Those who tuned into broadcasts of Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa this past Saturday (June 20) heard a familiar song blaring out of the Bank of Oklahoma Center’s speakers: Tom Petty’s 1989 single “I Won’t Back Down.”
It was certainly noticeable during news coverage, and it was certainly surprising. And it did not take long for the family of the late musician, who died of an accidental overdosein 2017, to issue a cease and desist letter and condemn its use.
A statement was posted to Twitter just after 10 p.m. EDT on Saturday, signed by Adria, Annakim, Dana and Jane Petty — the musician’s children, widow, and first wife. The family states that use of “I Won’t Back Down” was “in no way authorized” and Trump’s campaign “leaves too many Americans and common sense behind.”
“Both the late Tom Petty and his family firmly stand against racism and discrimination of any kind,” the statement reads. “Tom Petty would never want a song of his used for a campaign of hate. He liked to bring people together.”
They add: “Tom wrote this song for the underdog, for the common man, and for EVERYONE. 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.”
Read the full statement below.
“I Won’t Back Down” was the lead single on Petty’s first solo album, 1989’s Full Moon Fever, which went five-times platinum in the United States.