Tom Petty’s family demands Trump stop using Petty’s music for the best reasons

Tom Petty's family said back down, Trump.
Tom Petty’s family said back down, Trump.

Image: Kirk West/Getty Images

By Jess Joho

The punches from the Trump Tulsa rally just keep coming in. This time, it’s from the family of the late Tom Petty demanding that the president back down from using Petty’s song “I Won’t Back Down.”

Those at the rally would’ve heard the song’s intended message of defiance playing to a less than packed arena. The Tom Petty estate responded with a cease and desist letter followed by a statement on Twitter signed by Petty’s daughters and widows Adria, Annakim, Dana, and Jane. 

The reason they give for why he has no right to play Petty’s music is pitch-perfect, too.

“Trump was in no way authorized to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind,” it reads. “Both the late Tom Petty and his family firmly stand against racism and discrimination of any kind. Tom Petty would never want a song of his used for a campaign of hate. He liked to bring people together.”

This isn’t even the first time Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” has been a matter of legal dispute for a U.S. Republican president. When he was still alive during the 2000 presidential race, Petty himself demanded George W. Bush stop using the same song for his campaign events with a cease and desist.

The estate’s statement to the Trump campaign made it clear that his use of the song went against all of Petty’s original intentions for it.

“Tom wrote this song for the underdog, for the common man and for EVERYONE,” it says. “We believe in America and we believe in democracy. But Donald Trump is not representing the noble ideals of either. We would hate for fans that are marginalized by this administration to think we were complicit in this usage.”

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