On John Oliver's "Last Week Tonight," an all-star group of recording artists remind politicians "Don't Use Our Song."

Share story

John Oliver returned to “Last Week Tonight” last night after a short hiatus, with pointed commentary on the Republican National Convention. But he wrapped the show with a star-studded surprise: a group of musicians — including Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, Josh Groban, Usher, Cyndi Lauper, John Mellencamp, Michael Bolton, Sheryl Crowe and Dan Reynolds — with a tuneful message to politicians: “Don’t Use Our Song.”

The bit was inspired by Donald Trump’s recent unauthorized use of Queen’s “We Are the Champions,” the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and even Luciano Pavarotti’s “Nessun dorma.” But it’s common practice by politicians on both sides of the aisle — and it’s rare, apparently, that the songs are properly licensed.

A rousing anthem performed before a greenscreen showing all-American images, the lyrics to “Don’t Use Our Song” include “We didn’t write these songs to make your campaign stop look cool,” “It might seem appealing / But you’re just stealing,” and this catchy refrain: “Don’t use our song/You know it’s wrong/ By the time this tune is through / You’ll be lucky if we don’t sue.” Groban, at one point, gazes into the camera and croons, “If I wanted to sing and not get paid / I’d be on Spotify.”