Steel Town Original Cast Album is available for download.
This is the title of a presentation I’ll be giving at the Stockton International Riverside Festival on July 31st 2009. More details on venue e.t.c. to follow.
“Creating a hit song, or several can be a rewarding experience, however the song will be published, performed, recorded and sold globally. Keeping up with where the song goes, and making sure copyright is intact proves a very interesting journey for song writer Steve Thompson.
Not just in the field of writing and publishing, but as a producer and arranger for other bands and singers. Years of experience in the music industry provides a fascinating web of interwoven stories within the music industry. He takes the journey with his long established lawyer, Simon Long of Collins Long (London) with fascinating insights into the music industry, publishing and what happens once the song is internationally renowned and played, plus his own personal journey of defending his copyright with the help of Simon Long from vinyl to social media and downloading. This will be a highly entertainingevent with some very interesting stories”.
Further to this story, I finally got an answer from MySpace re their removal of one of my songs. They suggested I write to Sony BMG which I did. I wrote the following
I am the composer of “Ne Me Plaignez Pas” recorded by Celine Dion in 1983. It was originally released by Sheena Easton in 1982 under the title “Please Don’t Sympathise”
I added the Celine Dion recording of Ne Me Plaignez Pas as a non downloadable example of my work as a songwriter. Whilst I accept that I do not own the copyright of the recording or Celines performance I DO own the copyright of the song (I am it’s publisher) The recording is 26 years old and I am not misrepresenting myself, nor am I making money from having it on MySpace and I don’t think I am negatively affecting your rights or financial situation. Given all this I wonder if you would write to MySpace (their suggestion) and ask that they unblock the content. (or allow me to upload it again)
My MySpace URL is http://www.myspace.com/stmedia2
As an artist myself I can assure you that I take copyright very seriously. In this instance I think there is a little scope for leeway.
Sony BMG saw sense in my argument and sent me a long and eloquent response 🙂 they said – “you should be able to upload it now”
I still had to take the MySpace “copyright education program” which was complete and utter bollocks. One page of trivial questions and answers (they provide all the answers) and you tick OK at the bottom. None of the questions related to me so I just ticked anyway.
You can see all the Myspace Stuff by clicking on the “read more” link.
I have sent MySpace a complaint about cyber bullying on their site. The cyber bully in question is MySpace themselves with their sledgehammer and nut tactics.
They have summarily removed one of my tracks with no discussion and no right to appeal. I own the copyright in the song in question. The song is Ne Me Plaignes Pas recorded by Celine Dion.
They add insult to injury by lecturing me on copyright. They clearly have not read the contents of my site; I’m no stranger to copyright. And then they say I now have to go on MySpace’s “Copyright Education Program” before I can ever upload anything again – no thanks!
Copyright is a moral and ethical issue as well as a financial one. I have done nothing morally or ethically wrong. You may have spotted this disclaimer on my site “Sound clips on this site are either my own copyright or I have some connection with the track. I have mostly used only short clips of tracks to give a flavour of it. It is not my intention to abuse the copyrights of others.”
Financially it’s another story. The track was not downloadable and I was making no money from having it on MySpace. The recording is 26 years old and long past its big money earning period. I am making no impact on Celine’s bank balance whatever nor that of her record company, indeed I may have encouraged a few sales of compilation CD’s.
In 1982 I had my biggest hit with Hurry Home by Wavelength which went top 20. Soon after I had a hit in Canada which seemed less significant at the time, except how were we to know that the singer was to become one of the most successful recording artists in the world. You may have heard the story of how Rene Angelil mortgaged his house to fund Celine’s early career! Well Celine set out on her dream of international stardom armed with one of my songs? Ne me Plaignez Pas ! – I think I deserve better treatment. Celine recorded the song in 1983 having heard Sheena Eastons 1982 recording of my song “Please Don’t Sympathise” (the English version) Shena’s version is still on MySpace (for now)
Bizarrely you can still here the song on MySpace via the YouTube Videos I posted. Click here.
