Sinéad O’Connor estate demands Donald Trump stop using late artist’s song at campaign rallies

Donald Trump ordered to stop using Sinéad O’Connor’s hit song. Pictured here: O'Connor performs at the Prime Minister Independence Gala in Kingston, Jamaica - 2005.
Donald Trump ordered to stop using Sinéad O’Connor’s hit song. Pictured here: O'Connor performs at the Prime Minister Independence Gala in Kingston, Jamaica - 2005. Copyright AP Photo/Collin Reid
By David Mouriquand
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Nothing Compares 2 Trump When It Comes To Contaminating Great Songs.

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What do Adele, Bruce Springsteen, Linkin Park, Johnny Marr, Neil Young, R.E.M., The Rolling Stones and The White Stripes all have in common?

No, they weren't all back-up acts at Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s son’s jaw-droppingly opulent prenuptials in case Rihanna didn't show up. 

They all have the significantly viler distinction of having to ask Donald Trump to stop using their songs at political rallies.

This sort of thing isn’t new. Whenever election season comes a-knockin’, you can bet that a politician will attempt to walk out onto stage to a tune they consider rousing, in a bid to liven up their image and campaign trail. This is frequently done without the artist’s approval – leading musicians to ban them from doing so.

Trump, who is running for a second term and about to secure the Republican nomination - despite having been impeached twice and indicted in several states on felony counts including the mishandling classified documents, conspiracy and racketeering (seriously, how is this allowed to happen??) - is an expert in this field.

Apparently unable to mine Kid Rock's back catalogue forever, he’s been called to task over his use of artists’ tracks more than once.

"Do not use our music or my voice for your moronic charade of a campaign," R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe brilliantly and succinctly ordered.

In 2020, Neil Young sued Trump's re-election campaign for using of ‘Rockin' in the Free World’ for what he described as an "un-American campaign of ignorance and hate".

Now comes the latest case, which concerns the estate of the Sinéad O'Connor, which has asked Trump to stop using her hit 1990 song ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ at his political rallies.

The singer died last July aged 56 of natural causes, and her estate said it was "no exaggeration to say that Sinéad would have been disgusted, hurt, and insulted to have her work misrepresented in this way by someone who she herself referred to as a 'biblical devil'."

The joint statement from O'Connor's estate and her longtime label Chrysalis Records went on to say: "Throughout her life, it is well known that Sinéad O'Connor lived by a fierce moral code defined by honesty, kindness, fairness, and decency towards her fellow human beings. It was with outrage therefore that we learned that Donald Trump has been using her iconic performance of Nothing Compares 2 U at his political rallies.”

It concluded: "As the guardians of her legacy, we demand that Donald Trump, and his associates desist from using her music immediately."

Frustratingly, many US politicians have some legal leeway when it comes to this practice, leading recording artists to despair. 

Indeed, US politicians don't always need permission from artists, as campaigns can buy licensing packages from music rights organisations, which gives them legal access to millions of songs for political rallies.

Artists do, however, have the right to remove their music from that list. And for the sake of O'Connor’s memory, we hope that’s now the case.

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