By George Matlock
Gus Dudgeon, one of our guests of honour at the Elton Events-sponsored Tour on June 1-3, 2002 (see picture gallery) and known to millions of Elton fans as the producer of milestone albums in the songer-songwriter’s 1970s heyday, is suing recording copyright owner This Record Co Ltd., part of the Universal Music behemoth, for what is believed to be a six-figure sterling sum.
According to reports broken in The Express newspaper on July 11, 2002, Gus claims he is owed a heap of cash for royalities on Elton albums and has gone to London’s High Court to prove it.
His case also comes hot on the heels of Blue, the band signed to Rocket Records in the 1970s, who exclusively broke their lawsuit for name misuse and damages to EJW.com on July 8, 2002 and has resulted in significant TV, radio and press reporting since then (see story).
Gus told EJW.com: “I have to do this. As a matter of principle, I have to bring this case. I cannot say what the sum being sought is. But yes, I do hope that this matter can be settled out of court. We don’t yet have a date fixed for the hearing. These things usually take a long time.”
Gus also cleared up a few material errors in the original newspaper report, which has since spawned other media reports.
Firstly, the litigation concerns written agreement with This Record Co. for the period 1970 to 1976, from Elton John and culminating in the release of albums Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, Rock of the Westies and the live album Here and There.
Gus also digitally remastered Elton’s earliest album Empty Sky, although he did not produce the original 1969. The album’s recording copyright is also owned by This Record Co.
The press reports failed to avoid mention of albums that were in fact produced by Chris Thomas (!).
In 1995 a heap of albums became remastered by Gus, including the Live in Australia album, which Gus engineered back in 1986. It is not thought this album is part of the litigation, nor are other latter year additions in the period 1985 to 1987, which were: Ice on Fire, Leather Jackets, and Live in Australia. Nor is Elton’s favourite album, the 1976 Blue Moves, part of the This Record Co. copyright.
In total about 12 albums are believed to be affected by the court action.
There are also reports that Gus is taking performer David Bowie to court for a similar reason – he is claiming £1million of alleged unpaid royalties for the track Space Oddity which he produced and which set Bowie on the road to stardom.
Of the Elton John litigation, Gus told The Express: “Basically they haven’t paid my royalties – lots of them – but I can’t give you a figure. It’s too early to talk about the case yet but I’ve no doubt the record company will defend the suit.”
“It really affects all Elton’s classic albums and singles such as Candle In The Wind,” said Gus’s royalty investigator, David Morgan.
“We have been trying to resolve the matter without resorting to litigation but it has been going on for two years.”
Gus, who has also worked on records by artists such as the Rolling Stones, Marianne Faithfull, Neil Sedaka, Kiki Dee, and Gilbert O’Sullivan, launched the High Court writ alongside two other companies, Tuesday Productions and Westminster Music.
A spokesman for Universal said: “I’m afraid our comment on this one is: ‘No comment.'”
See Gus in the picture gallery
EXCLUSIVE! Blue in the face – Monday, July 8 2002 at 09:31:16