My Space www.myspace.com/stmedia2
|I had a great time over the past two days with my fellow artists from the WMDJ Voices project. This is a multi media project with Photographer, Peter Dixon and poet, Tom Kelly. Click herefor more information. The WMDJ ìbandî pictured right (click image to enlarge) spent the last two days working on the upcoming exhibition, exploring and gathering extra material in Teesside and County Durham We also visited the first two venues of the tour and laid some ideas and plans as it will be slightly different in every venue. Several other North East venues are interested in having the exhibition. Today Tom recorded the voice/poem for a piece called ìThe Last Dayî and this was done on the very location of the subject matter, the exit of the workforce on the last day of Consett Iron Works. Here it is ñ click here ñ in the raw and you can hear the wind howling from that bleak location. Click here to watch WMDJ – The Story. (Youtube Video)
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Through the wonders of T’internet my very first publisher Brian Oliver made contact recently. I’d had songs published and recorded before this was the first time I’d had a relationship with a publisher that to my mind is how it should work. Brian was constanly enthusiastic but equal in his criticism and commendation of my work. He was forever making suggestions for new songs and calling for re-writes and re-workings of material.
We’re just starting out on a new partnership and after some 25 years I find his enthusiasm and his demands for re-writes and more, more, more material have not waned at all. This is proving to be a very exciting time.
Way back in those days Brian used to be always calling for re-writes. He called me up one day and said “you’ve just written a hit”. He then went on to say that it was the verse of one song and the chorus of another and could I sort of just “join them together”. Of course I did so and the resulting song was a minor hit single and went Gold on a compilation album. You will find that song HERE
Another time we were sat in a pub in London and he declared that I coudl take my titles for songs from absolutely anywhere. He pointed to a sign on the wall and said, “for instance you could write a song called The Prince of Wales“. My eyes aligted on the sign below this and I declared that I would write a song on that title instead. I described the story that the title evoked and I went home the next day and wrote it. This too became a hit. CLICK HERE
Another fruitful suggestion by Brian led to some most interesting situations. I had recoded a multitude of songs and many of them were sung by The Caffrey Brothers, three real brothers with a great harmony blend. Brian suggested I form a band around the brothers and told me I had to be in it (I had at that time retired from performing) He then trouped up a series of record companies and producers to the North East that finally resulted in THIS
Brians latest publishing venture is called “Heart2Heart Music”., Watch this space!
[edited to add] Met with Brian recently in a London pub. We discussed our strategy for our latest onslaught on the pop music world. Later we noticed to our horror that the pub wasn’t sporting a single discernable song title on it’s walls. Sign of the times? Shortly aftwards he’s at it again asking for the verse of one song to be added to the chorus of another. Some things never change.
The drummer of my first band has a site telling the story here. Our old (no pun intended) agent Ivan Birchall signed his guestbook and since then both Jim and I have been in touch by email. I told a couple of stories relating to Ivan on Jims site here and here For some reason I was either charged with or took on the role of dealing with bookings etc and I well remember climbing the stairs to the Ivan Birchall Entertainments offices off the Bigg Market in Newcastle to see if there were any new gigs or to pick up contracts. I’m delighted to find that Ivan has fond memories of me and my band because I would have thought the sullen and very serious teenager I was would have left a far different impression on him.
|A new piece entitled “Life” has been added to the Voices project. You will find it here http://www.stmedia.org/wmdj/jarrow.html.
WMDJ held a “band meeting” in Durham this week in the fabulous Gala Theatre. Much progress was made with some artistic and business decisions ironed out. The trio are working on a DVD and booklet to be released at the end of October 06. This will be distributed to interested venues of which there are currently eight including the gala.
The tour of galleries is likely to begin mid 2007. Check out the Durham pics below. Visit the bands website
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preparations – the anecdotes
Jackie – direction
Consett Petrol Staying
LWAW – vid – Engineering Shop, Castleside – Images from Failklands, GI Bride
In the late 70’s early 80’s I was house producer at Impulse Studios (Neat Records) in Wallsend.
Around this time Tony McPhee of the Groundhogs came in to record a couple of tracks. He needed a band so I booked my mate Paul Smith on drums and I played bass.
I got to be a Groundhog for a day! We cut two tracks, ìBorn To Be With Youî and ìToo Badî. I have no idea what happened with the tracks and whether they got released or not.
You can check them out for yourself below:-
The Groundhogs Mk2