Representatives from the estate of Leonard Cohen are “surprised and dismayed” after they “specifically declined” Republican Party officials’ request to use his song Hallelujah at their National Convention.
Two different cover versions of Cohen’s iconic song were played twice during the broadcast on Thursday, during which President Donald Trump accepted the party’s nomination for November’s election, but legal reps for the estate has issued a statement insisting the track was used against their wishes.
“We are surprised and dismayed that the RNC would proceed knowing that the Cohen Estate had specifically declined the RNC’s use request, and their rather brazen attempt to politicise and exploit in such an egregious manner Hallelujah,” a statement to Reuters read.
Calling the number “one of the most important songs in the Cohen song catalogue, estate lawyers insist they are “exploring our legal options.”
Brian J. Monaco, Sony/ATV Music Publishing’s Global Chief Marketing Officer, also confirmed the denial on Friday, adding: “On the eve of the finale of the convention, representatives from the Republican National Committee contacted us regarding obtaining permission for a live performance of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. We declined their request.”
He quipped: “Had the RNC requested another song, You Want it Darker, for which Leonard won a posthumous Grammy in 2017, we might have considered approval of that song.”
Trump has come under fire from a number of artists for playing their music on his campaign trail, with R.E.M., Pharrell Williams, Rihanna, Guns N’ Roses, Neil Young and Tom Petty’s estate all threatened legal action against the U.S. leader.
Cohen passed away on 7 November 2016 – the day before Trump was first elected as President.
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