They can change, they can change

The fourth album by the ad hoc “Andrew Oldham Orchestra” was called The Rolling Stones Songbook, which Oldham had no problem getting the rights to, inasmuch as he was, at the time, the Stones’ manager. It did not sell on the level of, say, a Hollyridge Strings Beatles compilation, and it mostly disappeared for the next two decades, when Richard Ashcroft, then of the Verve, requested permission to sample Oldham’s version of “The Last Time” for a song to be called “Bitter Sweet Symphony.”

Permission was granted, but quickly withdrawn, once Abkco Music, owner of the Stones’ catalog (and Oldham’s) in those days, heard just how much of the song the Verve actually used. Long story short: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wound up with their names on the publishing rights.

And that’s the way things stood for the next couple of decades, until I imagine Keith and Mick said to each other “Hasn’t this gone on for long enough?” Abkco boss Jody Klein, generally regarded as less of a hardass than his father Allen, apparently assented, and while the parties in question retain nominal ownership of the song, neither Jagger nor Richards will collect any songwriter royalties: they’ve assigned their statutory songwriter-royalty rights to Richard Ashcroft and taken their names off the pertinent papers.

Roebuck “Pops” Staples, who died in 2000, was not available for comment.


  1. hollyh »

    24 May 2019 · 1:22 pm

    I can never get enough of the Staple Singers.

  2. CGHill »

    24 May 2019 · 5:41 pm

    Lots of flashes of brilliance. So far as I can figure, “Respect Yourself” has what might be the most subtle description of rectal-cranial inversion on the planet: “You goin’ out the world backwards / Like you did when you first come here.”

  3. Roger O Green »

    24 May 2019 · 10:21 pm

    I especially love Staples!
    thanks for the explanation

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