Veteran country artist John Conlee has filed suit against MCA Records and others, claiming the label is in breach of contract by refusing to return artwork and "19 missing 24-track masters."

NASHVILLE -- Veteran country artist John Conlee has filed suit against MCA Records and others, claiming the label is in breach of contract by refusing to return artwork and "19 missing 24-track masters."

The suit, filed July 27 in the Davidson County Chancery Court in Nashville, also names as defendants MCA predecessor ABC Records Inc. as well as Geffen/A&M Records, MCA Nashville and parent company Universal Music Group as successors.

In the complaint, Conlee states that he entered into various contracts with MCA in 1976, 1980 and 1985.

In addition to the allegations over the artwork and missing masters, Conlee claims that MCA licensed his masters to Curb Records, record clubs and other entities for use in compilations without notifying him, as required by his contract. He also says MCA refused to provide an accounting of royalties due since 1997.

Conlee seeks reversion and delivery of the masters and artwork, a full accounting of all royalties due, pre-judgment interest and other relief.

After early jobs as a mortician and disc jockey, Conlee signed with MCA in 1976 and became a fixture on the label throughout the late '70s and '80s. He had 22 singles on the chart during his MCA tenure, including "Backside of Thirty," "Miss Emily's Picture," "Common Man" and "Rose Colored Glasses." The Grand Ole Opry member currently operates his RCR Records labels and is readying the fall release of a gospel collection, "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus."

MCA says it has not been served with the complaint and has no comment.

Tagged