Rolling Stones threaten legal action over new swinging 60s musical Carnaby Street


The Rolling Stones are threatening legal action to halt a new musical set in London's Swinging 60s heyday which is set to include one of their biggest hits.

Carnaby Street: The Musical will feature 30 classic rock tracks including “Let's Spend the Night Together”, the Stones' 1967 song.

The producers said they had gained permission from the Stones' new York-based publishers to use the track. It would be the first time a Stones song has been incorporated into a stage musical.

But although it is prominently advertised in the musical’s promotional material, "Let’s Spend The Night Together" is now unlikely to appear in Carnaby Street.

Jody Klein of ABKCO, which controls the publishing rights to the Stones song, told The Independent: “Discussions have taken place regarding the use of Abkco’s publishing properties in Carnaby Street: the Musical but, due to certain misrepresentations made by the show’s producers, negotiations have been terminated."

He continued: "It is ABKCO's assertion that the producers have exploited the circumstance to generate publicity for the show.” Klein is the son of Allen Klein, the band’s former business manager, who died in 2009.

Former EastEnders actor Sid Owen will star in the show, which is due to open at the Hackney Empire in April before going on a nationwide tour.

He plays a character called Jumpin' Jack, inspired by the 1968 Stones' song "Jumping Jack Flash".

The producers then hope to open Carnaby Street in the West End and are planning to roll out the show across the world.

But a source close to the Stones said: “Mick and Keith did not sanction the use of their music. They do not want to be associated with this musical. They believe they have the right to stop their song being used and are planning to take legal action to remove it from the soundtrack.”

The advertised soundtrack includes “You Really Got Me” by the Kinks and other era-defining hits by The Who, The Animals and Manfred Mann.

The show is the brainchild of veteran live music agent Carl Leighton-Pope, 67, who represents Bryan Adams and Michael Bublé.

A former cloakroom attendant at the Marquee Club music venue in the mid-Sixties, he spent ten years preparing the musical for the stage, basing the storyline on characters from his own experience.

The greatest challenge was getting permission to use the 60s landmark hits.

Bob Tomson, the show's director, who previously made Dreamboats and Petticoats a West End hit, said: “It took a lot of schmoozing but we got an agreement to use a Stones' song to a stage musical for the first time. The artists want to know their songs are being used in an appropriate context.”

The Stones were previously involved in a dispute over The Verve's Bitter Sweet Symphony hit, which sampled an orchestral version of their song, The Last Time. Klein's ABKCO Industries sued the Verve for 100% of the royalties, a decision which the Stones were powerless to prevent.

Ray Davies is believed to  be considering an offer to write a new title song for Carnaby Street, in a classic 60s Kinks style. The Beatles baulked at allowing their songs to be used.

The producers wanted to include, “Do You Want to Know a Secret?”, a McCartney-Lennon, composition recorded by Billy J. Kramer in 1963.

Mr Tomson claimed: “Paul McCartney was keen but unfortunately it's out of his hands. Hopefully the publishers will see the show and change their minds.”        

Carnaby Street tells the story of Jude, a working class boy from Liverpool who travels to London with his best friend Penny Lane (Verity Rushworth) and his guitar, in search of fame and fortune.

A chance encounter with man-about-town Jumpin' Jack (Owen) leads to Jude joining a band led by a singer called “Wild Thing” at The Marquee Club, who tempts the ingénue with a life of sex, drugs and rock n'roll.

The show promises to celebrate the music and fashions of the swinging 60s, with a “pop-up” Carnaby Street retro clothes store opening alongside its run.

Mr Leighton-Pope recalled the era. “I was walking down Carnaby Street once in 1964 and Mick Jagger was standing outside the Lady Jane  boutique. Then a Mini pulled up and Macca and Jane Asher got out.

”We didn't see them as famous people then, it was just how life was in those days. It was a carefree time and I thought someone had to capture that world - the music, the girls and the fashion - before we all get too old and boring.“

Carnaby Street aims to follow the West End success of ”jukebox musicals“ including the 50s-era Dreamboats And Petticoats and Rock Of Ages, based on the ”hair-metal“ heavy metal hits of the 70s and 80s.

Carnaby Street opens at Hackney Empire on April 6 -

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