Sunday, 5 June 2011

The Day Lonnie Donegan Tied Up Justin Hayward!


I bet you are asking your selves, “What on earth has Lonnie Donegan got to do with Justin Hayward?” A lot more than you think dear reader!

Lonnie Donegan, may not be a name familiar to many of today’s rock and pop fans, but the man, who in the 50’s, was called The king of skifflewas a major influence to many of the big names of the 60’s, such as the Beatles and the Who-“I wanted to be Elvis Presley when I grew up, I knew that. But the man who really made me feel like I could actually go out and do it was a chap by the name of Lonnie Donegan." — Roger Daltrey. Skiffle, for those unenlightened with the term, is one the simplest forms of popular music, all you need is a washboard, a tea-chest bass and a cheap guitar- it is with these three instruments that Lonnie conquered the rock and roll hearts of  Britain’s, music starved, 1950’s  teenagers. 
Skiffle soon became the rage, and the sales of cheap guitars and washboards increased as thousands of British teenagers started forming skiffle groups; among them, a young John Lennon with his ‘Quarry Men’, and a‘skiffling’ teenager, from Epsom- with the name of Jimmy Page.
Lonnie’s musical star dimmed in the 60’s with the arrival of the Mersey sound, and the swarm of electrified bands that rode on its wave; and of course, us, the Mods who were looking for more in our music than washboards! To be fair to Lonnie he was one of the first British pop singers to be noticed in the U.S.A, his fast version of Leadbelly's "Rock Island Line" climbing into the Top Ten there.

I saw Lonnie perform once, back in the 70’s. I was working as a waiter  at ‘Kings’, a nightclub just out side Eastbourne, and one weekend Lonnie filled the star slot. The man gave a good show, not exactly my style of music, but I’m glad I saw him play.

Oi, Alex! What about Justin Hayward!?

Now, as I said before Lonnie’s musical star started to dim in the 60’s, but his business sun was starting to rise! Lonnie had seen early in his career that there was more money to be made by holding the rights to your songs, and to this effect he had formed his own publishing company, Tyler Music.  In 1965 Lonnie’s attention was drawn to a guitarist playing in Marty Wilde's group. He learned, from Marty, that the teen was not only a great guitarist, but a talented song writer too- Lonnie not one to lose an opportunity, persuaded the 17 year old to sign a publishing contract with his company. The young guitarist was,future Moody Blues front man, Justin Hayward! So, from that day on Lonnie, ( and now his heirs, as Mr Skiffel died in 2002), have  received, and will continue to do so, a big cut of the royalties of all the songs written by Justin before 1974! Yes, including ‘Nights in White Satin’, ‘Tuesday Afternoon’ and ‘Questions’!
The legendary ‘Cross Roads’, does exist, but the deals you do on the road to success are not always with the devil!



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10 comments:

  1. THANK YOU so much for exposing, even in such a gentle way, the rip off artist that Donegan was, and his family still is! Justin Hayward was still a teenager-- not sure how British law treats a minor and at what age they can legally enter into contracts-- when Donegan blatantaly exploited him.

    It is disgusting that a guy whose "songwriting" ability consists of "does your chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight" has reaped MILLIONS of dollars off the intellect and talent of Justin Hayward! His family should be ashamed of the blood money they are still collecting off Hayward's work.

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    1. Hi, American lawyer here. Thecontract would have been voidable, at the option of Justin. He could preyend there had neverbeen a contract, and he would earn what he would have made had there beennocontract. Donnegan WOULD NOT be entitled to an offset for any work he claimed to have done. Deal with minors at your own peril. At least, here across the pawned.

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  2. Thanks, for informing the public about the crass, disgusting theft perpetrated by Lonnie Donegan-- a no talent, slug-- against Justin Hayward when Justin was just a teenager and did not suspect that Donegan was a predator! I understand that Donegan's Tyler Music has sold and re-sold Justin's copyrights to feather his family's own nest with NO compensation to the author and artist, Justin Hayward, for his many wonderful songs of the late 60's and early 70's. SHAME! Lonnnie Donegan and his family should rot in hell for their shameless, corrupt theft of Justin Hayward's intellectual property!

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    1. You are a fuckin twat the man done more for popular music than justin hayward ever has lonnie donegans legacy will live on for centuries to come where as hayward will just be a footnote get over it twat.

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  3. Well, some of the previous commenters are a bit over the top in their tone. But I understand their upset and anger. I, too, was victimized as a young musician and songwriter by Donegan. The type of contract that he put on us was totally improper and exploitative!

    I am not in any way a songwriter of the talent of Justin Hayward-- I'd like to be, but I am honest enough to admit I am not in his league-- but yes, there are many young artists who were exploited by Donegan. I don't have the money to hire a lawyer. But this kind of exploitation of young artists should not be allowed,.

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  4. In the USA you have to be 18 before you can legally sign a contract and be held to it. I personally think that it ought to be even older but 17 is way too young. Too bad all the artists don't come back and sue Donegan's estate.

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  5. "Big Cut"? Either you own it all or none. Justin owns NOTHING pre 1974. There is no Justin Hayward Music Co.. after Tyler Music or whatever companies he's resold song after song. Hayward got burned for millions. The Moody Blues are playing casinos all over the U.S. for years due to dead back catalog sales and publishing that was lost. Chuck Berry owns so little of his songs he still has to do shows. He sold some to Morris Levy! Hayward was like Billy Joel with Artie Ripp/Springsteen with Mike Appel/John Sebastian with Charles Koppelman/Brigati with Wes Farrell...sign here, don't get a lawyer, ya doin the right thing.

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  6. "Hayward was like Billy Joel with Artie Ripp/Springsteen with Mike Appel/John Sebastian with Charles Koppelman/Brigati with Wes Farrell...sign here, don't get a lawyer, ya doin the right thing."

    You can also add Van Morrison with Bert Berns

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  7. Unfortunately the music business is littered with rip-off contracts with the worst being from the 1950s to 70s, but it was still prevalent in the 1980s. Many bands and performers from 40 years ago still tour today not because they wholly enjoy it, but it's their main income as royalties from that era go elsewhere. I suppose there is karma now as the traditional music industry is struggling in the digital age.

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  8. A fair few artists got ripped off in their early career Wham/George Michael and the Stone Roses to name a few ....The Roses were so made with Zomba records I think that they threw paint everywhere ...Jornos thought it was a Squire Original lol

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