Without getting too technical when it comes to a person wanting to do a cover song they do not need the permission of the owner(s) or writer(s) as the case may be, of the song. There is a thing called 'Compulsory Licence' in the U.S. and similar laws internationally under the 'Berne Convention' that requires compensation be paid to said owners. So in most countries you just need to credit and pay the people who own the song or the 'publishing' rights. I'll blog about that part another time. Then there is the whole idea of 'sampling' a song and how much of it you can use without having to credit the owners. Today I'm focusing on covers where payment and credit was not given originally.
Sometimes it is just the melody, sometimes lyrics, maybe a bit of both or, in the case of John Fogerty you can sound too much like yourself.😕
As with any break-up there are two sides to every story and with this one there are at least 5 sides, suffice to say John Fogerty's former boss at Fantasy Records, Saul Zaentz and he had a major falling out. So much so John admittedly was so bitter he stopped playing music for almost 10 years. Some years after the nasty split up of CCR, Fogerty recorded two songs aimed squarely at Zaentz, "Zanz Kant Danz" and "Mr. Greed".
Just a note about the song writing credits for the Beatles songs, most being written by either John or Paul or sometimes both, but all credits have John Lennon's name first and Paul McCartney's name second. This was a bit of a sore spot for Paul and I saw an interview where he said he would like them changed to his name first if he wrote the song by himself and John's name first if he wrote it solo. I can understand this way of thinking from Paul and I don't think it's an ego thing so much as it's pointing out who was responsible for writing which song. Truth is we pretty much know who actually wrote which song but it's not represented in the song credits.
Not to drone on but when you see the credits on an actual record they just typically list the names of the people 'credited' with the song and not necessarily who wrote the music and who wrote the lyrics. Also sometimes names were added and or changed to give people the financial benefits coming from the publishing rights and they may not have had anything to do with composing the song in any way at all, not to mention aliases used by songwriters for various reasons.
“How Deep is Your Love”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDsaT9xj4A0
|Jake Holmes album cover|
Far as I can tell from my reading about this, Jake asked for official song writing credit and some remuneration around 1970 or 1971, they never paid him a penny and basically ignored him. He did finally bring a lawsuit in 2010 and they settled out of court in 2011 for an undisclosed sum. The song credits now say “inspired by Jake Holmes”. (Secondhandsongs.com credits writers as Jake Holmes, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant) and a best of Album added Jake's name as well. Not the only time this has come up with Led Zeppelin and that alone could fill a blog or three, perhaps another time.
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