TMZ

Our TV Shows

Got a Tip?

Call TMZ at (888) 847-9869 or Click Here

Elton John

Hey Loser, I Didn't Steal Your Dumb Lyrics

8/13/2012 5:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0810_elton_john_getty
Elton John insists ... he did NOT steal the lyrics to his song "Nikita" -- especially not from some NO-NAME songwriter -- despite a recent lawsuit that says otherwise ... and now, Elton's asking for the suit to be thrown out of court.

TMZ broke the story ... a songwriter named Guy Hobbs sued Sir Elton back in April, claiming Elton jacked his song lyrics ... then used them to pen the chart-topping 1985 hit "Nikita" ... without Hobbs' knowledge or consent.

But Elton is firing back -- filing his own legal docs in response, claiming, "The suggestion that the Grammy-Award winning composer/lyricist team of Elton John and Bernie Taupin ... would need to copy these commonplace elements from [Hobbs'] lyrics is not only baseless and absurd, but it also misses the essential legal point."

Which is ... Hobbs can't legally copyright an idea -- especially not something as broad as a theme involving a Western man falling for a Russian woman.

According to the docs, Hobbs believes Elton also copied his use of the EXTREMELY commonplace phrase "I need you" in the chorus ... as well as the words "just" and "never."

Bottom line -- Elton claims Hobbs' complaint is so vague ... the guy has no right to sue for copyright infringement, period.

Elton wants Hobbs' lawsuit dismissed stat. A judge has yet to rule.

0524_elton_john_performance_pictures_footer

42 COMMENTS

No Avatar
31.

MJF    

who cares...song bits

748 days ago
32.

Macklin Crewe    

When did Elton become such a pompous *******? I believe Elton wouldn't steal anything ... intentionally. but he certainly is bad mouthing everyone lately and frankly, I'm still upset about performing at Rush's Wedding.

747 days ago
33.

Guy Hobbs    

As TMZ.com appears to be feeding the world media with this ongoing story, I thought it might be helpful to put a few facts on the table.

I wrote my lyric when working on a Russian cruise ship in 1982. It was called Natasha. It was 3 years before Nikita was written. I registered it 2.5 years before Nikita was registered.

My song was about 'Impossible love between a Western man and a Russian during the Cold War'. The hook was "Natasha the freedom you will never know" - Elton's song was about ... "Impossible love between a Western man and a Russian during the Cold War". His hook was "Nikita you will never know".

The structure of my lyric was about all the things that would "never" happen between the 2 lovers because the Cold War kept them apart. I used the repetition of "never" 11 times - his song used "never" 12 times.

Both lyrics also repeated the Russian lover's name repeatedly - mine 13 times, his 14 times.

Most of his chorus has roots in my chorus. An idea may not be copyrightable but the expression of an idea certainly is.

A linguistic forensic analysis of the 2 lyrics shows that 50% of his lyric is linked with my lyrics.

3 leading experts in forensic linguistics, forensic musicology and copyright have found the 2 lyrics to be "substantially similar".

I sent my lyrics to Elton and Bernie 4 months before they wrote Nikita. Except I didn't know this because I sent it to a publishing company called Big Pig. I only learned 17 years later that Big Pig is Elton and Bernie's personal company that they use to publish their songs.

By all normal song writing conventions I should have been included as a co-writer of Nikita. Regrettably, Elton and Bernie decided not to do this. This would have been the Big Break I needed to get into professional song writing - they denied me that break. That's what annoys me the most. Especially when, 17 years earlier it was a similar break when a kind music business insider connected Elton and Bernie together, that launched their careers. It would have been nice if they had passed-it-forward when I needed a similar kind of break from an insider.

I only discovered the truth in 2001. Since then I have been in constant communication with their lawyers trying to find a way to sort this mess out. I believed the best way was artist to artist - I thought that as fellow creatives we could work out a sensible solution. They showed any interest in making amends no matter how much evidence I produced. Eventually I realised they would not take notice unless the matter went to court.

They are now trying to get it thrown out. My response will be entering the court system soon. All the facts you will need to report on the full story will be in there.

At the end of the day, there is no doubt in my mind on one thing ... and I believe my evidence backs this up - if Natasha had never been written then Nikita simply would never have existed.

Of course I am not denying Elton and Bernie's talents played a significant part in the success of the song. Half of the words in Nikita's lyrics DON'T have any link to mine. Also Elton's melody is great. This is how co-writes work. All I have ever asked is that they give me the same credit for my contribution.

Finally, my song was inspired by my personal experience when working as a photographer on a Russian cruise ship - where did Bernie and Elton's inspiration come from ? Well I asked this question to 8 experts in all matters Elton - they all said the same thing - Elton and Bernie have never really talked about the song.

Bit strange that, seeing as it won the duo an Ivor Novello award for "Best written Song of the Year" and was one of the most successful solo hits of Elton's career.

One last interesting snippet - notice what job Elton has in Nikita's video ... mmm ... photographer ... wonder where that came from ...

742 days ago
Previous 15 Comments | 1 | 2 | 3

Around The Web