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Books

Copyright: the great rock’n’roll swindle

In One for the Money, Clinton Heylin reveals how musicians are constantly stealing songs from each other — and then suing for ownership

4 July 2015

9:00 AM

4 July 2015

9:00 AM

It’s One for the Money: The Song Snatchers Who Carved Up a Century of Pop & Sparked a Musical Revolution Clinton Heylin

Constable, pp.461, £20, ISBN: 9781472111906

For a music fan, the quiz question, ‘Who wrote “This Land is Your Land”?’ might seem laughably easy. Yet if you answered ‘Woody Guthrie’, I’m afraid you only get half marks. Guthrie did write the lyrics, but following his normal practice he set them to an existing melody — in this case that of the Carter Family’s ‘When the World’s on Fire’, which they’d got from their friend Lesley Riddle, who may well have found it somewhere else.

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