Leonard Cohen Estate Furious After RNC Uses ‘Hallelujah’

by Chris Haney
Photo by Matt Kent/Redferns via Getty Images

Leonard Cohen’s estate is exploring legal options after his famous song, “Hallelujah,” was used at the Republican National Convention. The Trump campaign played a cover of Cohen’s “Hallelujah” during the fireworks portion of the RNC on Thursday night.

The Cohen estate issued a statement blasting the unauthorized use of the frequently covered classic song.

“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.

Additionally, Rice said, “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.”

RNC Slammed By Cohen Estate and More

As the RNC came to a close, Tori Kelly’s cover of “Hallelujah” played as fireworks shot into the sky. The rendition of the classic played alongside patriotic songs like “God Bless the USA” and “She’s a Grand Old Flag.”

In a since deleted post, Kelly tweeted, “Seeing messages about my version of hallelujah… all i know is neither myself nor my team received a request.”

Likewise, Sony/ATV Music Publishing president and global chief marketing officer Brian J. Monaco said in a statement, “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.”

This isn’t the first performer, or their estate, that has threatened the Trump campaign for usage of unauthorized songs. Tom Petty’s estate, the Rolling Stones, and Neil Young were all among the artists who have spoken out against Trump playing their songs. Furthermore, all have threatened legal action against Trump for his rally soundtracks.

[H/T Rolling Stone]