10 Famous Musicians That Have Refused To Perform For Trump On Inauguration Day

After struggling for months, President-elect Donald Trump's transition team finally has a slate of performers to celebrate Inauguration Day this Friday. The team reached out to - and been rejected by - a lot of A-list talent since The Donald's election. But now they have confirmed that country singers Toby Keith and Lee Greenwood will share the even't top billing with rockers 3 Doors Down.

They'll be joined by America's Got Talent star Jackie Evancho, The Rockettes (despite some reservations) and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for entertainment (minus one disillusioned member). 

Not bad, but that lineup's nothing compared to the names Trump's team chased after. Here's a look at the artists who rejected the Inauguration Day gig. 

1. Elton John

Elton John

Last November, it looked like Trump had his headliner for Inauguration Day in the bag. Elton John was set to serenade the 45th president, according to Trump transition team member Anthony Scaramucci -- whose name might be a Queen lyric.

Sir Elton's camp quickly quashed that report. “Incorrect. He will NOT be performing,” Fran Curtis -- the British singer's publicist -- told the New York Times.

But it's nothing personal. During the 2016 election, John said that he didn't want his music used in American politics, period.

“I don’t really want my music to be involved in anything to do with an American election campaign. I’m British," he told The Guardian. "I’ve met Donald Trump, he was very nice to me, it’s nothing personal, his political views are his own, mine are very different, I’m not a Republican in a million years."

And he recommended another musician for Trump.

"Why not ask Ted fucking Nugent? Or one of those fucking country stars? They’ll do it for you,” he added.


KISS, Gene Simmons

Gene Simmons of KISS

Last December, TMZ cornered KISS bassist Gene Simmons and his family outside a restaurant in Hollywood and asked if he and the old band would get back together to play the inauguration.

“We’re going to be touring Europe at the same time,” his wife Shannon Tweed said. “That’s not to say they didn’t ask,”

Simmons' daughter Sophie added, 
“They [the transition team] asked and [KISS] politely declined.”

But Tweed wasn't so polite when coercing a 'no,' from Simmons that night. Maybe he would have performed if his family didn't have a say in that matter.

3. Céline Dion

Celine Dion

TMZ also reported that Canadian singer Céline Dion declined an invitation to perform at the inauguration. Not because she's anti-Trump. She's just too devoted to her fans to take a night off from her show in Las Vegas.

According to unnamed sources, Dion felt that too many fans booked their Vegas vacation around seeing her perform, so she didn't want to let them down -- especially after cancelling shows last year while mourning the death of her husband.

4. Andrea Bocelli

Andrea Bocelli

Last December, an Inauguration Day duet between Bocelli and Jackie Evancho was reportedly in the works. But the Italian tenor stepped aside after backlash from fans.

5. Moby


Last week, electronic musician Moby revealed that the Trump team had asked him to DJ the Inauguration Day ball. The invite gave him a good laugh since he's not only a longtime Hillary Clinton supporter but also an outspoken opponent of Trump.

"Hahahahaha, I was just asked by a booking agent if I would consider djing at one of the inaugural balls for #trump...," Moby wrote on Instagram. "Hahahahaha, wait, Hahahaha, really?"

But Moby didn't turn down the offer flat. Instead, he made an offer that Trump couldn't not refuse.

"I guess I'd DJ at an inaugural ball if as payment #trump released his tax returns," he wrote. "So #trump what do you think, I DJ for you and you release your tax returns?"

And for fun, he put together a tracklist of tunes he'd play for the special event -- including protest anthems like Public Enemy's Fight the Power, Marvin Gaye's What's Going On and...

6. Rebecca Ferguson

Rebecca Ferguson

Moby wasn't the only singer who played hardball with Trump. British X-Factor star Rebecca Ferguson was willing to sing at the inauguration -- if she was allowed to perform "Strange Fruit," a haunting song about southern lynchings of African Americans.

For some reason the deal fell through.

7. Charlotte Church

Charlotte Church

Last week, Welsh singer Charlotte Church tweeted that she had also been approached about the Inauguration Day gig. But she politely declined...with poop emojis.

As Sara Boboltz of The Huffington Post noted, Church has opposed Trump for some time. In 2015, she called him a sith lord/death eater. So she probably won't back him as Headmaster of Hogwarts or Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic either.

8. Garth Brooks

Garth Brooks

Last month, the country singer hinted that he might perform at the inauguration. "It's always about serving. It's what you do," he said when TMZ asked if he'd be up for the gig.

But an unnamed source later told The Wrap that booking Brooks was off the table.

9. Jennifer Holliday

Jennifer Holiday

The Broadway singer was scheduled to perform at the inauguration, but she pulled out due to fan backlash.

“I was honestly just thinking that I wanted my voice to be a healing and unifying force for hope through music to help our deeply polarized country,” she explained to fans through an open letter published by TheWrap last weekend.

“Regretfully, I did not take into consideration that my performing for the concert would actually instead be taken as a political act against my own personal beliefs and be mistaken for support of Donald Trump and Mike Pence,” she added.

10. Paul Anka

Paul Anka

The Canadian crooner -- whose jingle killed monsters The Simpsons -- is a longtime friend of Trump, but he turned down the inauguration for personal reasons.

“The president-elect is an old friend of mine for 50 years, there was a dialogue to do it, ‘My Way’ is his favorite song,” Anka told TMZ earlier this month. "But… I’ve been in a custody battle for two years for my son Ethan, and we have a new schedule now and I’m unable to do it.”

So if Trump wants to hear his fave song, he'll have to do it his own way. He can't butcher it worse than Sid Vicious' foul-mouthed version, right?


Honorary Mention: The B-Street Band

The B Street Band

Bruce Springsteen 's top tribute band honors both the music and the politics of The Boss. That's why they bowed out of the Inauguration Festivities after initially agreeing to play for Trump. 

"We felt that we had to make it known that we didn't want to seem disrespectful, in any way, shape or form, to Bruce and his music and his band," bandleader Will Forte (not the comedian of the same name) told Rolling Stone. "We owe everything to him and our gratitude and respect to the band is imperative above all else. It became clear to us that this wasn't working and we just had to do what we thought was the right thing to do and that was to pull out."

Springsteen recently voiced his opposition to  Trump in an interview with Marc Maron. "I've felt disgust before, but never the kind of fear that you feel now," The Boss said of Trump's rise in American politics.


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