RNC Played Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' Despite Being Denied


The unauthorized use of "Hallelujah" is just the latest dustup between the Trump campaign and almost every artist the president has played music by on the campaign trail; the Tom Petty estate, the Rolling Stones and Neil Young are just some of those who have decried - and threatened legal action against - Trump for his rally soundtracks.

In a statement, Mr. Cohen's legal representative said the Republican National Committee had requested permission to play the song, which the estate rejected. He died in 2016 at the age of 82, after a late career revival. Christopher Macchio subsequently sang an operatic version as well.

Tiffany Trump, President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and Barron Trump stand on stage on the South Lawn of the White House on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention, last Thursday in Washington.

A statement said they were "surprised and dismayed" the song had been used, saying it had specifically denied the RNC's request to do so.

Michelle Rice, a lawyer for Cohen's estate, says the Republican party made a "rather brazen attempt to politicize and exploit" the Montreal poet laureate's iconic song after being explicitly told they didn't have the blessing of the rights holders.

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Cohen's publishing company Sony/ATV Music Publishing also confirmed they had been approached by representatives of the Republican National Committee and declined their request to use Hallelujah.

"We are exploring our legal options", Ms. Rice added.

After that denial, the RNC also reached out to Sony/ATV Music Publishing to play the song.

The song became a cult hit when it was covered by musician Jeff Buckley in 1994, singing an arrangement by John Cale, and has become a modern standard since, an a staple in everything from reality shows to high school choir concerts. The family of the Canadian signer ripped Trump over the weekend for using the song Hallelujah at the RNC. "Seeing messages about my model of 'Hallelujah, '" the singer tweeted. "We declined their request".

Queen, The Rolling Stones, Neil Young and the estate of Tom Petty have all previously objected to their music being used by the President.

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