Eddie Levert and Walter Williams, founding members of the legendary R&B group The O’Jays, sent a cease and desist letter to the Trump campaign and to U.S. Rep. John Mica (R-Florida) after the congressman posted a now-deleted-pro-Trump video to YouTube featuring the band’s song “For the Love of Money,” which later became the theme song for Trump’s television show The Apprentice.
In an interview with TMZ last week, Levert said he was furious after he heard the band’s song “Love Train” being altered to “Trump Train” during the Republican National Convention.
“He changed it to the ‘Trump Train,’ and he changed some of the lyrics, and he got no permission from anyone,” Levert said of Trump. “He got permission from the publishing company. He got no permission from the O’Jays. And that’s our signature song. When you hear ‘Love Train,’ you think, immediately, of the O’Jays.”
“Our message is one of love and coming together,” the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer said, “and Donald Trump’s politics, they don’t voice that opinion.”
Levert said he thought it was “great” when his band’s hit song “Money” was the theme music for NBC’s The Apprentice, the reality TV game show Trump spent ten years hosting.
Levert said his band did promotional work with Trump for The Apprentice “once or twice,” but said he had “never had that many words with [Trump] because he was just a little snooty.”
“We sent him a letter to cease and desist,” Levert added.
“Trump and his people have no right to help themselves to our music. He presents himself as supporting ‘law and order,’ but, in truth, he’s not respecting the law at all,” Levert said in a statement, according to the Associated Press.
Williams added: “We don’t appreciate having our music associated with a campaign that is hurtful to so many with whom we have common ground. We support those who inspire in a positive way as opposed to bullying and using scare tactics.”
The O’Jays have joined an ever-expanding list of musicians who’ve asked Trump and other politicians to stop playing their music.
Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @jeromeehudson