Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have been hit with a copyright lawsuit alleging that their 2020 single, “Living in a Ghost Town,” uses material from two little-known songs by another artist.
The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are being sued for allegations of copyright infringement over their 2020 song, “Living in a Ghost Town,” the first new song from the rock legends in nearly ten years. The lawsuit, filed in New Orleans federal court by songwriter Sergio Garcia Fernandez, claims that Jagger and Richards “misappropriated” elements from two of his songs.
Fernandez, whose stage name is Angelslang, says in the lawsuit that he gave a demo CD to “an immediate family member” of Jagger and that “recognizable and key protected elements” from two of his songs, “So Sorry” from 2006, and “Seed of God” from 2007, appear in The Rolling Stones’ “Living in a Ghost Town,” released in 2020.
“The immediate family member … confirmed receipt … to the plaintiff via email, and expressed that the musical works of the plaintiff and its style was a sound The Rolling Stones would be interested in using,” wrote Fernandez’s lawyers, although public filings did not include a copy of the email from Jagger’s relative.
“Living in a Ghost Town” was released at the peak of the COVID-19 shutdowns in April 2020. It was the first entirely new material released by The Rolling Stones since 2012, reaching Number 3 on the Billboard Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart in May 2020.
But Fernandez’s lawsuit alleges that the song was created using key aspects of his songs, which he did not authorize and for which Jagger and Richards did not pay him, including the “vocal melodies, the chord progressions, the drum beat patterns, the harmonica parts, the electric bass line parts, the tempos, and other key signatures” from “So Sorry,” and the “harmonic and chord progression and melody from “Seed of God.”