Who's Suing Whom: Bitter symphony as The Verve is sued by Oldham

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The Independent Online
ANDREW LOOG OLDHAM, the mythic 1960s pop svengali who discovered and produced the Rolling Stones, is suing The Verve's record company for at least three quarters of a million pounds. Mr Oldham claims that the contemporary band's biggest hit "Bitter Sweet Symphony" uses a theme composed by Mr Oldham in 1963.

The Verve, a "Britpop" rock band from Wigan, had a huge global hit with "Bitter Sweet Symphony" in the summer of 1997. Their album containing the track was still in the top 30 last October. They and their record company Virgin have never disputed that the orchestral theme of the song was borrowed from a version of the Stones classic "The Last Time", recorded by "The Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra" in the early 1960s.

Virgin and the band believed that Decca, the Stones' original record company, owned the recording of Mr Oldham's version, which he composed and performed. They paid an agreed royalty to Decca before "Bitter Sweet Symphony" was released.

A full 18 months later Mr Oldham, who has lived in Bogota, Columbia, for the past 15 years, slapped a writ on Virgin in the London High Court, claiming he owned the recording, not Decca.

The former rock manager is demanding damages and an injunction forbidding the further sale of The Verve's song.

Coincidentally, the publishing royalties to "The Last Time" belong to a subsequent manager of the Stones, Allan Klein, who also went on to manage The Beatles. Mr Klein is not involved in the legal dispute.

STOCK AITKEN & Waterman, the songwriting and production partnership who dominated the 1980s pop charts with acts such as Bananarama, Kylie Minogue and Rick Astley, are being sued by their former solicitors over unpaid bills.

The London law firm Clintons recently issued a winding up petition against Stock Aitken & Waterman Productions Ltd (SAWPL), their former client. The case is due to come to the High Court next Wednesday.

The music partnership, now dissolved, originally consisted of Mike Scott, Matthew Aitken and Peter Waterman. The hugely lucrative "hit factory" made millions of pounds in the second half of the 1980s and first half of the 1990s.

Then, when the songwriters went their separate ways, a number of legal issues needed to be resolved. In July 1997 Stock Aitken & Waterman Productions, which no longer included Mr Waterman, instructed Clintons to sue two companies formerly owned by Mr Waterman for over pounds 1m. SAWPL claimed that PAL Productions and PWL Records owed a total of pounds 1,060,800 in loans to it, and demanded repayment.

Last week a spokesman for Clintons said: "We no longer act for Stock Aitken & Waterman Productions because they failed to discharge accounts. We have issued a winding up petition against them."

SAWPL has since retained another London law firm to represent them, Schilling & Lom. Schilling & Lom was unable to comment on the case.

A BRITISH investor who lives in Perigeux, France, is suing Prudential- Bache Securities (UK) and one of its employees, Margery Beutell, over a $500,000 investment scheme that went wrong.

Charles Alan Lawson is claiming pounds 61,525 from Ms Beuteil and further unspecified damages from both her and Pru-Bache over a scheme set up in 1994 to invest in bank instruments.

In a writ issued on Mr Lawson's behalf in London by his solicitors Dowse Baxter, he claims that "in the event it transpired that the scheme was bogus and fraudulent".

The investor also claims that the two financial advisers who devised the scheme, Paul Barnes-Taylor and Edwin Wilkinson, were made bankrupt following its collapse. Mr Lawson says that he first engaged Ms Beutell as his financial adviser in 1993.

He stipulated that she would only recommend investments that balanced income and growth, were not speculative, had been adequately researched and were sound investments.

The following year Ms Beutell introduced Mr Lawson to Mr Barnes-Taylor, whom she had known for 20 years. Mr Barnes-Taylor proposed that Mr Lawson invest in a financial derivative by joining a syndicate of "very rich individuals".

At a subsequent lunch with Mr Lawson at Drones restaurant in London, Ms Beutell said she thought the scheme "sufficiently good to recommend it to the widow of her former direct supervisor at Pru-Bache, Mr Will Custard".

But soon after Mr Lawson had invested his $500,000, he says, the scheme went belly up. He is seeking his money back.

MARINE MIDLAND, a wholly- owned subsidiary of HSBC, is suing a New York investment house and an individual for a total of $6,292,718.94, in respect of a Supreme Court judgement.

Marine Midland has also included Barclays Bank in the action in order to gain access to confidential information held by Barclays concerning the case.

The two defendants are Phoenix Investment International Inc, based in New York, and Mohnish Mohan, an individual, of Madison Avenue, New York.