Songwriter Earl Shuman Sues Alicia Keys Over Girl on Fire

"She's a lonely girl
In a lonely world."

Those two lines are the basis of a copyright lawsuit by Earl Shuman against Alicia Keys.

Those lines come from Shuman's song Lonely Boy which he write in 1962 with Leon Carr and became a number 2 hit in 1970 for Eddie Holman as Hey There Lonely Girl.  

It's also a line out of Alicia Keys latest hit Girl on Fire, one which Shuman feels is too close to his original. The songwriters wasn't even aware of the situation with the songs until he read an article on Roger Friedman's site. On November 25, Friedman wrote:
The credits do include a nod to “The Big Beat” by Billy Squiers, upon which the whole drumline is apparently based. There’s another sample that doesn’t seem to be credited anywhere unless I’ve totally missed it. In the middle of the song, Alicia sings a couplet or so from Eddie Holman’s 1970 classic “Hey There Lonely Girl.” The song was written by Leon Carr and Earl Shuman, who are both gone to rock and rock and roll heaven. (...)

Keys only uses two seconds of the original, but it helps make her record. It’s not the same as when she remade The Main Ingredient’s “Let Me Prove My Love to You” into “You Don’t Know My Name,” but it’s still prominent for anyone who grew up during the classic era of R&B.
In his lawsuit, Shuman references Friedman's posts before stating that all of the defendants (Keys, songwriters Salaam Remi and Billy Kravan and Sony Music) have infringed on his copyright and is seeking damages, profits and interest.

Here is the complete filing, courtesy of the Hollywood Reporter.

Schuman's hits include Seven Lonely Days (Georgia Gibbs), Left Right Out of Your Heart (Patti Page) and Hotel Happiness (Brook Benton).

1 comment

jimbo said...

didn't know there was rap in 1962, I was listening to elvis hank and Aretha franklin. in 1970 it was steppinwolf, Jackson and porter wagner. I guess she took a nouthing line from a nouthing song and made a hit. your lifes retired, let the girl have hers, Alicia is freakin amazing, best female artist I've heard since Diana ross. she owes you nouthing, you should be proud to have her talent associated with yours. be nice and maybe she'll buy a song from you.

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