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Henley to Speak on Labor Law

Don Henley, Courtney Love to testify on California labor laws

August 24, 2001 12:00 AM ET

Don Henley and Courtney Love are scheduled to testify at a California Senate hearing on that state's contractual laws in Sacramento on September 5th.

The hearing will specifically examine the "Seven Year Statute," which limits personal service contracts to a maximum of seven years. While the statute has its roots in movie studio contracts, it was amended in 1987 to provide a limited exception for recording contracts. Courtney Love is currently involved in a lawsuit with Universal Records that speaks to this issue. Love is seeking to free her band Hole from its recording contract with Geffen Records under the Seven Year rule. Henley and Luther Vandross had been involved in similar lawsuits addressing that statute.

Chairing the hearing is California State Senator Kevin Murray, a former music agent for the William Morris Agency and personal manager and an attorney for both artists and small record companies. "Virtually every other industry in California -- with the exception of the record industry -- is held to personal-service contracts that cannot legally run longer than seven years," Murray said. "I am aware that there are two side to this issue, that is precisely the reason this hearing is necessary."

The hearing will also examine other issues facing the entertainment industry, including music and movie piracy and online music sharing.

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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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