Rare Jimi Hendrix song tangled in dispute

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Rare Jimi Hendrix song tangled in dispute

Thu Oct 14, 2010 @ 09:34AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Jimi Hendrix - (1965) Two Great Experinces (feat. Lonnie Youngblood) The Jimi Hendrix estate, Martin Scorsese and an old saxaphone player named Lonnie Youngblood are among those battling over a 40-year-old song entitled "Georgia Blues" that was recently featured on a Scorsese-directed PBS special on blues music and distributed via an accompanying album.

In the mid-1960s, Hendrix, working as Jimmy James, played in Youngblood's band. Later the guitar virtuoso struck out on his own, but reunited in 1969 with Youngblood in a New York studio to record "Georgia Blues."

The tune was mostly forgotten until Scorsese's 2003 PBS special, "The Blues," which spawned a few albums including "Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: Jimi Hendrix," which included the song. It's now the subject of heated litigation.

Earlier this year, Youngblood sued the estate, MCA Records and Scorsese, claiming the song was released without his permission and without proper credit. Youngblood said the Hendrix estate offered him $3,000 for rights, which he refused.

On Tuesday, the Hendrix estate struck back with counterclaims, asking a judge to declare it the owner of the song and Youngblood's belated copyright registration as invalid.

According to papers filed in New Jersey District Court, Hendrix produced and recorded the song at his own cost. The estate says the two-day session at the Record Plant Studio in NYC produced several Hendrix tracks, including "George Blues," which have remained in the physical possession of the estate since that time. 

The estate now wants Youngblood to account for all of his royalties on "Georgia Blues."

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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