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Dixie Chicks Named in Copyright Infringement Case

Sony sued over Dixie Chicks song

December 21, 2000 12:00 AM ET

Music Publisher Albert E. Brumley & Sons, Inc. has filed a suit against Sony Music Entertainment, Inc. regarding the Dixie Chicks' use of the song "I'll Fly Away" on their track "Sin Wagon," from their latest album Fly. The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri at Joplin, claims that Sony had not received clearance to use the song and seeks damages of a minimum of $500,000.

Brumley & Sons publish the compositions of gospel music composer Albert E. Brumley, who is a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. The song "I'll Fly Away" was registered with the U.S. Copyright Office in 1959 and was composed by Brumley in 1932. The company maintains that Brumley has owned the copyright to the song at all times.

Having been recorded over 500 times, "I'll Fly Away" is one of the most popular gospel songs in history. Among those who have released a version of it are Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Bill Monroe.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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