Monday, April 15, 2024

Songwriters Hall of Fame Name Gamble & Huff, Sued Often for Royalties, Co-Chairmen


Well, you can only laugh. The Songwriters Hall of Fame has now made Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff co-chairmen of their group.

Gamble and Huff were great great songwriters. But they were bad bad businessmen. In 2002, they lost a jury trial to singer Billy Paul over royalties from “Me and Mrs. Jones.” The jury awarded Paul $500,000 going back to 1994. A statute of limitations precluded him from getting money all the way back to 1974, when he first recorded the classic hit.

In 2008, the O’Jays– who’d been with Gamble and Huff since the early 70s– also sued for unpaid royalties. Their hits include “Backstabbers,” “For the Love of Money,” and “I Love Music.” Their suit emanated from one filed by former member Sammy Strain, who alleged he hadn’t been paid royalties in years.

Archie Bell, of “Tighten Up” fame, sued the pair in 2011.

I remember years ago when I asked the Emotions if they’d ever been paid for their played-around-the-clock hit “Best of My Love.” The answer was no.

Gamble, of course, was indicted in 1975 in the massive radio payola scandal of the day.

No one’s saying that Gamble and Huff shouldn’t be celebrated for all the great records they wrote and produced. But co-chairmen of the Songwriters Hall of Fame? Oy vey. Too bad. The Songwriters Hall of Fame has become as bad as the Rock Hall. Sad.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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