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(Posted: Nov. 29, 2004. Got a tip to share? Email us.)

We don't need no thought control (but royalties would be fine)
"Wall" vocalists seek payment 25 years later

Twenty-three former students of the Islington Green School in London have brought suit for what they claim are unpaid royalities for their work on Pink Floyd's hit single, "Another Brick in the Wall."

Working with royalties expert Peter Rowan, the former students are appealing to a music royalties society for what could amount to approximately £200 per person.

"Some of the kids have put in a claim for royalties due to session musicians for recordings played on the radio or broadcast since 1997," says Rowan. "We are going through the process of claiming now."

The suit hinges on the Copyright Act of 1997, which guarantees session musicians a percentage of royalties paid for broadcast rights.

So far, the only compensation for the students' work has been a £1,000 payment awarded to the school at the time the recording was made in 1979, along with a platinum record of the song given to the school.

The suit might be the last chapter in the unusual story of how this group of 13- and 14-year-old music students ended up singing the subversive chorus on one of Floyd's most popular songs.

The group was brought to nearby Brittania Row Studios by their music teacher, Alun Renshaw, at the request of the band's management and without permission of the headmistress, Margaret Maden.

"I viewed it as an interesting sociological thing and also a wonderful opportunity for the kids to work in a live recording studio," says Renshaw, now living in Australia. "We had a week where we practised around the piano at school, then we recorded it at the studios. I sort of mentioned it to the headteacher, but didn't give her a piece of paper with the lyrics on it."

"Alun Renshaw was a seriously good if somewhat anarchic music teacher," recalls Maden. "I was only told about it after the event, which didn't please me. But on balance it was part of a very rich musical education."

Maden refused to allow the students to appear on television singing the words that the Inner London Education Authority had termed "scandalous."

Lack of video evidence has made the students' case harder to prove.

(Thanks to Russ Gillett for the heads up. Got a tip to share? Email us.)

(Posted: Nov. 29, 2004)


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Updated: Oct. 8, 2005

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