Leonard Cohen Estate Consider Legal Action for RNC’s Use of “Hallelujah”


MONTREAL – It’s an iconic song in the career of one of the continent’s most famous singer-songwriters, but you can’t just use it. Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” ballad has been used in film, television, commercials (including the recently released Justice League: The Snyder Cut trailer), and on the possibly every karaoke stage on the planet.

The Republican National Convention, however, is not a place where the late Montreal singer would have appreciated his song being used, according to his succession.

The legal representative of the Cohen Estate, Michelle L. Rice, issued a statement saying, “We are surprised and dismayed that the RNC proceeds knowing that the Cohen Estate specifically denied the request to use the RNC, and their rather brazen attempt to politicize and exploit in such a blatant fashion “Hallelujah,” one of the most important songs in Cohen’s song catalog. ”

A recording of Tori Kelly’s iconic song was played as fireworks erupted Thursday night following President Donald Trump’s acceptance speech for the Republican nomination.

American tenor Christopher Macchio also performed the song.

The Cohen Estate is exploring legal options.

SONY / ATV Music Publishing President and Global Marketing Director Brian J. Monaco said RNC officials have contacted and requested use of the song.

“We refused their request,” he said.

“If the RNC had requested another song, ‘You Want it Darker,’ for which Leonard won a posthumous Grammy in 2017, we could have considered approving that song,” the statement posted on Facebook added.

“Hallelujah” was recorded in 1984 and has become Cohen’s most played song.

Cohen joins a long list of musicians who have issued cease-and-desist letters or spoke out publicly about Trump using their songs at rallies. Artists like REM, Tom Petty, Adele and The Rolling Stones have all told Trump and his people to stop using their music at rallies.


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