70's Hit Vocal Group 'The Three Degrees' Sue Sony Music Over Royalties
Feb 08, 2017 12:51 PM EST
Female vocal group, The Three Degrees, renowned for the popular 1974 hit "When Will I See You Again," has sued Sony Music Entertainment Inc. The group is seeking decades' worth of royalties which it claims were withheld by a former manager as well as his widow.
The complaint that was filed on Tuesday night by the group states that they "never received one penny" of royalties. This was a direct result of an "oral agreement" made in mid 1970s to late 1970s between the group and producer Richard Barrett, the former manager, where he demanded for a 75-percent share.
According to Reuters, the group claims that Barrett's widow Julie alongside her company Three Degrees Enterprises Inc. kept all royalties instead - including those made from payments from Sony. The payments are said to have covered albums such as "The Three Degrees," which is inclusive of "When Will I See You Again," and "TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)."
The latter song featuring the group later went on to became the theme for "Soul Train", the TV music show. The filed complaint in Manhattan federal court states that the group "has not received one penny from the Sony-TDE royalty agreement, despite Sony's knowledge of the group's rights".
Seeking unspecified damages from Julie Barrett and Sony, the lawsuit in inclusive of an accounting of royalties owed as well as a breach of contract. Richard Barrett himself passed away in 2006 and his widow was not instantly available for comment.
Similarly, Liz Young, the Sony spokeswoman, declined to comment. The Three Degrees vocal group was formed in Philadelphia in 1963 and its membership has shifted over the years. However, for the lawsuit's purposes it only includes members Helen Scott and Valerie Holiday and Fayette Pinkney's estate.
The 1974 hit "When Will I See You Again" reached No. 2 on U.S. Billboard Hot 100 charts, and peaked at No. 1 in the United Kingdom.