Phil Collins Issues Donald Trump a Cease and Desist for Playing 'In the Air Tonight' During Campaign Rally

The tracklist for President Donald Trump's campaign rallies is now one song shorter. After his song "In the Air Tonight" was played at President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa on Wednesday, Phil Collins has sent a cease and desist letter to the Trump campaign demanding that it no longer play the 1981 hit.

The song had been played without permission at the president's Wednesday night rally. As a crowd numbering in the hundreds gathered near the tarmac at Des Moines International Airport to watch the president arrive on Air Force One, according to the Daily Mail, "In the Air Tonight" played in the background when the plane carrying the president made its approach for landing. Some had felt its usage was tone-deaf in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, an airborne virus that has killed more than 215,000 in the United States. As Trump exited Air Force One, meanwhile, "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor played.

In a statement made to Consequence of Sound, legal representatives for Collins confirmed that they served the order. The statement said, "we are well aware of the Trump campaign's use of this song and we have already issued a 'cease and desist' letter via our lawyers who continue to monitor the situation." The Trump campaign has not yet responded to the cease and desist.

Collins has in the past vocalized his criticism for the president. Speaking to Billboard in 2016 as Trump made his bid for president, the "Take Me Home" singer said he believed Trump was "an accident waiting to happen – a big accident waiting to happen." He added that Trump "makes tremendous gaffes and nobody owns up to them."


Collins is just the latest artist to publicly demand that the president stop using their songs during his rallies and speeches, many having threatened legal action. In June, the Rolling Stones joined forces with publishing rights organization BMI to stop the Trump campaign from using their 1961 hit "You Can't Always Get What You Want." In a statement, the legendary rock group said BMI told the Trump campaign that "unauthorized use of their songs will constitute a breach of its licensing agreement." If the campaign ignores the request to stop, there could be a lawsuit "for breaking the embargo and playing music that has not been licensed."

Similar actions have been taken by family of the late rocker Tom Petty, who sent a cease and desist letter to the Trump campaign after it played "I Won't Back Down." Neil Young, the estate of Leonard Cohen, Rihanna, R.E.M., Prince, Panic! At the Disco, Pharrell Williams, Nickelback, George Harrison, Elton John, Guns N' Roses, and Luciana Pavarotti have also requested that the Trump campaign refrain from using their songs.