president played Williams’ upbeat hit Happy at a rally in Indiana on the evening of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.

“Pharrell has not, and will not, grant you permission to publicly perform or otherwise broadcast or disseminate any of his music,” Willams’ lawyer Howard King wrote in a letter sent to the president.

“On the day of the mass murder of 11 human beings at the hands of a deranged ‘nationalist’, you played his song Happy to a crowd at a political event in Indiana,” the letter goes on. “There was nothing ‘happy’ about the tragedy inflicted upon our country on Saturday and no permission was granted for your use of this song for this purpose.”

Williams’ cease and desist order is the second in as many months for the president. In August, a lawyer for Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler wrote Trump a similar notice after he used the song Livin’ on the Edge at an event in West Virginia. That letter said: “Mr Trump is creating the false impression that our client has given his consent for the use of his music, and even that he endorses the presidency of Mr Trump. Mr Trump does not have any right to use the name, image, voice or likeness of our client, without his express written permission.”

That was itself the second time Tyler has taken legal action against Trump. In 2015, he issued a similar notice following the use of Dream On at an election rally. On that occasion, Trumps response was typically Trumpian – he claimed on Twitter that he had stopped using the song voluntarily as he had a “better one to take its place” and accused Tyler of using him for publicity.

Other musicians who have forbidden Trump to use their music include Adele, Twisted Sister, Neil Young, Elton John, Luciano Pavarotti, the Rolling Stones, Queen, REM, and George Harrison.

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