Wednesday 13 December 2023

Main theme song for Cats the Musical 'Memory' WASN'T written by Andrew Lloyd Webber claims...

This may surprise a few people! A man from the Dominican Republic, a former dancer as I understand it, claims that he wrote the song Memory which is the theme song for Cats the Musical. He says that he recorded the song and it was overheard by one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's dancers at the Pineapple Dance Studios and that person then relayed the lyrics and the music to the Lloyd Webber who used it in Cats.

Main theme song for Cats the Musical, 'Memory' WASN'T written by Andrew Lloyd Webber claims...
Andrew Lloyd Webber on the left and Philip Christian on the right. Images provided by the Daily Mail. Image: MikeB

The man is Philip Christian, 68. He was a dancer at the time or training to be a dancer. And he made a claim for breach of copyright against Andrew Lloyd Webber. He claimed damages and future earnings from the musical.

His case was thrown out by a British judge in the British courts because it appeared to be highly implausible partly because it relied upon this intermediary person remembering the entire lyric and music and then relaying it to Lloyd Webber accurately.

In addition, Mr Christian could and should have brought the claim 40 years ago when the musical was first aired.

The copyright is actually in the ownership of Lord Lloyd Webber and his partner at the time Sir Trevor Nunn and, as I understand it, the estate of TS Eliot as the song Memory was inspired by TS Eliot's Rhapsody on a Windy Night.

Comment: there has been a number of high-profile claims against pop stars for a share of revenue of their songs because they claimed that they wrote the songs and not the celebrity singer. In each case, that I have read about, the claimant has failed.

For example, Edward Christopher Sheeran MBE was sued and he cogently proved to the judge that he owned the copyright of his song and one argument he used was that there are only so many different versions of a song that you can make because there are a limited number of notes (12) available to a songwriter. This means there is bound to be some similarities in songs. A neat argument and one that tells me that it must be incredible hard to compose new and interesting music.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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