About six weeks after selling his entire catalog to Universal Music Publishing Group, in a deal that was reportedly worth over $300 million, Bob Dylan is facing a $7.25 million suit from the estate of songwriter, theater director, and psychologist Jacques Levy.
Jacques Levy’s wife, Claudia Levy, recently submitted the multimillion-dollar complaint against Bob Dylan to the New York State Supreme Court. Levy, who cowrote seven of the nine tracks on Dylan’s 1976 Desire album, signed a contract guaranteeing him 35 percent “of any and all income earned by the compositions,” according to the suit. Nevertheless, Levy’s estate didn’t receive a payment from UMPG’s aforementioned Bob Dylan catalog buyout, per the plaintiffs.
Among the seven Desire tracks that Jacques Levy helped pen are “Hurricane,” “Isis,” “Mozambique,” and “Joey.” During a 2009 interview, Bob Dylan noted that Levy himself had written the latter song’s lyrics, and that he (Dylan) “just sang” the approximately 10-minute-long work.
Levy, who passed away in 2004, also directed Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue tour, and his wife said in a recent sit down that he had “worked all the time” on the concert series, which kicked off in October of 1975 and wrapped in May of 1976. Separately, the estate of Jacques Levy maintains in the complaint that it hadn’t immediately received payments from other projects, including Desire placements in Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese.
At the time of this piece’s writing, neither the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Bob Dylan nor Universal Music Group had commented publicly on the case from Jacques Levy’s estate. More broadly, UMPG’s Bob Dylan catalog acquisition is the latest in a long line of high-profile music-IP investments – including many such deals that have come to fruition in the last month or so.
Two days ago, Round Hill Music acquired the back catalog of Collective Soul and closed a futures deal with the Atlanta-based rock band’s frontman and primary songwriter, Ed Roland. Mick Fleetwood sold his recorded catalog to BMG one week back, and three days prior to that, Round Hill Music bought the catalog of veteran songwriter Jim Vallance.
Lastly, Hipgnosis today announced that it had secured 100 percent of Bob Rock’s production credits on Metallica/The Black Album (1991) as well as four Michael Bublé efforts, for a total of 43 songs. On the year, the Merck Mercuriadis-founded fund has unveiled agreements with Lindsey Buckingham, Jimmy Iovine, Neil Young, and Shakira.