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Estates of Jimi Hendrix bassist, drummer can sue Sony for album rights – court

Reuters

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Estates of Jimi Hendrix bassist, drummer can sue Sony for album rights – court

FILE PHOTO: A woman paints graffiti of the rock star Jimi Hendrix, on the wall of a music shop in Malaga, southern Spain, February 18, 2015.

John Nazca/REUTERS

Companies Noel Redding Estate Ltd and Mitch Mitchell Estate Ltd are seeking a declaration that they own a share of the sound recording copyrights of the three Jimi Hendrix Experience albums

LONDON, United Kingdom – The estates of the British bassist and drummer in Jimi Hendrix’s band can sue Sony Music Entertainment seeking a share of the rights to three classic 1960s albums, London’s High Court ruled on Monday, January 29.

Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell joined The Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1966 and played on the group’s three studio albums Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold As Love and Electric Ladyland, released in 1967 and 1968.

The recordings feature “Hey Joe”, “Purple Haze”, “Foxy Lady, “The Wind Cries Mary” and other hits that helped usher in the psychedelic music age and made Hendrix a rock icon before his death in 1970 aged 27.

Redding and Mitchell died in 2003 and 2008, respectively, and their descendants later assigned any rights they might have had in the albums to two companies. 

The companies – Noel Redding Estate Ltd and Mitch Mitchell Estate Ltd – sued Sony in 2022 and are seeking a declaration that they own a share of the sound recording copyrights of the three Jimi Hendrix Experience albums.

Sony sought to have the case thrown out, in part because Redding and Mitchell both signed releases in the early 1970s agreeing not to sue the estate of the Seattle-born legend or any record companies distributing the three albums.

Redding received $100,000 in 1973 and Mitchell received $247,500 the following year to withdraw lawsuits in New York, which Sony’s lawyers said offered a complete defence to the new case in London.

But Judge Michael Green ruled on Monday that the lawsuit should be heard at a full trial, likely in 2025.

Sony did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lawrence Abramson, a lawyer at Keystone Law who represented the two companies, welcomed the ruling.

“No one is denying that Jimi Hendrix was one of, if not, the greatest guitarist of all time,” he said in a statement. 

“But he didn’t make his recordings alone and they could not have achieved any success without the contributions of Noel and Mitch.” – Rappler.com

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