Leonard Cohen‘s estate is “exploring legal options” following the unauthorised use of ‘Hallelujah’ during the Republican National Convention on Thursday night.
The hit song was featured twice: first, after Donald Trump’s acceptance speech for the Republican nomination, where Tori Kelly’s recorded cover version played during a fireworks display, followed by a live operatic version performed by American tenor Christopher Macchio later in the night.
According to Sony/ATV Music Publishing president and global chief marketing officer Brian J. Monaco, the Republican National Committee sought and was denied permission for use of the song the night before the event: “On the eve of the finale of the convention, representatives from the Republican National Committee contacted us regarding obtaining permission for a live performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. We declined their request,” he said.
Michelle L. Rice, a legal representative of the Cohen estate, added: “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. We are exploring our legal options. 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 estate of Leonard Cohen released the posthumous album Thanks for the Dance last November.