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.