Johnny Depp recently won a significant legal victory over Amber Heard. Johnny went on with his life and began to create new things. He recently worked on an album with Jeff Beck, however, fans alleged that a song from the pair’s album 18 appeared to take several lines from Slim Wilson’s Hobo Ben without giving credit.
Representatives for Johnny Depp and Jeff Beck have stated that the pair will examine allegations that they stole lyrics from a poem written by an incarcerated guy and used them on their collaborative album, 18. Several lines from the poem Hobo Ben appeared in the song “Sad Motherf*ckin’ Parade.”
It also features a song by Slim Wilson, the alias of a self-proclaimed cheat and pimp who spent time for murder and armed robbery. Following publication, a spokesperson for Jeff Beck and Johnny Depp spoke to the Guardian to provide their side of the story.
“We are reviewing the inquiry relating to the song Sad Motherf*ckin’ Parade on the 18 album by Jeff Beck and Johnny Depp. If appropriate, additional copyright credits will be added to all forms of the album.”
Wilson met folklorist Bruce Jackson in a Missouri state penitentiary in 1964, and Jackson documented his poetry and toasts. A comic form of narrative Black folk poetry similar to hobo balladry was for his 1974 book on the latter, Get Your Ass in the Water and Swim Like Me. This was followed two years later by an album of the same name that Slim performed on.
“Ladies of culture and beauty so refined, is there one among you that would grant me wine?
I’m raggedy I know, but I have no stink
And God bless the lady that’ll buy me a drink.
Heavy-hipted Hattie turned to Nadine with a laugh
And said, ‘What that funky motherf*cker really need, child, is a bath.'”
Several lines from the song appeared in Depp and Beck’s Sad Motherf*ckin’ Parade, including the title, “I’m raggedy, I know, but I have no stink”, “God bless the lady that’ll buy me a drink”, and “what that funky motherf*cker really needs, child, is a bath.” “The only two lines I could find in the whole piece that [Depp and Beck] contributed are ‘big time motherf*cker’ and ‘bust it down to my level,'” Jackson, a professor at the University of Buffalo, told Rolling Stone.
“Everything else is from Slim’s performance in my book. I’ve never encountered anything like this. I’ve been publishing stuff for 50 years, and this is the first time anybody has just ripped something off and put his own name on it.”
The album’s liner notes credit Beck and Depp as the only songwriters. The original authorship of Hobo Ben, a work passed down through a competitive oral tradition, may be impossible to trace, as may copyright ownership. Jackson’s son, Michael Lee Jackson, said they were exploring possible legal options.
“They do not reflect the actual authorship of those lyrics. It’s just not plausible, in my opinion, that Johnny Depp or anybody else could have sat down and crafted those lyrics without almost wholly taking them from some version of my father’s recording and/or book where they appeared.”
As the author of Get Your Ass in the Water, Jackson owns the copyright on the toast transcriptions, making him the author under US law, according to lawyer Kevin J Greene, who added that it may be more of an ethical problem – not covered by US copyright law – than a legal one. The author told Rolling Stone about album 18.
“I don’t know if this record is selling. I’ve seen some reviews that I’d be very embarrassed to have gotten had they been my album. But if it is selling, Johnny Depp is making a lot of money on it. Should it go to him, or should it go to some place that helps the people who produced this culture?”
Let’s see where they end up. If anything, Johnny Depp is no stranger to litigation if it gets to that point. To get the latest updates, keep an eye on Thirsty.
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