Spandau Ballet battle over fees in court

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The Independent Online
`TO CUT A LONG Story Short', as their very first single put it, the New Romantics have fallen out of love.

At the High Court in London yesterday, the pop star Gary Kemp, 38, sat grim-faced as three former colleagues from Spandau Ballet, one of the hit bands of the Eighties, claimed he had done them wrong.

Tony Hadley, vocals, 39, John Keeble, drums, 39, and Steve Norman, lead guitar and sax, 38, are embroiled in a bitter dispute over royalty cheques.

The members of Spandau Ballet were teenage friends who did their first concert under the unlikely name of The Roots while at school in Islington, north London. As The Roots they never made it but renamed Spandau Ballet, they became "a sensation".

"It seems to me an inspired name," the Judge, Mr Justice Park, said, in a brave attempt to show the judiciary's common touch. "A wonderful name".

From the start, Gary Kemp (his brother Martin, another Spandau star, who is now in BBC's EastEnders is not involved in the case) wrote the lyrics and the music. For this he received half the publishing royalties, and gave the other half to the rest of the band.

But where the dispute has arisen is whether this was a "gesture of pure generosity", as band manager Steve Dagger saw it, or whether it was, as the other members agreed, their share. They have received no publishing royalties since 1988.

Andrew Sutcliffe, for the three plaintiffs, said they contributed to the songs but the band was more than just music anyway. "The band's look was crucial to selling the band'ssongs," he said.

No figures were put before the court as to what the plaintiffs might hope to gain, although Mr Kemp is believed to have made millions and he clearly intends to keep them.

In a statement issued outside the court, he said: "It hasbesmirched the history of the band I was proud of."

The case continues.