Mick Jagger Wins Court Battle

Case focused on authorship of "Just Another Night"

Rolling Stones Mick Jagger
Dave Hogan/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Mick Jagger in 1987.
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Mick Jagger emerged as the victor in a highly publicized civil suit that charged him with stealing the song "Just Another Night" from an obscure reggae artist. Jagger's song appeared on his 1985 solo album She's the Boss.

A six-person jury in White Plains, New York, dismissed all copyright-infringement claims made by Patrick Alley, a Jamaican resident of the Bronx, who wrote his song "Just Another Night" in 1979 and recorded and released it four years later. In reaching its decision, the jury said Alley failed to prove that Jagger had ever heard or been aware of Alley's song.

Following the trial's conclusion, Jagger characterized himself as the victim of a spurious action. "I don't think the plaintiff really believed his song was stolen," said Jagger. "They saw a chance for themselves and were going to take it."

Among the highlights of the week-long case were three days of testimony by Jagger, who provided a rare glimpse into his work habits when he played a succession of homemade and studio tapes demonstrating the development of his song. Cross-examination by Alley's attorney – attempting to prove that Jagger could have heard Alley's song on the radio – provided one of the trial's lighter moments when Jagger admitted that he listens to a classical radio station when he wakes up. "I used to like to listen to rock music in the morning," said the singer, "but not anymore."

This story is from the June 2, 1988 issue of Rolling Stone.

From The Archives Issue 527: June 2, 1988