Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump made his entrance at the Republican National Convention Monday night to the strains of Queen’s classic rock staple “We Are the Champions.” The musical choice made for a dramatic moment, but has deeply upset surviving members of the band.
Queen blanketed their social media platforms early Tuesday morning with a terse disclaimer: “An unauthorised use at the Republican Convention against our wishes – Queen.”
Their label, Sony/ATV Music, confirmed and clarified the dispute in a statement to PEOPLE. “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.”
They continue: “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. We trust, hope and expect that Mr. Trump and his campaign will respect these wishes moving forward.”
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As the statement suggests, this is not the first time Trump has butted heads with the band. In June, Queen guitarist Brian May posted a strongly worded message on his website denouncing Trump’s use of the song in television spots.
“I’ve had an avalanche of complaints some of which you can see in our ‘Letters’ page about Donald Trump using our ‘We Are the Champions’ track as his ‘theme’ song on USA TV,” May wrote on his site. “This is not an official Queen statement, but I can confirm that permission to use the track was neither sought nor given. We are taking advice on what steps we can take to ensure this use does not continue. Regardless of our views on Mr. Trump’s platform, it has always been against our policy to allow Queen music to be used as a political campaigning tool.”
May also responded to a fan message on his website criticizing Trump’s use of the Queen classic. “We certainly have not approved this use of [’We Are the Champions,’] the musician responded. “I will make sure we take what steps we can to dissociate ourselves from Donald Trump’s unsavoury campaign.”
Trump has come under fire on several other occasions for appropriating songs without permission. After using R.E.M’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” at a rally, bassist Mike Mills shared a vitriolic series of messages on Twitter, attributed to lead singer Michael Stipe. “Go f– yourselves, the lot of you – you sad, attention-grabbing, power-hungry little men. Do not use our music or my voice for your moronic charade of a campaign.”
He also drew the ire of Adele, the Rolling Stones, Twisted Sister and Neil Young – the latter of whom yelled “F– Donald Trump!” at a recent concert.