The estate of Isaac Hayes has again condemned the use of the soul singer’s music by former President Donald Trump, most recently during the latter’s 2024 campaign announcement.
Trump played Sam & Dave version of “Hold On, I’m Comin’” (co-written by Isaac Hayes and David Porter) during Tuesday’s announcement from Mar-a-Lago. The Hayes Estate, representing the singer who died in 2008, would immediately make clear that this use was not authorized.
“Once again, the estate and family of Isaac Hayes DID NOT approve the use of ‘Hold On I’m Coming’ by Sam and Dave by Donald Trump at his 2024 presidential announcement tonight,” accounts belonging to the Hayes estate posted.
With its instrumental groove immortalized in popular culture, “Hold On, I’m Comin’” was originally performed by soul duo Sam & Dave for Stax Records, where Hayes and Porter were part of the creative force as in-house songwriters, producers and musicians. The song was later covered by eminent R&B, jazz and blues artists including Aretha Franklin and Herbie Mann.
The Hayes estate’s exasperation stems from the fact that Tuesday was the second time Trump had used “Hold On, I’m Comin’” in a political context this year. In May, the Hayes estate condemned Trump using the song during an appearance at a National Rifle Association convention.
The truth is that despite cease-and-desists and threats of lawsuits, it’s very difficult to keep a politician from using a musician’s material if they’re determined to do so. Trump in particular has repeatedly flouted musicians’ requests to cease using their music at his rallies. Wikipedia has an entire entry called “Musicians Who Oppose Donald Trump’s Use Of Their Music.”
The Hayes estate acknowledged the difficulty in preventing Trump from continuing to exploit Isaac Hayes’ legacy. “Stopping a politician from using your music is not always an easy task,” they admit, “but we are dedicated to making sure Donald Trump does not continue to use ‘Hold On, I’m Comin” by written by [sic] Isaac Hayes an[d] David Porter in further rallies and public appearances.”
Stopping a politician from using your music is not always an easy task, but we are dedicated to making sure that Donald Trump does not continue to use “Hold on I’m Coming” by written by Isaac Hayes an David Porter in further rallies and public appearances.
— Isaac Hayes (@isaachayes) November 16, 2022