SKY SAXON, the singer and songwriter behind the 1960s garage-rock band The Seeds, died in June 2009. However, for most of his career and to the end of his life, he received no royalties at all from his record company or his music publishing company. The reason? According to those companies, Saxon sold his artist’s and producer’s royalties in 1973 for $350, and his music publishing royalties for $250. Despite repeated requests over the years from Saxon, and, recently, his widow, the companies have flatly refused to pay any royalties at all, and the matter is now in litigation in the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Saxon signed a record deal in 1965 with GNP Crescendo Record Co., Inc., a Los Angeles-based company that specialized in jazz recordings, run by Gene Norman, a former concert promoter and disc jockey. At that time, he also signed a music publishing deal with Neil Music, Inc., which is a sister company of GNP. The Seeds and Saxon went on to have hits in 1965 and 1966 with “Pushin’ Too Hard,” “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine,” and “Mr. Farmer.”
The motion to determine the issue of unconscionability will be heard on March 8, 2011. A legal brief filed by the Estate on February 22, 2011, which gives more information, background, and legal authority, is also available.
The Estate of Sky Saxon is represented by Evan Cohen, and S. Martin Keleti and Sommer Issaq of Cohen and Cohen, who may be reached at (323) 655-4444, or firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org, respectively.