For as long as Donald Trump has been a figure in American politics, he’s been actively antagonizing a substantial cross-section of the pop charts and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with his use of music at campaign rallies. The latest rock royal to take aim at the twice-impeached former Commander in Chief: Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr.
Marr weighed in on X (formerly known as Twitter) on Jan. 23 in response to a post from ABC campaign reporter Soorin Kim, who shared a clip of the Smiths’ 1984 song “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” playing at a Trump event in Rapid City, South Dakota. “You actually hear the Smiths more often than you’d think at 2024 Trump rallies,” she wrote in a caption.
“Ahh…right…OK,” Marr began in response. “I never in a million years would’ve thought this could come to pass. Consider this s**t shut right down right now.”
While Marr’s erstwhile Smiths bandmate Morrissey may have been undergoing a rightward political shift in recent years, Marr has not hesitated to unload on conservative politicians who have invoked the Smiths’ music. Years ago, former British Prime Minister David Cameron once drew Marr’s ire when he singled out “This Charming Man” as one of his favorite songs, with Marr replying: “Stop saying you like the Smiths. No you don’t. I forbid you to like it.”
Marr is in good company in his objections to Trump using his music at rallies, with the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Adele, Elton John, Rihanna, Linkin Park, and even Nickelback all publicly disavowing any association with Trump after their music was employed to rally the MAGA faithful. (This is hardly a complete list, either: there’s an entire, fairly substantial Wikipedia article dedicated to “Musicians Who Oppose Donald Trump’s Use of Their Music.”)
An extremely active recording and touring musician since the Smiths’ breakup (a list of the bands he’s played with would be even longer than the Wikipedia article referenced above), Marr has staged several raids on the UK charts as a solo artist in recent years, with Fever Dreams Pt 1-4 reaching No. 4 in 2022, and the compilation Spirit Power: The Best of Johnny Marr reaching No. 7 last year.
Marr’s comments come on the day of the New Hampshire primary, at which Trump is expected to prevail over Nikki Haley, his only serious remaining challenger for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.