Jackson Browne, J.D. Souther and Jack Tempchin settled a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Warner Bros. last week over unpaid royalties from songs they co-wrote on the Eagles’ Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975).
Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but the songwriters claimed that they were owed more than $10 million. The suit accused Warner Bros. Music of licensing two songs from the Eagles’ self-titled debut and two from 1974’s On the Border to one of its imprints, Elektra/Asylum, for inclusion on the band’s 1976 compilation. In the transfer from Warner to Elektra a static royalty was established for each time one of the songs was played, without regard to inflation. At 27 million copies sold and counting, Their Greatest Hits is the best-selling record in America according to the Recording Industry Association of America.
The four songs in question included “Take It Easy,” a song Browne co-wrote with Eagle Glenn Frey. The tune was the Eagles’ first hit single, climbing as high as Number Twelve in 1972, and it remained in the Top Forty for two months. Tempchin’s role in the suit focused on a pair of songs. He wrote “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and co-wrote “Already Gone” The songs worked their way up to Number Twenty-two and Number Thirty-two, respectively. Souther co-wrote “Best of My Love” with Frey and Don Henley. In December 1974, the track became the Eagles’ first Number One single and it spent more than three months in the Top Forty. Souther would go on to co-write some of the Eagles’ other hits including “Heartache Tonight” and “New Kid in Town.”