You probably heard that the baby from the cover of the classic Nirvana album Nevermind sued the band, alleging that he was a victim of child pornography.
Spencer Elden, now 30, finally spoke up about featuring on the 1991 cover, asking for at least $150,000 in damages.
Reaction to the lawsuit, which came out of the blue, was mixed. Some backed Elden (who has a ‘Nevermind’ tattoo on his chest) while others dismissed it as a silly case destined to fail.
It got us thinking about other music lawsuits that have happened over the years. Take a look below at five of the most surprising music lawsuits and tell us if we missed any other ludicrous ones!
Beastie Boys versus a random Jazz dude
Back in 2002, jazz musician James Newton wasn’t too happy with the hip hop trio. He sued them for using three notes from his composition ‘Choir’ in their track ‘Pass the Mic’.
Here’s the kicker: the Beastie Boys actually paid Newton’s record label for the sample but Newton wanted more, arguing that he also deserved a songwriting credit and royalties. The judge, realising that a minuscule flute riff doesn’t equate to an entire song, unsurprisingly ruled against Newton.
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Bill Wyman versus, um, Bill Wyman
I like my name. I think it’s a strong name. If I found out someone across the world had the same name, I’d be a bit peeved. What I wouldn’t do, though, is sue them for having the audacity to share the name with me. Bill Wyman, former bassist of The Rolling Stones, thought differently when he discovered that an American film and music critic was also called Bill Wyman.
He issued a cease-and-desist order to the writer, asking him to stop being Bill Wyman but his employers, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution decided not to respond to the whinging musician’s lawyers. Oh and by the way, Rolling Stone Bill Wyman was actually born William George Perks.
Jay-Z versus a small restaurant in Newcastle
Chef Terry Miller was understandably ecstatic back in 2005 when he won the U.K. cooking competition show Hell’s Kitchen. He took his prize money and invested it in a restaurant in his hometown, naming it Rockafella. On the opposite side of the Atlantic, Jay-Z somehow got wind of the restaurant’s name and the lawyers for his record label, Roc-A-Fella Records, contacted Miller, claiming that the name of his restaurant infringed upon their copyright.
Incredibly the legal battle raged for years, even after Miller’s restaurant closed its doors in 2008. In the end, Miller lost and was blocked from using the name Rockafella for his catering business. What a useless ordeal. I hope Jay-Z is never allowed to set foot in Newcastle for his cheek.
Chubby Checker versus a penis-measuring app
The rocker whose name you can never forget, most famous for his 1958 classic song ‘The Twist’, was irate in 2013 when he discovered there was a new app for measuring your penis which had the name ‘The Chubby Checker’. He claimed the app, which supposedly let users estimate penis size based on a man’s shoe size, caused “irreparable damage and harm” to his name, making it associated with “obscene sexual connotation and images”.
A man named Chubby Checker being shocked when his name was used in a lewd manner. Sure, checks out. By 2014, Chubby and the company responsible for the app, Hewlett-Packard, settled, but the app had already been withdrawn, leaving men the world over to get the ol’ measuring tape out instead.
Slipknot versus Burger King
The metal legends found beef with the fast food chain in 2005 after Burger King started using a fictional rock band, called Coq Roq, in their adverts. Slipknot threatened to sue them for using a “look-alike, sound-alike ‘band’ in order to influence the Slipknot generation to purchase chicken fries”. Come on Slipknot, take a joke.