The O’Jays sent Donald Trump a warning not to touch their music.
The iconic R&B group told The Guardian in an interview this week, Trump tried to re-brand their single Love Train to support his 2016 presidential campaign.
“Yeah, he wanted to change the words to ‘Trump Train,’” said founding member Walter Williams. “We had to send him a cease-and-desist letter.”
The group formed in Canton, Ohio in the 1950s with original members Williams, Eddie Levert, William Powell, Bill Isles and Bobby Massey.
After years of struggling to achieve mainstream success, they soared to the top of the charts in 1972 with the single “Back Stabbers.” It was followed by “Love Train” (1973), “For the Love of Money” (1974), and other successes.
Trump is a fan from way back, and used “For the Love of Money” as the theme song for his NBC reality series, The Apprentice.
Produced by Gamble and Huff, the single was based on Bible verse, 1 Timothy 6:10 — “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
“I don’t think he really listened to the lyrics,” Levert jokingly told The Guardian about Trump.
Still, they gave him permission to use the song. But that was before Trump the business mogul became Trump the politician.
In April, The O’Jays released their first studio album in 15 years titled The Last Word. It includes the politically charged single “Above The Law” about racial inequity and corrupt politicians. The group’s website says The Last Word will be their last album.
“Probably age-wise it should be,” Williams said. “But the desire to continue what we started could go on another two or three years. If we’re still happy and God continues his blessings on us, I think we might be still around.”