The Songwriter Got Cheated By “Louie Louie,” But Things Were Squared Up
During the 1950s, entertainer Richard Berry recorded some of his singles, which didn’t do that well, so he sold off his titles to his record label for $750 even though the amount was not that much but was enough for him to get them for royalties.
But what Berry didn’t know is that one of his singles, “Louie Louie,” would get covered by the band, The Kingsmen, and will become a massive hit. He also had no idea that the song would be covered by many different acts and transform it into one of the most-recorded singles of all time.
Even though his song achieved a lot of attention, Richard disappeared into anonymity, and during the 80s, he was on welfare. But he couldn’t do anything here, right? He made a bad deal at the end of the chapter. In 1982, Berry learned a law that would protect the songwriters during such situations.
This means that he made the deal but was still entitled to receive royalties. After some legal wrangling, Berry became the owner of all those songs again, which he sold, and through it, he earned $15,000.
But later on, he learned that life was short, so he bought and sold his rights again, this time in seven figures, which helped him become a millionaire. But during all this commotion, don’t think that the Kingsmen were exploiting Richard. The record firm was cheating them in the area of royalties too. But they did receive their rights after 40 years.
Even though things were rocky at first, everything was okay for both Richard Berry and the Kingsmen.