Johnny Cash's Record Label Sends Cease-and-Desist Letter to White Nationalist Radio Station Stormfront

Johnny Cash in 1968
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Johnny Cash plays acoustic guitar in a still from his television variety series The Johnny Cash Show circa 1968. 

White nationalist Internet radio station Stormfront has stopped using a Johnny Cash song as its theme music after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from the companies in charge of the country icon’s discography, NPR reports.

The song in question was Cash’s cover of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down,” off his 2000 covers album American III: Solitary Man. American Recordings and Universal Music Group, the label and distributor that control Cash’s music, wrote that they “have not licensed, granted permission, or otherwise authorized” Stormfront’s use of the song.

Upon receiving the letter, the radio station pivoted to Confederate standard “The South Will Rise Again” as its theme song. (Stormfront founder Don Black previously served as a Klu Klux Klan leader.)

Host Patrick Slattery addressed the issue on-air, saying, “These Jews are trying to crack down on us every way they can.” He added, “We will not be able to use ‘I Won‘t Back Down’ as theme music anymore, but I can guarantee you, we’re not backing down.”

Cash abhorred racism when he was alive and dedicated 1964’s Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian to advocating for Native American rights. Last month, his children, Rosanne and John Carter Cash, said they were “sickened” to learn that a neo-Nazi wore a shirt bearing their father’s name at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. 


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