Songwriter wins legal claim to UB40 hit

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The Independent Online
A poetess and songwriter yesterday won her High Court claim that she wrote the lyrics to a major chart hit by the pop group UB40 and is entitled to a cut of the royalties.

The judge, Mr Justice Harman - who added UB40 to his "never heard of them" list which in the past included Bruce Springsteen and soccer star Paul Gascoigne - held that Deborah Banks did write the words to "Don't Break My Heart", whichreached number three in the charts in 1985 and was featured on a number of the group's albums. The judge ruled that Miss Banks did not grant any licence to UB40 entitling the group to use the lyrics.

Now Miss Banks, of Moseley, Birmingham, who was not in court, will have to wait until after a further court hearing in the autumn to learn how much she is to receive. She sued the lead singer, Ali Campbell, and fellow band members James Brown, Robin Burnes, Earl Falconer, Norman Hassan, Brian Travers, Michael Virtue and Terence Wilson, and their companies Menwran and Fernscan.

Miss Banks, 38, said that in the early 1980s she was friendly with a singer, Javid Khan, who told her he was having trouble writing an appropriate song.

She wrote two for him, including "Don't Break My Heart", in which most of the words were hers. He said he would "see her right". He was paid pounds 10,000 by the group for the song on the understanding that he had written it. But she received no recognition for her work and no payment. Mr Khan, who had hoped to become a singer with UB40, denied that Miss Banks gave him the lyrics.