Too Much Litigation?

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George Smith
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Too Much Litigation?

Post by George Smith »

Please follow this link to find three intriguing pages regarding a court case focusing on Elvis' performance of "Too Much":

http://www.archives.gov/southeast/exhibit/popups.php?p=9.2.1

Does anyone know more about this?



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ColinB
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Re: Too Much Litigation?

Post by ColinB »

George Smith wrote:Please follow this link to find three intriguing pages regarding a court case focusing on Elvis' performance of "Too Much":

http://www.archives.gov/southeast/exhibit/popups.php?p=9.2.1

Does anyone know more about this?
This is how the original label gave the writers:
Too Much.JPG
I guess the 'Norris' listed is the Jean Norris Beasley who is one of the plaintiffs..........
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Re: Too Much Litigation?

Post by drjohncarpenter »

George Smith wrote:Please follow this link to find three intriguing pages regarding a court case focusing on Elvis' performance of "Too Much":

http://www.archives.gov/southeast/exhibit/popups.php?p=9.2.1

Does anyone know more about this?



The case is not really about Presley's performance of "Too Much" on TV in 1957, but that the author credits were stolen by songwriters Bernard Weinman and Lee Rosenberg.

Interesting that they get the date wrong of Elvis' final Sullivan appearance. It was on Sunday night, January 6, not "January 9, 1957."

It must have been settled out of court? Sadly, they may well have had a case:


Too Much recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 2 September 1956
Written by: Rosenberg; Weinman
Originally recorded by Bernard ("Bernie") Hardison in 1955
Hear Elvis's version on: Elvis' Golden Records; The Complete 50's Masters 2; ELV1S 30 #1 Hits


Hardison was a flamboyant singer and pianist who recorded the original version of "Too Much" two years before Elvis took it to the top of the charts in 1957. The recording was made by Tennessee/Republic co-founder Bill Beasley and released on Republic 7111.

The Louise Brook's Band provided the backing for Hardinson. It seems that Beasley and his wife, Joan Norris, wrote the number, but publishing deals and lawsuits led to the credits going to the song's publishers, Lee Rosenberg and Bernard Weinman. Lee Rosenberg was a former secretary of Bill Beasley's; her share of the songwriting credits were passed to Elvis.

http://users.telenet.be/davidneale/elvis/originals/list9.html
Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Thu Mar 03, 2022 1:16 am, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Too Much Litigation?

Post by ColinB »

Thanks for the extra info, Doc !

This Bernard Weinman is quite a slippery character, isn't he ?

Although the song is written by Joan Norris and husband Bill Beasley, he gets his name [he was the publisher] added to the writing credit.

Later on, when Elvis records it, and his management want a cut of the composer royalty, Weinman simply removes Joan Norris' name & adds his secretary, Lee Rosenberg !

The royalty then 'due' to Rosenberg goes to Elvis, leaving Weinman's take intact !

Nice work if you can get it !

And poor Joan Norris & her husband can take a hike !


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Re: Too Much Litigation?

Post by Monique »

Interesting information. Thank you.


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Re: Too Much Litigation?

Post by likethebike »

Thanks for posting that George, nice little lost tidbit.

I hope if the case was settled out of court that Norris and Beasley got some sort of deal on royalties rather than a lump sum. As "Too Much" has sold about 20 million copies domestically on a series greatest hits albums over the years and royalties would have easily eclipsed any sort of one off payment.


Colin- The early days of rock n' roll were filled with these kind of slippery characters. Gangsters like Don Robey and Morris Levy muscled in all of kinds of composer's credits during the day and even more.



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Re: Too Much Litigation?

Post by George Smith »

Gentlemen, thank you for your excellent posts.

"Honour and profit will not keep in one sack."
Portuguese proverb.



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Re: Too Much Litigation?

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davepenny
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Re: Too Much Litigation?

Post by davepenny »

likethebike wrote
I hope if the case was settled out of court that Norris and Beasley got some sort of deal on royalties rather than a lump sum. As "Too Much" has sold about 20 million copies domestically on a series greatest hits albums over the years and royalties would have easily eclipsed any sort of one off payment.
Afraid he didn't even get a lump sum - he got zilch! As I wrote, when we discussed this matter in January 2008:
The song was written by Nashville songwriter, Bill Beasley and his wife Jean (Norris) Beasley in early 1955 and, believing the song had potential, Beasley quickly arranged a recording session at his home studio to cut the song with vocalist Bernard Hardison fronting the Louis Brooks' band. He issued the recording on Republic, a label with which he was involved, and gave the publishing to Oakwood Music, a company co-owned by Beasley with his financial partner, hosiery salesman, Bernard Weinman. The Republic disc bombed and Beasley soon forgot about the promising r&b number he had written with his wife.

In late 1956, Bernard Weinman heard that Elvis was looking for exciting rock 'n' roll songs to record and so he submitted "Too Much" as a new song written by himself and the company secretary, Lee Rosenberg, and signed over publishing to Elvis Presley Music. The first time Beasley heard Elvis' hit version of his r&b song, he was on business in Texas and he heard it on the radio! He promptly took legal action against his former partner, but Weinman - now a wealthy man - swore under oath that he had written the song himself and then changed his story to state that he had bought the rights to the song off Beasley. Despite all the holes in his story, Weinman won the action simply because he could afford better lawyers than Beasley. As the latter philosophically concluded, "Bernie and I were real good friends, but someone who's your friend for a thousand dollars isn't always your friend for ten thousand."
Sadly, by the time Beasley brought the action, former hosiery seller Weinman was a very rich man and could afford to pay for "justice" and leave the real creator out in the cold without a penny...



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Re: Too Much Litigation?

Post by drjohncarpenter »

Thanks Dave -- your posts are always a joy to read.

Again, this is a great topic, George!


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