Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Greed in the record industry? Shocking!

A fascinating article here about Solomon Linda, the African man who wrote the mega hit known as "The Lion Sleeps Tonight."

As the Times reports, "Some 150 artists eventually recorded the song. It was translated into languages from Dutch to Japanese. It had a role in more than 13 movies. By all rights, Mr. Linda should have been a rich man.

Instead, he lived in Soweto with barely a stick of furniture, sleeping on a dirt floor carpeted with cow dung.

Mr. Linda received 10 shillings — about 87 cents today — when he signed over the copyright of "Mbube" in 1952 to Gallo Studios, the company that produced his record. He also got a job sweeping floors and serving tea in the company's packing house.

His eight children survived on maize porridge, known as pap. When they passed a grade in school, their reward was an egg. Two died as babies, one of malnutrition, said his daughter Ms. Nsele, now 47."

Shady lawyers and greedy record company executives ripped this guy off big time. And that's something that was done to many artists of that era, especially in the jazz and blues areas.

But Britney Spears is worth $100 million. Go figure.


Anonymous said...

That's such a good song. It's sad to hear that guy was ripped off so badly. People are so greedy sometimes. What would it have killed them to give him and his family their royalties!

Anonymous said...

It's in the Lion King too. I bet he didnt get any $ from that either.

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