A private bidder paid $15 million for the rights to hit songs by rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix at an auction on Thursday (Oct. 26), but a company owned by the musician’s family said it will sue to prove it owns the songs.
The rights, title, and interest to songs including “Hey Joe,” “Purple Haze,” “Voodoo Child,” and “Foxy Lady,” were sold over the telephone in New York by the estate of Michael Frank Jeffrey, Hendrix’s one-time manager.
Hendrix, who was born in Seattle, died in 1970 at the age of 27 in London, after choking on his own vomit. About 600,000 of his albums are still sold annually.
Jeffrey died in a plane crash three years later. Fourteen charities based in the United Kingdom, including the Asthma Research Council, the British Heart Foundation and the Kings College Hospital are the beneficiaries of Jeffrey’s estate.
“Whoever bought this bought themselves the right to be a litigant,” Bob Merlis, a spokesman for Experience Hendrix told Reuters. The Seattle-based company is owned by members of Hendrix’s family. “It will be contested instantly,” he added.
Experience Hendrix says it owns all rights to the music, and recordings of the guitarist.
The auctioneer, the auctions division of Chicago-based merchant bank Ocean Tomo, declined to comment on the ownership of rights to the songs.