Alicia Keys is a Girl in Trouble today. Earl Shuman, the co-songwriter (with the late Leon Carr) of “Hey There Lonely Girl,” has filed suit against her in Los Angeles for copyright infringement. Some of the suit is based on my reporting. Hopefully musicologists will be called in, etc., experts who can testify about Keys’s use of two lines from the chorus of “Hey There Lonely Girl” in “Girl on Fire.” (The Hollywood Reporter’s Eriq Gardner reported the suit as well, mentioning my inclusion. But for some reason people at that dreadful website don’t pick up the phone and call people they’re writing about.)
Anyway, anyone who listens to “Girl on Fire” can hear Alicia sing “she’s a lonely girl/in a lonely world” about her burning subject. Why Keys or someone with her didn’t just clear this sample is beyond me. Keys is a sampling queen, with loads of history in this department. What makes it disturbing is that if someone had done the same thing to Keys–like take her “If I Ain’t Got You” or her new song “Brand New Me”– and done the same thing, she’d be the Girl on Fire indeed.
Hey There Lonely Girl: