Remember when Mike Love sued Brian Wilson over songwriting credits? Well, here's the thing, Mike. The Beach Boys' music, all written by Brian, was so good that lyrics written by Charlie The Chimp would have been acceptable.
I mean, c'mon:
Little surfer, little one,
makes my heart come all undone
The chord changes and melody are so lovely that adding lyrics from the LATimes real estate section wouldn't have changed the song's hit status.
On that note we have this from the International Musician, the newspaper for the America's and Canadian Musician's Union: (not sure if the first link will work, you have to be a member to see it, but I'll try to make it public):
Small Contribution, Big Settlement
Gary Brooker, the lead singer of the British 1960s rock group Procul Harem, has lost a British High Court copyright action over the group's 1967 hit "Whiter Shade of Pale."
Generally regarded one of the greatest pop songs of all time, "Whiter Shade of Pale" has sold more than 10 million records and still earns huge sums in royalties.
Former band member Matthew Fisher claimed he was due 50% of the song's royalties because of his contribution to the song in which, he claimed, he made significant chord changes to the Brooker version.
In a landmark copyright ruling, the High Court agreed with Fisher and awarded him a 40% share of the musical copyright. However, his claim for back royalties, which could have amounted to more than $2 million, was rejected.
In his ruling, the judge said Fisher's contribution to "Whiter Shade of Pale" was "significant" but not as substantial as that of Brooker, who now faces a large share of the legal costs of up to £500,000. Brooker said he based the riff on an air by Johann Sebastian Bach, which Brooker had heard in a British cigar ad.
The song is wonderful, and Fisher's famous organ lick makes it even more memorable. But Fisher getting a sizable piece of royalties? And Brooker claims to have actually authored the riff?
I really don't think so.