Tune Tuesday: February 5, 1949

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Evelyn Knight Image
Image Credit: tias.com

Seventy years ago, today, the #1 song on Billboard (pre-hot 100 era) was A Little Bird Told Me by Evelyn Knight, backed up by the Stardusters. Written by Harvey Oliver Brooks, the song was recorded by five different artists with Knight’s version being the only number one. Harvey Brooks was the first black American to write a major motion picture’s complete score: I’m No Angel, starring Mae West.

The Stardusters Image
Image Credit: pinterest.com
The Stardusters with Mary McKim

In 1950, this particular song was the subject of a landmark court case between Supreme Records in Los Angeles and Decca Records in London, England. Supreme Records founder Albert Patrick sued Decca over copyright infringement as his company had recorded and released the song with singer Paula Watson before Decca’s version was released with Knight & The Stardusters. Patrick was furious and filed for $400,000 claiming plagiarism of the arrangement.

The court ruled in favor of the defense stating that musical arrangements were not copyrightable, as style could not be protested under the law. The case opened the door for cover versions. Supreme went bankrupt shortly afterwards and Paula Watson went to work for Decca.

16 thoughts on “Tune Tuesday: February 5, 1949

    Silk Cords said:
    2019-02-06 at 1:27 AM

    Great little piece of history. 🙂 Especially the part about the copyright lawsuit and it’s impact.


    hanspostcard said:
    2019-02-06 at 8:16 AM

    Interesting legal history- I did not know any of that!


      The Hinoeuma responded:
      2019-02-06 at 3:23 PM

      I hadn’t a clue…until I started reading. Just think. If Albert Patrick had won, it’s quite possible that there would be fewer cover versions of others’ songs. Only the one’s with most money could ‘copy’ someone else’s music.


    bereavedandbeingasingleparent said:
    2019-02-06 at 1:23 PM

    Really enjoyed this. I love the background to songs and music. Adds so much colour to them.


      The Hinoeuma responded:
      2019-02-06 at 3:25 PM

      Yeah, it does. I’ve stumbled across all kinds of interesting things when I research for a post. Some things are “Oh, that’s interesting.” Others are “Holy shit!” LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

    mitchteemley said:
    2019-02-06 at 7:26 PM

    I love it!


    badfinger20 said:
    2019-02-06 at 8:34 PM

    That so opened the door for many covers…that was historic no doubt. Sucks for Supreme


      The Hinoeuma responded:
      2019-02-07 at 12:02 AM

      Supreme might have survived the lawsuit if they hadn’t had problems with Black & White. Supreme over-extended themselves on two fronts/lawsuits.

      Liked by 1 person

        badfinger20 said:
        2019-02-07 at 12:17 AM

        I bet Prince wished they would have won that fight. He did NOT like people covering his songs much at all.
        Very interesting case…Lots of consequences with that decision.


          The Hinoeuma responded:
          2019-02-07 at 12:47 AM

          Prince had issues, anyway. When Steve posted about ‘Around The World In A Day’, I ran across some videos of his former band, The Revolution. He was difficult to deal with on several levels. I guess when you are only 5′ 3″, you have a lot to prove. Hell…Iggy Pop is only 5′ 1″.

          Liked by 1 person

            badfinger20 said:
            2019-02-07 at 12:58 AM

            Paul Simon and Van Morrison are short also… Napoleon complex.
            Prince was pissed at the Foo Fighters for covering one of his songs…So he played at the Superbowl and played one of theirs just to get back at them…of course, they loved it lol.


              The Hinoeuma responded:
              2019-02-07 at 1:04 AM

              Is that the one where it was rainy and he had is ‘do-rag’ on his head like Aunt Jemima?

              Liked by 1 person

                badfinger20 said:
                2019-02-07 at 1:05 AM

                Yep that was the one. He thought if someone covered your song some people may remember the newer version more…plus he wanted complete control.


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