Leonard Cohen’s Estate Pondering RNC Lawsuit

The convention's use of "Hallelujah" sparked controversy

Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen in 2013.
Lionel Flusin/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

It’s not surprising that politicians enjoy using popular songs at campaign events and rallies: it’s an easy way to get a crowd energized, after all. It’s also not surprising that some musicians object to this, especially when they have ideological differences with the politician in question. This has become the subject of heated debate this year, with a number of musicians objecting to the Trump campaign’s use of their music.

The latest instance of this comes from the estate of Leonard Cohen. Cohen’s song “Hallelujah” was used — twice — during this year’s Republican National Convention. According to a report from Pitchfork, the RNC sought permission to use the song, which his estate denied.

Now, according to a report at Consequence of Sound, Cohen’s estate is looking into the possibility of legal action. The report, by Alex Young, notes that the estate is “exploring legal actions,” according to comments by the estate’s legal representative, Michelle L. Rice.

Rice also criticized the RNC’s “rather brazen attempt to politicize and exploit in such an egregious manner ‘Hallelujah’, one of the most important songs in the Cohen song catalogue.”

In addition, Rice hinted that the RNC might have had better luck had they requested Cohen’s song “You Want It Darker.” One can only imagine how the lyrics “There’s a lullaby for suffering/ And a paradox to blame” would have gone over.

If the Cohen estate does take legal action, they might not be alone in that: apparently, Neil Young is also considering something similar.

Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.