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Home arrow Older News Archive arrow Pink Floyd Another Brick In The Wall royalties claim
Pink Floyd Another Brick In The Wall royalties claim Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Saturday, 27 November 2004

This weekend, media across the world has reported on the royalties claim by the school children and teachers involved in the chorus of Pink Floyd's worldwide hit, "Another Brick In The Wall".

Some twenty-five years after they provided the memorable refrain of "We don't need no education", they are seeking royalties for the song. The claim is being made by a lawyer representing a number of the children, who got back in touch with each other via the website "Friends Reunited", and despite the headlines, is not seeking money from the band, but from PAMRA, the Performing Artists' Media Rights Association.

Here's the press story as circulated worldwide...

A group of former pupils at a London comprehensive school are poised to win thousands of pounds in unpaid royalties for singing on Pink Floyd's classic Another Brick In The Wall 25 years ago.

The pupils from the 1979 fourth form music class at Islington Green School secretly recorded vocals after their teacher was approached by the band's management.

Now the 23 ex-pupils are suing for overdue session musician royalties, taking advantage of the Copyright Act 1997 to claim a percentage of the money from broadcasts.

Music teacher Alun Renshaw took the 13- to 14-year-old pupils out of lessons by to the nearby Britannia Recording Studios in Islington to record - without the head's permission. With its chorus of "We don't need no education, we don't need no thought control, no dark sarcasm in the classroom - teachers leave them kids alone," the song was an anthem for teenagers. The album The Wall sold over 12 million copies.

Music royalties expert Peter Rowan said: "Some of the kids have put in a claim for royalties due to session musicians for recordings played on the radio or broadcast since 1997. We are going through the process of claiming now."

Today, Mr Renshaw, 59, revealed how he hid the song's lyrics from the head. The London Evening Standard tracked him down to his home outside Sydney, Australia, where he runs a vocational training course company. He said: "I viewed it as an interesting sociological thing and also a wonderful opportunity for the kids to work in a live recording studio.

"We had a week where we practised around the piano at school, then we recorded it at the studios. I sort of mentioned it to the headteacher, but didn't give her a piece of paper with the lyrics on it."

When the song was released the Inner London Education Authority called it "scandalous".

Headteacher Margaret Maden banned the children from appearing on Top Of The Pops or in newspapers and refused to let the band make a video of them singing it.

Mr Renshaw, who emigrated shortly after the song reached No1, said: "Afterwards I looked at the words again and realised ... well! But the parents said it was great and the children loved doing it. Margaret was very good about it. She absorbed most of the politics and I didn't get too badly told off."

Islington Green's current headmaster, Trevor Averre-Beeson, has a platinum record of the song, and the school got a cheque for £1,000. But Mr Renshaw said: "At the time we didn't think of it in terms of money, more of the experience."

Ms Maden, 62, now a professor at Keele, said: "Alun Renshaw was a seriously good if somewhat anarchic music teacher. I was only told about it after the event, which didn't please me. But on balance it was part of a very rich musical education."

Peter Thorpe, who sang on the single, told friends: "We were just taken to the studios and it was great fun. I didn't realise royalties were owed and I'm very glad to be in a position to claim them."

Our thanks to everyone who emailed us with this story, which has been reported on in a number of newspapers and websites over the last day or so. Our thanks to David Partner for supplying the newspaper scan as well.

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