Tom Petty’s estate issues cease and desist to Trump campaign

"We would hate for fans that are marginalized by this administration to think we were complicit in this usage."

Tom Petty‘s estate has issued a cease and desist order to Donald Trump‘s election campaign after Petty’s 1989 song ‘I Won’t Back Down’ was used without permission at a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20.

A statement posted to social media by Petty’s family after the rally said, “Trump was in no way authorized to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind.

“Tom Petty would never want a song of his used for a campaign of hate. He liked to bring people together.” Read the full statement below.


Benmont Tench, a founding member alongside Petty of The Heartbreakers also weighed in with a post on his Instagram, saying, “I in no way approve of Trump even whistling any piece of music associated with our band.”

Over the past few years, multiple artists have issued cease and desists to the Trump administration for unauthorised use of their material, including Rihanna and the estate of Prince.

Petty died in 2017, aged 66, in Santa Monica from cardiac arrest. A legal dispute then ensued between Petty’s widow Dana York Petty and two of Petty’s daughters – Annakim Violette and Adria Petty – over the control of the late musician’s estate and back catalogue. The two parties “resolved their differences and dismissed all litigation matters” in December 2019.


Last year a previously unreleased song by Petty and The Heartbreakers titled ‘For Real’ was released as part of a 38-track compilation, ‘The Best Of Everything’.

Later in 2019, Willie Nelson paid tribute to Petty with a reimagining of ‘For Real’, renaming the track ‘For Real – For Tom’, with song proceeds going to charity.