R.E.M. bashes Trump, Cruz for using ‘It’s the End of the World’ at rally

Updated 8:38 PM EDT, Thu September 10, 2015
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Story highlights

"It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" played at a rally attended by Trump and Cruz

Neil Young and Survivor have also complained about their songs used for causes they don't support

CNN —  

Donald Trump has been blaring R.E.M. on the campaign trail, and the band doesn’t feel fine about it.

The GOP presidential candidate took to the podium Wednesday on the steps of Capitol Hill to slam President Barack Obama’s proposed Iran nuclear deal. His walk-up music? R.E.M.’s 1987 hit “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine).”

Rival candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, whom Trump acknowledged having a political “romance” with, was the one who invited Trump to speak at the rally.

R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe was livid after the use of his band’s song at the event.

“Go f*ck yourselves, the lot of you – you sad, attention-grabbing, power-hungry little men,” Stipe said in an email to The Daily Beast. “Do not use our music or my voice for your moronic charade of a campaign.”

The band’s post on Facebook was slightly more diplomatic:

“While we do not authorize or condone the use of our music at this political event, and do ask that these candidates cease and desist from doing so, let us remember that there are things of greater importance at stake here,” R.E.M. said.

“The media and the American voter should focus on the bigger picture, and not allow grandstanding politicians to distract us from the pressing issues of the day and of the current Presidential campaign.”

’What’s the frequency?’

In June, Trump used Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World” on the campaign trail – much to the dismay of the rock legend.

“Donald Trump was not authorized to use ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’ in his presidential candidacy announcement,” Young’s management company said in a statement. “Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for President of the United States of America.”

R.E.M. is the second major rock band this week to be roiled by the use of a song for a rally it didn’t support.

The Survivor hit “Eye of the Tiger” blared on loudspeakers as Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses, took to a stage after her release from jail.

Jim Peterik, the song’s co-writer, told CNN he was “gobsmacked” when he heard his song play at the rally on national TV.

“I have not authorized the use of Eye of the Tiger for use by Kim Davis and my publisher will issue a C&D (cease and desist order). This does not reflect my views,” Peterik tweeted.

CNN’s Dana Bash and Todd Leopold contributed to this report.