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1991.06.09 - Los Angeles Times - To Geffen, the Leak of 'Bad Apple' Has a Rotten Core

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1991.06.09 - Los Angeles Times - To Geffen, the Leak of 'Bad Apple' Has a Rotten Core

Post by Blackstar on Tue Sep 11, 2018 2:09 am

To Geffen, the Leak of 'Bad Apple' Has a Rotten Core
June 09, 1991|PATRICK GOLDSTEIN


How did a number of major rock stations across the country, including Cleveland's top-rated WMMS-FM, obtain an unauthorized early copy of a new song from Guns N' Roses' long-awaited new Geffen Records album?

Geffen execs, who filed cease-and-desist orders against the stations last month forcing them to stop playing the track, "Bad Apple," now say the song wasn't leaked to radio by just anybody. It came from a rival record company promotion man, who gave the bootleg tape to the stations in exchange for promises of airplay for one of his current singles.

Excuse us--but who was saying "Hit Men" was all an exaggeration?

"We have sworn testimony from radio station staffers saying the Guns N' Roses tape came from a Mercury Records national promotion staffer named Douglas Burton," explained Al Coury, general manager of Geffen Records.

"It's bad enough that we had radio stations playing a rough mix of a song that wasn't finished--and was months away from release. But then to have the leak come from an employee at another record company, who tried to use it to get airplay for one of his acts, is just outrageous. It's like falling off a bridge--and then have someone run you over too!"

According to Norman Beil, Geffen's general counsel, the label sent a letter Monday to Mercury Records, saying it had "definitively linked" Burton to the GNR tape leak. "We've asked Mercury to provide us with information explaining who he obtained the tape from and who he distributed copies to," Beil said. "We are also asking Mercury to reimburse us for legal fees and any expenses incurred in obtaining the cooperation of the radio stations."

Asked what Geffen would do if Mercury refuses to cooperate, Beil responded: "We'd sue them--and we'd sue them very quickly."

Mercury co-president Mike Bone refused to comment on the Geffen charges, except to say that as of Wednesday, he had not received any letter from Geffen about any Mercury links to the leak.

In the past, record companies have often threatened legal action--or sought temporary restraining orders preventing radio stations from playing pre-release copies of a superstar band's new product. But in virtually all instances, the tapes were final versions of material that surfaced only a few days--or perhaps a week--before the official release date. (Guns N' Roses' album is still being mixed and isn't scheduled for release until early September.)

However, industry insiders say the Geffen legal threat aimed at Mercury represents an escalation beyond the usual executive feuds and media backbiting that often occurs between record labels. "This probably is precedent setting," Coury said. "But we had no reservations about it. By distributing these tapes, you cheat our artist out of the opportunity to present their finished work to their fans. We felt we had to take a stand."

Coury pointed out that Mercury is part of the PolyGram family of record labels, which also includes Island Records, who recently threatened legal action against bootleggers selling pirated copies of an unfinished U2 album. "It's very ironic, to say the least, that they've had the same problem we've had and yet they still have an employee who's giving pirated tapes of our band to radio stations. Of all people, they should know what a serious matter it is to steal someone's work and present it to the public before it's finished."

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Re: 1991.06.09 - Los Angeles Times - To Geffen, the Leak of 'Bad Apple' Has a Rotten Core

Post by Blackstar on Tue Sep 11, 2018 2:14 am

On April 9, 1991, ASCAP had sent a letter to radio and TV stations prohibiting the broadcasting of leaked tracks from the yet unreleased Use Your Illusion albums.

Many thanks to [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] for sharing this with us, and for the amazing collection of GN'R memorabilia he has made available on his site. The original image of the ASCAP letter can be found here:
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American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers
 
Lenore R. Greenberg
Manager
Index Department
 
April 9, 1991
No. 13502
 
To All Licensed Radio, Television Stations and Cable Program Services
 
Effective immediately, until 10:00 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, June 13, 1991, the following compositions from the Guns N’ Roses albums “Use Your Illusions I and II” are restricted for broadcasting and cablecasting, and you do not have permission under your ASCAP license agreement to perform these works:
 
“YOU COULD BE MINE”                    “PRETTY TIED UP”
“RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO HELL”           “PERFECT CRIME”
“BACK OFF BITCH”                         “AIN’T GOING DOWN”
“BAD OBSESSION”                          “DUST & BONES”
“COMA”                                        “BAD APPLES”
“WHY DO YOU LOOK AT ME”             “GARDEN OF EDEN”
“DON’T DAMN ME”                          “YESTERDAY”
“LOCOMOTIVE”                              “SO FINE”
“BREAKDOWN”                               “SHOTGUN BLUES”
“DOUBLE TALKIN’ JIVE”                    “THE GARDEN”
“YOU AIN’T THE FIRST”                   “NOVEMBER RAIN”
“14 YEARS”                                   “DEAD HORSE”
“ESTRANGED”                                “CIVIL WAR”
 
In addition, the composition “DON’T CRY” by Guns N’ Roses is restricted until 10:00 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, June 6, 1991.
 
Sincerely,
Lenore R. Greenberg
LRG/lm
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Re: 1991.06.09 - Los Angeles Times - To Geffen, the Leak of 'Bad Apple' Has a Rotten Core

Post by Blackstar on Tue Sep 11, 2018 2:25 am

Regarding the song list in the ASCAP letter:
- The non inclusion of the two covers (Live And Let Die and Knockin' On Heaven's Door) can be explained by the different ownership of copyright. Same with the other covers that were recorded during the Illusion sessions and ended up on "The Spaghetti Incident?"
- The only other two Use Your Illusion songs missing from the list are Don't Cry alt. lyrics (although it might have been considered as the same composition) and My World. This probably means that they weren't written/recorded yet.
- It includes Ain't Going Down, so it seems it was initially intended to be on the albums.
-Get In The Ring was still going by its original title (Why Do You Look At Me).
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Re: 1991.06.09 - Los Angeles Times - To Geffen, the Leak of 'Bad Apple' Has a Rotten Core

Post by Soulmonster on Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:44 am

Could it be that Knockin' was already out there as a single?
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Re: 1991.06.09 - Los Angeles Times - To Geffen, the Leak of 'Bad Apple' Has a Rotten Core

Post by Blackstar on Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:20 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:Could it be that Knockin' was already out there as a single?

It could be. But Civil War was also released at that time as a track on the Nobody's Child compilation, yet it's included in the list.
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Re: 1991.06.09 - Los Angeles Times - To Geffen, the Leak of 'Bad Apple' Has a Rotten Core

Post by Soulmonster on Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:01 pm

That's true. Hmm.
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Re: 1991.06.09 - Los Angeles Times - To Geffen, the Leak of 'Bad Apple' Has a Rotten Core

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