Three decades after they sang that money was "the root of all evil," the O'Jays lost a bid to block their former record label from cashing in on songs they recorded but didn't think were good enough t
Three decades after they sang that money was "the root of all evil," the O'Jays lost a bid to block their former record label from cashing in on songs they recorded but didn't think were good enough to release.
A federal judge last week lifted an injunction that had briefly stopped Philadelphia International Records from distributing "Together We Are One," an album of unreleased tracks recorded by the O'Jays in the early 1980s.
O'Jays founding members Eddie Levert and Walter Williams had argued in a lawsuit filed April 2 in Philadelphia that the songs were "stale and artistically inferior," and that releasing them would hurt their legacy and ability to tour. The trio recently inked a multi-album deal with Mathew Knowles' Sony Music-distributed Music World Music label, and a new album is due this summer.
U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick said in an opinion signed on April 9 that a contract signed by the group in 1979 appeared to give the record company unlimited rights to release the songs.
He also expressed some doubt that the album would hurt the O'Jays, whose hits include "For the Love of Money," now being used as the theme song for Donald Trump's "The Apprentice" television show.
"It appears to us that the dispute between these parties has more to do with the financial aspects of their relationships than their professional standing," Surrick wrote.
Lawyers for Levert and Williams declined to discuss the case yesterday (April 13), other than to say they would continue to pursue the lawsuit.
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.