Graham Nash condemned anti-vaccination campaigner Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for co-opting his song “Chicago” in a video promoting a protest event.
A clip on the Children’s Health Defense website features a song titled “Heart of Freedom,” which credits Kennedy Jr. as lyricist. But the chorus of Nash’s song, including the line “we can change the world,” can be heard clearly. Kennedy used it to draw attention to a march in Washington, D.C., where he wanted people to “stand united to protest all government mandates.”
“The use of my song ‘Chicago’ by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’… is not authorized and I am taking steps to cause the cessation of its use,” Nash wrote on Instagram. “I do not support his anti-vaccination position as the history of the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines is well documented.” He continued: “When I wrote ‘We Can Change the World’ I did not expect that an institution such as this one, that claims that it fights for individuals’ freedoms, would so readily and recklessly infringe upon and, by its association with its cause, mischaracterize the intellectual property rights of a songwriter for its own purposes. I believe in science and facts, and do not support such blatant disregard for either, nor for my rights as a musician.”
Nash’s manager confirmed to Rolling Stone that a “cease-and-desist letter is in the works.”
“Chicago,” often known by the title “We Can Change the World,” was Nash’s debut solo single and appeared on his first solo album, 1971’s Songs for Beginners. It was inspired by the 1968 protest in Chicago against the Vietnam War. The event led to the trial of its organizers, later known as the Chicago Eight, who were accused of conspiracy and intent to riot, among other crimes. All convictions were reversed on appeal.
Listen to Graham Nash’s ‘Chicago’
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