Skip to main content

Tom Petty’s Family Slams Trump Over Use of ‘I Won’t Back Down’ at Tulsa Rally

Tom Petty's family is slamming Donald Trump over the use of "I Won't Back Down" during his campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 20.

Tom Petty‘s family is slamming Donald Trump over the use of the late rocker’s classic song “I Won’t Back Down” during the president’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday (June 20).

In a statement issued shortly after the rally, Petty’s estate and rights holders — daughters Adria and Annakim, ex-wife Jane, and widow Dana — announced that a cease-and-desist notice had been issued to the Trump campaign.

“Trump was in no way authorized to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind,” reads the statement, which was shared on social media.


“I Won’t Back Down” appeared on Petty’s 1989 solo debut, Full Moon Fever. The song peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Trump had not addressed the cease-and-desist notice on social media as of press time.

The statement adds that Petty and his family “firmly stand against racism and discrimination of any kind,” and that the late musician wouldn’t have approved the song’s use for Trump’s “campaign of hate.”

“Tom wrote this song for the underdog, for the common man and for EVERYONE,” the family wrote. “We want to make it clear that we believe everyone is free to vote as they like, think as they like, but the Petty family doesn’t stand for this. 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.”

This isn’t the first time Trump has been called out for using music without permission. Numerous other artists have asked the president to cease-and-desist from using their music at his events, including R.E.M. (“Everybody Hurts,” “Losing My Religion”), Rihanna (“Don’t Stop the Music”), Pharrell (“Happy”), Guns N’ Roses (“Sweet Child o’ Mine”) and Steven Tyler (“Livin’ on the Edge”), among many others.