Leonard Cohen's estate considering legal action over RNC's use of 'Hallelujah'
MONTREAL -- It is a song emblematic of the career of one of the most famous singer-songwriters on the continent, but you can't just use it.
Leonard Cohen's ballad "Hallelujah" has been used in film, tv, advertising (including the recently released Justice League: The Snyder Cut trailer) and on the stage of probably every karaoke joint on the planet.
The Republican National Convention, however, is not a place the late Montreal singer would have appreciated his song to be used, according to his estate.
The Cohen estate's legal representative Michelle L. Rice released a statement saying, "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."
A recording of the iconic song by Tori Kelly was played while fireworks burst Thursday night following President Donald Trump's acceptance speech for the Republican nomination.
American tenor Christopher Macchio also performed the song.
President and global chief marketing officer at SONY/ATV Music Publishing Brian J. Monaco said representatives from the RNC made contact and requested use of the song.
"We declined their request," he 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,” the statement posted on Facebook added.
"Hallelujah" was recorded in 1984, and has become Cohen's most-performed song.
Cohen joins a long list of musicians that have issued cease-and-desist letters or spoken out publicly about Trump using their songs in rallies. Artists including REM, Tom Petty, Adele and The Rolling Stones have all told Trump and his people to stop using their music at rallies.