Aston "Family Man" Barrett, the longtime bassist with reggae legends Bob Marley & The Wailers, launched a claim Thursday (March 16) in London's High Court over the band's royalties. The total clai
Aston "Family Man" Barrett, the longtime bassist with reggae legends Bob Marley & The Wailers, launched a claim Thursday (March 16) in London's High Court over the band's royalties. The total claim, if successful, is estimated to be as high as £60 million ($105 million).
Barrett is suing Universal Island Records Ltd and the Marley family claiming that both he and the estate of his late brother, drummer Carlton Barrett, have not been paid royalties due to them under two recording agreements made in the 1970s.
However, the defendants claim that Barrett surrendered his right to further royalties in a 1994 agreement in which a payment of several hundred thousand U.S. dollars is said to have been made.
Barrett says that he and his brother, together with other members of the Wailers at various times, entered into partnerships with Bob Marley on the basis that profits would be split between Marley and the remaining partners.
He claims that Marley entered into agreements in 1974 and 1975 as their agent and they were party to those agreements. Barrett is seeking royalties from Island and the Marley family for such recordings as "Natty Dread," "Live!," "Rastaman Vibration," "Exodus," "Kaya," "Babylon by Bus," "Survival," "Uprising," and "Confrontation."
He also seeks further payments in respect of six of the band's songs that he claims were written either by him or his brother.
His counsel, Stephen Bate, told the judge Mr Justice Lewison: "Aston Barrett and his brother literally created the sound of the Wailers, though not for a minute to detract from the extraordinary songwriting ability of Mr Marley. It was the Barretts' unique sound which brought the Wailers international success. The Barretts were the bedrock of the music."
Lewison noted to the judge that members of the Wailers -- in a group called the Upsetters -- had achieved international success prior to Marley's involvement.
A father of 52 children and now in his 60s, Barrett still tours with the Wailers, alongside other original members.
The hearing, attended by Bob Marley's widow Rita, is scheduled to last three weeks.