George Clinton Loses Songs

Judge rules that funk legend signed away music rights in 1983 contract

January 30, 2001 12:00 AM ET

A Florida judge ruled that Parliament/Funkadelic founder George Clinton is not entitled to the rights to the music that he wrote in the late Seventies and early Eighties.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled on January 29th that the music written by Clinton between 1976 and 1983 belonged to Bridgeport Music, a Michigan-based publishing company. According to the judge, Clinton signed the rights away to his work in a 1983 contract. Hinkle also prevented Clinton from profiting from the songs, ruling that the singer did not disclose them in his 1984 bankruptcy filing as a source of possible future income.

Clinton argued that he had never signed a valid contract and thus was entitled to income from the songs. He also claimed in his lawsuit, filed in 1999, that he was deprived of money when a number of rap musicians used samples of his old songs but did not pay him fees.

A handwriting expert was called into the case and testified that the signature from 1983 was most likely Clinton's, refuting his claim that he did not sign the contract. According to Bridgeport president Armen Boladian, who testified at the trial, Clinton signed the deal so the company could retrieve more than a million dollars advanced to him during his financial troubles during in the Eighties.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

More Song Stories entries »