K-TEL Ordered To Pay 8000 GBP|
On March 30, 1998, K-TEL was fined 8000 GBP and ordered to pay 1488 GBP in
costs after admitting to two charges under the Trade Descriptions Act of
supplying a CD with a false description. The charges stemmed from a 1996 CD
released by K-TEL, which claimed to be 1993 re-recordings of Mott The Hoople
songs that featured Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson. The case was brought by
Hampshire Trading Standards, after being informed by Ian Hunter's management
that the liner notes were innaccurate. Mott The Hoople fan Phil Holbrook had
notified Ian's managmeent of the situation.
<Picture: [Bogus K-TEL CD]>
In 1996, K-TEL released The Best Of Mott The Hoople (K-TEL ECD 3279). The
album contained re-recorded versions of Mott The Hoople songs, with liner
notes stating that 'In 1993, Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson reformed Mott The
Hoople and went back into the studio to re-record all their hits, together
with five new compositions.' The additional songs were credited to Gerry
Chapman and former Animal Danny McCulloch.
Michael Bromley-Martin, defending for K-TEL, told the court that the Mott The
Hoople material was purchased from McCulloch Chapman Music in the USA, along
with material by The New Animals, Paper Lace, and The Byrds. K-TEL negotiated
the deal with Danny McCulloch, who guaranteed the recordings were by the
original artist. Bromley-Martin stated that K-TEL had paid $75000 for the
tapes, had followed normal industry procedures, and were happy with the
authenticity of the songs. Bromley-Martin also stated that K-TEL had dealt
with McCulloch successfully in the past.
When initially contated by Ian Hunter's managment, K-TEL apparently stood
behind the CD. McCulloch claimed that Ian Hunter's voice had been remixed
along with a soundalike voice in order to strengthen it, and that the remixing
had been done with Ian Hunter's knowledge and permission. Bromley-Martin told
the court: 'It did not occur to K-TEL that he was putting forward recordings
that might not have been genuine.'
Due to the fact that K-Tel admitted guilt, Ian Hunter did not appear in court.
However, a written statement was presented. 'We had not recorded together
since 1989. I can categorically state that it is not me singing and that the
singer is deliberately trying to imitate me.'
The court was told that K-TEL had withdrawn the album last August, when they
realized that the album could not have been recorded in 1993. It had sold
approximately 1500 copies. Bromley-Martin told the court that they had tried
to contact McCulloch for 18 months, but that he had disappeared. He said that
if McCulloch could be found, K-TEL would instigate proceedings against him.
Other K-TEL Releases Questioned
The proceedings were covered extensively in the press, as The Times, The News,
and The Daily Mail all dedicated half a page to the story. The BBC 4 radio
program You and Yours dedicated over ten minutes to the case, and interviewed
both Phil Holbrook and Ian Hunter by phone. Ian told them: 'I picked it up on
the web, when some of the people who bought it were discussing it and were
saying 'I don't think this is the real thing'. I couldn't really believe it
because it was so blatant. I mean, usually it's a little more subtle than
that. I really don't know if I'm being diddled out of my royalties, they might
turn up sooner or later, but deception's a big thing. If Mott The Hoople were
to reform, and to do their previous hits, they would be offered a lot of money
to do that. This is like a 5000 quid job on a Saturday afternoon. We've had to
sit and twiddle our thumbs while people have gone out and bought it, and been
You and Yours went on to report that other K-TEL releases were being
questioned. A solicitor for The Village People was interviewed, and claimed
that a K-TEL CD by that group was also bogus. 'It would appear that someone
has duped the record company which we have sued, which is K-TEL, the same
company as in the Mott The Hoople case. If somebody wants to claim they have
an original artist's recording, they will either have a recording contract
with the artists, or receipts from the studio showing the artists were in
there.' The BBC program reported that no contracts were made available for
either Mott The Hoople or The Village People.
Other Bogus Mott The Hoople Releases
The K-TEL judgement has not ended the problem of bogus Mott The Hoople CDs. At
least five companies have licensed purported Mott The Hoople recordings (in
various forms) from McCulloch Chapman Music. Here is a summary of the
releases: The Best Of Mott The Hoople (UK K-TEL); All The Young Dudes (Denmark
Digimode); Dudes (UK Going For A Song); and The Magical Collection (Holland
ARC MEC 949074). The material has also been released in Germany, but I don't
have the details right now.