Recordings History | Letters | Chicago Reader

News & Politics » Letters

Recordings History

by

comment

Ref: Rebuttal to "Post No Bills" comments from Ms. Patricia Hamilton/Lovelites [January 28]

Dear Mr. Margasak,

Publishing Rights:

In 1969, a few of my friends and I started Lock Record Company and Moo-lah Publishing Company. Our first artist was the Lovelites. It was my idea and my hook and melody along with Patti Hamilton's collaboration that created the song "How Can I Tell My Mom and Dad."

Publishing rights are considered one hundred percent (100%) as a whole. Fifty percent goes to the publishing company for administration, etc. Also when a small record label makes a deal with a major record label, the major record label usually wants half of the publishing rights. The remaining half (50%) is divided between the composers of the song.

In this case, half of Moo-lah's share of the publishing was assigned to 20th Century Music Publishing Company. As composers of the song, Patti received Twenty-five percent (25%) of the writers' share and I received Twenty-five (25%) of the writers' share.

Throughout our relationship, Patti received her writer's share of all compositions that she composed. If you will look on the compilation albums The Lovelite Years and With Love From the Lovelites you see her name on every song of which she had written or co-written.

Change of Name: Patti and the Lovelites:

In 1969 when "How Can I Tell My Mom and Dad" was recorded, Rozena Hamilton was an original member of the Lovelites. Before the song was released, she quit the group and got married. Joan Berlmon replaced her. When Ardell Upton quit the group, she was replaced by Rhonda Grayson. When Rhonda Grayson quit the group, she was replaced by Kay Jones. When Kay Jones quit the group, she was replaced by Denise ?. I don't even remember her last name. That is why I changed the name. I chose to make Patti the out-front identity of the group because of the numerous member changes that were forever happening. Patti, nor her mother, objected to the change.

Copyright of Name:

When the bogus Lovelite group began touring and capitalizing off of the popularity of the Lovelites, Lock Records had to take legal steps to protect the name of the group by some legal means. Patenting the name was our only option because we didn't have a legal agreement with the Lovelites because of their ages. They were all teenagers.

"Give Me the World and Feeding Me Beans"

There were four different photographs with various sets of Lovelites on them and a photograph of Patti by herself when she went as a solo act. Lock Records paid for them. "Music Talks to Me," "Nothing Can Stop Me Now," "I Need Some Space," and possibly a few more titles of which I can't remember were songs recorded and never released. There were approximately 30 or more songs recorded on the Lovelites with only two of them making a buzz as singles. Lock Records paid for them. When the Lovelites went to Disneyland and took pictures for their With Love From the Lovelites, Lock Records paid all expenses.

Lock Records spent Thousands of dollars on this group trying to make them happen. I did make promises, I believed that the group was going to be huge. They made money doing shows; Lock Records lost big money spending it on them.

"Tension in the Group"

Tension in the Lovelites was a result of several factors. Factor number one: Patti was a prolific performer, both on live performances as well as on recordings. There was another member in the group that felt that she should be allowed the same privileges as Patti when it came to performing live and recording. She wasn't up to this task and wasn't allowed to do so. Factor number two: The other members of the group (not Patti) were treated as background singers instead of equal members of the Lovelites by management. Factor number three: all groups whether female or male are going to have tensions and problems within the group.

Compilation Album:

When I found out that Lovelite product was being bootlegged locally, on advice from my attorney, I decided to release a compilation album on the Lovelites myself. I asked Patti for her help and she refused. That was over a year ago. I called her several months before I had completed the project to inform her of my progress. When I had finished the project, I called Patti one morning and played snippets of the album over the phone. She told me that it brought tears to her eyes. I also told her that I was going to dedicate the album to the memory of her mother, Ms. Bernice Hamilton, who was like family.

As far as the music that had been licensed overseas, that music was a reissue of With Love From the Lovelites, licensed from 20th Century by P-Vine, a Japanese company. I had nothing to do with that.

When I was informed that Mr. Margasak was interested in doing an article on me and the Lovelite compilation album, I began trying to get in touch with Patti so that we could do the interview and photo shoot together. She returned none of my numerous messages left on her answering machine concerning the interview and the date of the photo shoot.

I finally reached Patti the morning of the photo shoot for the article and she stated that I had woke her up and that she couldn't make the shoot. She informed me that Mr. Margasak had interviewed her the previous day. Our last words were that we would get together in the very near future to discuss the possibility of us co-producing a gospel album on her together for release on my label.

Prior to this article, Patti has come by my office twice to pick up CDs of the new compilation album. I witnessed no hostilities or anger. When I read this article, I was stunned by Patti's remarks. They exhibited a bitterness of which I now attribute to her lack of knowledge of the music business.

Unlike the 70s, there are numerous books about the music industry that can be purchased or borrowed from a public library that any aspiring artists can obtain to educate themselves on the industry. This could possibly erase her ignorance, bitterness, and grievances of the past.

Because of the advent of the CD, an independent record company can now compete in the marketplace with major record labels. I am appreciative of the time I spent with the Lovelites, Brighter Side of Darkness, Heaven and Earth, Coffee, and the many other groups that I have been associated. Because of time spent with each of them, I am now a better producer with a profound knowledge of the business. Former members of some of the aforementioned groups are working with me as managers, producers, and songwriters. Together we shall introduce a new Chicago-based label to Chicago called Chi-City Music.

In closing, I wish Patti all the luck in the world in her pursuit of her gospel solo career and I advise her as I do all of my new artists. Please buy the book entitled This Business of Music by Sidney Shemel and M. William Krasilovsky.

God Bless,

Clarence Johnson

Peter Margasak replies:

Patti Hamilton didn't claim that she didn't receive any songwriting royalties but that she was unaware that Johnson used his own publishing company for her songs, something she chalked up to naivete. During my interview with Johnson I was led to believe that he was involved in licensing the album With Love From the Lovelites to P-Vine; my apologies for the misunderstanding.

Add a comment