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The Artist Sued Over Royalties

October 31, 1997 12:00 AM ET

The Artist formerly known as Prince is being sued by song-plugger and veteran publisher Dale Kawashima for alleged unpaid commissions.

Filed Tuesday (October 28) in the Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles, the suit, which seeks unspecified punitive damages and legal fees, stems from Kawashima's song-placement efforts from November 1981 to September 1987 on behalf of the Artist and his publishing company, Controversy Music.

The suit, which claims that a written agreement securing Kawashima's services was prepared but remained unsigned, states that Kawashima received commission checks on mechanical royalties and synchronization fees (40 percent of the publisher's share or 20 percent of the gross) until April 15, 1994 -- payments which serve as an acceptance of the agreement in writing, according to the suit. The suit also states that Kawashima has not received any of the commissions due him for the past seven statement periods.

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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