MEN AT WORK — best known for their 1983 hit "Down Under" — have just had their pants sued off by a dead schoolmarm and her 78-year-old Girl Scout song. An Australian court ruled that the flute solo in "Down Under" borrows a scrap of melody from "Kookaburra," the beloved — and miraculously still copyrighted — campfire sing-along. Although the songwriter is long since deceased, the folks at Larrikin Music are clinging to the rights to "Kookaburra," and this victory could mean huge wads of ridiculous candy-colored Australian currency for them.
A lawyer for Larrikin has hinted that the company could seek as much as 60 percent of the royalties the track has earned in its lifetime. That's a lot when you consider that "Down Under" was a tremendous hit and has since lived on in frequent licensing. If its claim is successful, Larrikin could wind up with millions of dollars, the trademark to the word "chunder," and a controlling interest in Paul Hogan.
Shortly before he was due to start his one-year prison sentence for criminal possession of a weapon, LIL WAYNE's flurry of pre-incarceration activity climaxed in an unprecedented orgy of videography. MTV reports that Wayne shot nine music videos in a single weekend: a few for Rebirth, some stuff for We Are Young Money, and one for Carter IV. We all knew he was prolific, but this surge must have damn near killed him — especially when it turned out that he won't be going to jail till early March. Hey, maybe he can squeeze in a few dozen more videos and a few mixtapes before then.
The postponement of his sentence, by the way, was requested so he could get oral surgery — perhaps some work on his soft palate to correct his chronic Lil Weezing?
Just when I finally stopped pretending to be offended at their crypto-maybe-kinda-racist name, LADY ANTEBELLUM pitched me another perfect bullshit excuse to hate them: they bumped Hope for Haiti Now off the top of the charts. I hope you choke on your Grammys, you heartless, charity-crushing, slave-owning monsters!
PAUL MCCARTNEY's heretofore media-shy son JAMES is preparing to step into public life with a UK tour and a debut album. "It is basically rock and roll, clean-sounding and vocal," says James, who looks like a cross between his dad and Sloth from The Goonies. "The music was inspired by the Beatles, Nirvana, the Cure, PJ Harvey, Radiohead — and all good music." Samples of his songs can be found on www.jamesmccartney.com, but listen at your own risk — Julian Lennon he ain't.
In other unpleasant-rich-kid news, FRANCES BEAN COBAIN has taken a break from misspelling things on the Internet to make a musical debut of her own. She'll be recording back-up vocals for a track called "My Space" on some kind of grody, high-concept AMANDA PALMER side project called Evelyn Evelyn. The song will also feature "Weird Al" Yankovic, Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance, Jimmy Urine of Mindless Self Indulgence, and Margaret Cho. Expect greatness.
I guess when you sell a certain number of records and no longer have any regard for artistic credibility, you can start signing on absurd corporate sponsors like the goddamn Olympics. I just came across a press release announcing that Bacardi is the "Official Spirit of the BLACK EYED PEAS 'The E.N.D.' World Concert Tour 2010." Check out this primo crop of corporate bunk: