Isn’t this Tim Curry?

Ah, no, apparently not.

Rock singer and guitarist Joan Jett in 1984

38 thoughts on “Isn’t this Tim Curry?”

  1. “Put another coin in the jukebox baby.”

    Probably still living off the royalties.

    Must be odd if you are a ‘one hit wonder’ that might set you up for life.

  2. Probably not, actually. She didn’t write it.

    That said, seems to be one of those things. Hit pretty much everywhere, apart from Italy, number one in the US, Oz, Canada, number 4 in the UK. But the timing is pretty good; right at the start of MTV. So lots of sales, and lots of airtime.

    About 3~5 years later, the whole market for popular beat combos fragments.

  3. Jim;

    I think it’s David Hepworth who has a story about his first few weeks as lowest of the low at a management agency in the early eighties, one of his duties being opening the post. Which contains a £250,000 cheque to Queen, at the time in that Hot Space period, before The Works (Radio Gaga) and Live Aid, ie. viewed as a bit of a joke.

    He gives said cheque to The Boss, saying “that’s not bad for a year”, which elicits the response “a year? That’s this month’s.”

  4. @Jim

    I also assume that sports/events arenas have to pay royalties every time they play a clip from ‘Song No 2’ or ‘chase the sun’ or
    ‘seven nation army’.

    Anyone know?

    That’s not even royalties from a song, just a rif.

    And, of course, ‘Happy Birthday to you’ has been subject to copyright actions for decades and was supposedly worth $2m a year in licencing fees at one point.

  5. Andrew C;

    Yes, they do. Effectively.

    The owners will have signed up to the PRS agreement anyway, as per most clubs, pubs, lift management firms, what have you, but there’s an bit that now additionally includes those riffs, which goes back to the issues arising from sampling back in the eighties.

    See also: Gerry and the Pacemakers and Liverpool FC.

  6. I recently heard an interview with three of The Zombies. At the time they originally split (just before Time of the Season was a hit in the US) the main reason was financial. The writers in the group were doing OK but the non-writers simply couldn’t support a family on what they were getting.
    They had had some success, “She’s Not There” was a big hit and they were playing to sizeable audiences in the UK and elsewhere but if it wasn’t for the songwriting royalties they would all have been virtually broke.
    Many people sneer when older groups reform as if they are all greedy multimillionaires who should be quietly living off their past earnings but in most cases, especially for those who didn’t write their hits, this simply isn’t true.

  7. Decades back I met one of the blokes who had done Tobacco Road. In the group, not a writer. A vast hit. 15 years later (about) he was working as a joiner building boats.

  8. Tim
    Yes, the Nashville Teens were an tight, proficient group and Tobacco Road was a terrific record. I think they suffered, like a lot of groups of the period, from impatient big record company churn. if a hit wasn’t followed up immediately with another then they were out of the door and there was no way back. Singles were everything and there was no such thing as a an album band then.
    Even Manfred Mann, who had an enviably steady stream of hits, were aware that one or two non-selling singles and they could be out.
    It was harder for the non-writer groups because they were competing with everyone else for the songs which were likely hits and unless they had a really enthusiastic record company exec or hit-maker producer behind them then they struggled to sustain a chart career.

  9. There’s a guy I know, sort of, who was in several bands in the eighties; the big (only) hit being The Politics of Dancing. Rather bizarrely, he ended up in meetings with the Pensions Minister a couple of years ago, whilst working for one of the finance industry associations.

    It’s a bit of a mystery as to how this happened, to pretty much everybody.

  10. “See also: Gerry and the Pacemakers and Liverpool FC.”

    I can understand that PRS royalties are due when YNWA come on the PA, but what happens if the crowd just starts singing it? Are PRS royalties due then, and who would pay?

  11. Gerry almost certainly gets more from “Ferry Cross The Mersey”, which he wrote, when it is played on every Mersey ferry crossing, than he gets from Liverpool’s use of “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, which he didn’t write.

  12. And that’s the interesting thing about that. I have no idea. But the song is Rodgers and Hammerstein, from Carousel, anyway, and it’s in fairly wide use by football supporters, most obviously Celtic. The LFC connection supposedly comes from a conversation at the back of the team bus between Marsden and Shankly, so there would have to be some consideration about the state of copyright law back in the Sixties, and how it’s changed since.

    But at a guess, the PRS is concerned about public performance, or broadcast, or a performance to the public. So if the crowd sings spontaneously, there’s no issue, but then the fun begins if someone records that crowd performance, and broadcasts it, or uses it as part of a broadcast or performance to the public. That person might be considered as infringing upon the rights holder. So the club probably has specific agreements in place to keep everyone sweet, just in case.

  13. Jim: I can understand that PRS royalties are due when YNWA come on the PA, but what happens if the crowd just starts singing it? Are PRS royalties due then, and who would pay?

    Royalties are payable if the music is played to an audience paying an admission fee in order to hear the music. So the covers band down the pub (or the pub itself) are not required to stump up.

    In your example, the crowd paid for their tickets but it is they rather than the venue providing the music so, once again, they are not liable for royalty payments.

  14. Dennis the Musical Peasant

    She did co-write Cherry Bomb, though. So probably doing OK.

    You’re missing the point. Joan Jett has always been a touring machine. She’s built up a substantial following and can fill a venue and sell a new CD any time she wants. The fact that she flies under the radar of pop radio is exactly why she has a substantial following… she follows the tastes of her fan base, not the tastes of media executives.

  15. I dunno about these old geezer bands. I only listen to contemporary funk/rock/pop by modern-day artists such as Prince.

    One of my favourite Prince stories is about how he dashed off Nothing Compares 2 U in an hour, almost carelessly producing an artifact of pop musical genius in the same way Mozart used to in that film.

    He didn’t meet Sinead O’Connor until after her cover of his song made her an overnight star. Prince, despite his explicitly sexual persona, had very conservative leanings and implored the gobby Irish harridan to stop using curse words in her interviews.

    The slap-headed Hibernian then invited the Purple One to “fuck off”. In his own home.

    This quickly escalated into a 5am fist fight at Prince’s mansion. Quoth O’Connor “He really packed a punch. Bigger than mine.”

    Which just goes to show, keep your pimp hand strong lads.

  16. Prince, what a dude. I only recently discovered that he wrote ‘Manic Monday’, again probably to fill time on a wet Wednesday with nowt on telly.

    Poor Sinead though. I remember when she was pretty, but if you subject yourself to the ravages of feminism, Catholicism and Republicanism the effect is much the same as a meth habit.

  17. Scousers are the worse

    Lee Mavers of the La’s lives off of “There She Goes” and Dave McCabe from The Zutons is a millionaire beyond his indie band dreams on the back of the Mark Ronson ft. Amy Whitehouse version of “Valerie”…

  18. Yep, the songwriter coins it, the band members don’t.

    Funny really, all these bands with their socialist opinions and virtue – the income differentials within many of them are eye-watering, vastly higher than the “evil corporations” they bleat about.

    Still, as in Hollywood, the more venal the business, the louder and stronger the expressed virtue to distract from it.

  19. MC

    Poor Sinead though. I remember when she was pretty, but if you subject yourself to the ravages of feminism, Catholicism and Republicanism the effect is much the same as a meth habit.

    She’s now “progressed” from Three Hail Marys and a packet of Dry Roasted.

    In October 2018, O’Connor converted to Islam, calling it “the natural conclusion of any intelligent theologian’s journey”

    If you say so, dear…

  20. Pah, Tom. Pah. By comparison with the scale of Bach’s cantatas, or Haydn’s symphonies.

    But then, one has to sort the wheat from the, er, crap. Less than a handful of the latter are worth performing, although the 104th is masterly. No fault may be found with the former.

    And much of Prince’s prolific output was of indifferent quality. Some good stuff, I grant. But he did go off the boil in the 90s.

  21. In October 2018, O’Connor converted to Islam

    So presumably she’s now covered up and shut up, and seeks the permission of a male relative before doing anything.

  22. Tim; slightly scary? Sturgeon’s Law applies, but what are the incentives here? There are superstar effects in a tournament, but why would the short-arse fey purple one let a song go to some paddy bint he’s never met?

    Or was Tiffany selling too many records in Bath in ’87?

    Come on.

  23. Ah, 80s memories. Joan Jett & the Blackheads: I fancied her along with Suzi Quattro, Blondie Debbie, Kate Bush and Kim Wilde

    Joan Jett hair in photo is not mullet, it’s glam rock. Mullet is practical if want long hair which doesn’t get in eyes/mouth – shame it’s denigrated.

    @MC August 14, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    Poor Sinead though. I remember when she was pretty, but if you subject yourself to the ravages of feminism, Catholicism and Republicanism the effect is much the same as a meth habit.

    Happened to a lot of Brit/Ir/USA 80s pop/movie stars iirc Brit Kelly (black hair shaved off) something was one – Thatcher/Reagan Derangement Syndrome?


    Neither. Sinead’s a loon – being named “Aid Sin” may be a reason.

  24. So write a song and it goes nowhere then someone does a cover version that’s hugely popular (eg it must be love by madness or I will always love you by Whitney Houston) so you are coining it in, but someone else gets the fame and accolades. For some of the egos in the music biz that must be galling, especially if you don’t like the cover version.

  25. I will always love you was Dolly Parton who is on record – ahem – as saying she thinks the money is just great.

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