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Can I Borrow A Feeling? [Part 2]

I remember a really old episode of LA Law - firstly, LA Law: remember that?! - well, in this episode, Harry Hamlin was representing a really old skool r&b quartet, in the vein of the respectable ilk of Motown harmony group, like The Temptations.  In this episode, this group, whose name completely escapes me (get used to me saying that a lot in this post) were angry that one of their songs about sweet, old fashioned romance, whichI distinctly remember containing the lyrics, "Walking in the rain with my baby", had been covered by a contemporary 90s r&b act, in the vein of Jodeci, and that their version had been significantly sexed-up, thus cheapening the original and discrediting it. 

The two groups then went on to have a sing-off in the court room (why not?), leaving the judge to decide if the case held water.  The judge - the significantly older judge - instantly sided The Temptations-esque act, completely aghast at the Jodeci-esque bump'n'grind routine, despite their complaints that they didn't even get to perform the bridge of the song, which I can only imagine would have been awesome.

And there you have it - my first experience of the iron hand of the music sampling law!

I hope you guys enjoyed the music sampling article and hopefully a couple of the cases I raised would have been new to you and made for somewhat interesting reading.  There was one case I wanted to raise in particular but couldn’t find any details of it on the internet.  It revolved around Will Smith’s use of Patrice Rushen’s ‘Forget Me Nots’ for his single ‘Men In Black’. 

Obviously Smith’s song went on to become a huge smash hit single (and incredible promotion for the movie of the same name), and Rushen’s classic original is clearly oozing all over it, so the sample was clearly not a subtle one.  What was surprising though was I distinctly remember hearing a radio interview with Patrice Rushen some years ago where she talked about how the song came about.  Now, I know my details are very sketchy in my recounting here (which is why it didn’t make the main article) but apparently permission wasn’t secured before Smith and his producers (Poke & Tone from The Trackmasters) went ahead and recorded the song.  There then became a huge squabble about writing credits, or payment, that they potentially tried to skip out on, but all of this apparently exploded just before the film and song’s release so knowing she had the upper hand, in that Smith & Co couldn’t abort the song so late in the process, Rushen stuck to her guns and won out in the end. 

Sorry, my supreme lack of memory has ruined a riveting story that was filled with action, adventure, romance and even a bit of aliens thrown in too.  I will endeavour to scour the web for more concrete news in the hopes of being able to relay the more appropriate facts.


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