Thursday, November 10, 2011

Music scandals of October - October's most delicious music dirt

October wasn't exactly a stellar month for wit or originality. Accusations of sample, rhyme and dance routine stealing were on the increase among pop stars, rappers, Belgian choreographers and ageing soul musicians while puerile tweets by Fox New Anchors and financially-troubled stars from the '90s remained steady.

Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine picked a fight with Fox News by asking the U.S. cable news network to stop playing his band's music with a strongly-worded tweet. 'Dear Fox News, don't play our music on your evil f---ing channel ever again. Thank you,' he wrote. Though it's not clear what exactly the 'Moves Like Jagger' singer was referring to, network anchors Andy Levy and Greg Gutfeld fired back with a few pointed tweets of their own. 'Dear @AdamLevine, don't make crappy f---ing music ever again. Thank you,' Levy twetted. Gutfeld added, 'Dear adam, That's not music' and 'fun joke: why did Maroon 5 cross the road? because crappy music is legal there! @adamlevine.' Wah-wah.

Beyonce continues to toe a fine line between homage and plagiarism in 'Countdown,' one of three new music videos the pop star released in October. The clip pays tribute to old Hollywood musicals, such as 'Funny Face,' but also incorporates dance moves and similar camera set-ups from two films by Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, who was quick to accuse the star of ripping her off after the video hit the web.

'Beyonceƌ is not the worst copycat; she sings and dances very well, and she has a good taste,' De Keersmaeker wrote in a letter posted online. 'On the other hand, there are protocols and consequences to such actions, and I can't imagine she and her team are not aware of it.'

In other copycat news, Rihanna and her record label Def Jam settled a lawsuit with David LaChapelle for an undisclosed sum. Earlier this summer, the fashion photographer accused the pop star of copying his photographs from an issue of 'Italian Vogue' for her sexed-up 'S&M' music video and sued her for $1 million. The case was to proceed to trial but Rihanna opted to settle out of court instead. LaChapelle's publicist told 'The New York Post' that he's happy with the amount. 'I like RiRi,' LaChapelle said when he launched the suit. 'This is not personal, it's strictly business. Musicians commonly pay to sample music or use someone's beats and there should be no difference when sampling an artist's visuals.'

Method Man aired out a bit of Wu-Tang Clan's dirty laundry this month. In an interview with 'Complex' magazine, the New York MC claimed that Old Dirty Bastard, who died of a drug overdose in 2004, stole the majority of his lyrics for his debut solo album 'Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version' from his group mates. 'Dirty took all their sh-- and made it his own and GZA ain't say sh--,' Method Man said.

Blues and soul musician Syl Johnson filed a lawsuit in Illinois Federal Court against rappers Kanye West and Jay-Z for allegedly using an uncleared sample on a bonus track from their joint album 'Watch The Throne.' According to 'Billboard,' Johnson claims that the duo and the labels UMG and Def Jam used a sample from his song 'Different Strokes' featuring Curtis Mayfield on their Pete Rock-produced song 'The Joy' without permission and without giving credit. Johnson has filed many sample-related lawsuits against Michael Jackson, Kid Rock, Cypress Hill and Wu-Tang Clan over the years to varying degrees of success. He alleges that West is guilty of 'willful misappropriation' because he previously tried to clear the sample for use on his 2010 solo album 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy' but was unable to get permission in time. West and Jay-Z have yet to respond to the charges.

A Manhattan judge ruled this month that Hole front woman Courtney Love is on the line for more than $100,000 in jewelry she borrowed from Jacob & Co. which went missing. The rocker said she tried to return the two white gold diamond chains, a white gold floral mesh cuff bracelet and a pair of gold diamond earrings worth $113,000, which she borrowed to wear to a charity benefit last year, but couldn't because staff at the Mercer Hotel apparently lost the goods. She filed a police report but a judge ruled this month that's she's responsible. However, she may not have to pay the full amount plus interest - as the store is demanding - but rather market value.

Iconic British performer Morrissey wants to take music rag 'NME' to court over an interview he claims portrayed him as a racist. 'The Guardian' reports that one of the UK's top libel judges is in the midst of deciding whether the former Smiths front man has enough evidence to sue the magazine in high court over a 2007 article that quoted him as saying, 'the gates of England are flooded. The country's been thrown away... Although I don't have anything against people from other countries, the higher influx into England, the more the British identity disappears.' Morrissey is suing then-editor Conor McNicholas and publisher IPC Media, for libel and is willing to take the stand if called upon to do so. Lawyers for the magazine have argued that the case should be thrown out.

Police in Atlanta arrested rapper Soulja Boy and four others on drug possession and gun charges following a traffic stop. The 21-year-old's three bodyguards and a driver were charged with possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm. He was jailed and later released after posting $10,000 bail. He told reporters and fans gathered outside his bail hearing that he's innocent. '[A]ye can I have a real n---- moment?' he tweeted later. 'My fans was DEEP AS F--- OUTSIDE THAT JAIL MAN IM SORRY!!! thats love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!'

A judge in Birmingham, England declared four members of the reggae group UB40 -- Brian Travers, Jimmy Brown, Terence Oswald and Norman Hassan -- bankrupt. Despite selling millions of albums and chart hits such as 'Red Red Wine,' the band fell on financial ruin following the liquidation of their label and management company in 2008 that led to a bitter split with original lead singer Ali Campbell that same year.

'The financial difficulties were as a result of our singer leaving,' the band said in a statement on their website. 'It caused us to lose several million pounds worth of work and this had a knock-on effect of creating a black hole that the band have been working to drag themselves out of.' Campbell initially said he'd tried to warn his former band mates about their impending financial doom but it soon emerged that he went bankrupt days later.

All of indie rock-dom is wondering what will happen to one of its most influential bands after Sonic Youth members Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon announced they were calling it quits after 27 years of marriage. According to a statement released by their label Matador Records: 'Sonic Youth, with both Kim and Thurston involved, will proceed with its South American tour dates in November. Plans beyond that tour are uncertain. The couple has requested respect for their personal privacy and does not wish to issue further comment.'

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