Leonard Cohen’s estate has said they’re considering taking legal action after the iconic ‘Hallelujah’ was played at the Republican National Convention. The estate issued a statement, saying they didn’t just not authorise the use of the song, they “specifically declined” it.
The song was reportedly played twice during the convention, which went down last Thursday.
A recording of the Leonard Cohen classic, performed by Tori Kelly, was played during fireworks following President Trump’s address. Then, later on they had American tenor, Christopher Macchio perform an operatic version of the song live.
Pitchfork reports that the Republican National Committee sought permission to use the song and was denied.
“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,” said Brian J. Monaco, Sony/ATV Music Publishing president and global chief marketing officer in a statement.
“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 politicize and exploit in such an egregious manner ‘Hallelujah,’ one of the most important songs in the Cohen song catalogue,” said Michelle L. Rice, legal representative of the Cohen Estate.
“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.”
Leonard Cohen’s estate are in good company. They join Queen, Panic!’s Brendon Urie, Neil Young, and Elton John as artists who’ve tried to stop Trump from using their music.
Have a listen to Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ below, for old time’s sake.