Liam Gallagher has filed court action against his brother Noel over comments the latter made in a press conference. Liam issued a statement saying he wants a public apology for Noel’s insinuation that Oasis’ cancelled gig at V Festival in Chelmsford was due to Liam’s hangover. Read on for more notorious court cases in music.
It could end up being the music trial of the century: Lady Gaga is being sued by her ex music partner Rob Fusari for a rumoured $30.5 million. But Gaga is by no means the first high-profile star to get caught up in litigation. Keep clicking for a history of music biz court cases.
R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck was accused of attacking two cabin staff and covering them in yoghurt, claiming “I am R.E.M.” and trying to steal a knife on a flight to Heathrow in 2001. Bono from U2 testified at his trial where Buck blamed his behaviour on a reaction to medication. He was cleared of all charges.
Back in 2003 Pete Doherty was jailed for burgling fellow Libertine Carl Barat’s flat, taking an antique guitar, laptop and mouth organ. The Babyshambles bad boy returned to court in 2007 for drugs and motoring offences, and was later banged up for 14 weeks for breaching probation in 2008.
Marijuana, cocaine, MDMA, and $22,000 cash was found on Lil Wayne’s tour bus in January 2008. He was bang to rights – but it still took two years to convict him. In March 2010 he was (finally) sentenced to a year in prison, which he is currently serving in Rikers Island.
In 2005 Michael Jackson was found not guilty of child molestation charges, he claimed he was the victim of a failed extortion attempt. Back in 1984 Jackson settled out of court with Pepsi after his hair was set alight during the filming of an ad, and he suffered second degree burns to his scalp.
George Michael was caught by an undercover cop for ‘engaging in a lewd act’ in a public toilet in 1998. He later told MTV: “He started playing this game, which I think is called, ‘I’ll show you mine, you show me yours, and then when you show me yours, I’m going to nick you!” He was caught asleep at the wheel in 2007 and admitted driving while on drugs, and he was later cautioned for drug offences.
Last year Chris Brown was arrested for punching, biting and throttling then-girlfriend Rihanna on the eve of the Grammys. He pleaded guilty in June 2009 (after pleading not guilty in April) to punching the singer until her face was bruised and bloodied. He’s currently serving five years probation.
In 2008, noodly guitarist Joe Satriani claimed Coldplay’s ‘Viva La Vida’ ripped off parts of his track ‘If I Could Fly’, Coldplay denied the claims – but the two parties have since come to an agreement and settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
In April 2009 Phil Spector was sent to jail for the murder of 40-year-old Lana Clarkson. She was found dead in a chair in the foyer of his mansion with a gunshot wound through the roof of her mouth six years beforehand. In 2007 the judge declared a mistrial because of the hung jury. At the second trial in 2008, the jury took 30 hours to decide on the second degree murder charge.
’80 pop blokes Men At Work are currently fighting a case against Larrikin Music Publishing, who accuse them of using an un-credited flute line from the song ‘Kookaburra’ in their hit song ‘Down Under’. Despite being written in 1934, the publishers are demanding between 40 and 60 per cent of ‘Down Under’s’ earnings – thought to be worth millions.
In 2007 Mariah Carey was cleared of copyright infringement when a judge ruled that she had not copied parts of Rachele Chafir’s ‘Sexy’ when making ‘It’s Like That’. Rachele had claimed that Mariah could have copied her work from the website it was featured on.
N.W.A. sampled a two-second guitar chord from Funkadelic’s ‘Get Off Your Ass and Jam’, lowered the pitch and looped it five times in their song ‘100 Miles and Runnin”. This was all done without Funkadelic’s permission. A federal judge ruled that the incident was not in violation of copyright law but an appeals court reversed the decision.
R Kelly denied it was him when a video emerged allegedly of the rapper and an underage girl together. It took six years for this 2002 case to go to court. After less than a day of deliberations, on June 13, 2008, a Chicago jury found R. Kelly not guilty of all 14 counts of videotaping himself having sex with an underage girl.
In 1990 Judas Priest were taken to court when the parents of two boys who attempted suicide claimed that it was the ‘subliminal messages’ in the band’s music that drove their sons to it. The band won the case by making a smart point: if they were using music to send messages to their fans, they argued, surely it would be to buy more of their records.
In 1990, when the Stone Roses weren’t happy about the re-release of early single ‘Sally Cinnamon’ by FM Revolver without their consent, they splattered paint over the Managing Director’s Mercedes and smashed the rear window. The band were fined £3,000 each.