Andrew Lloyd Webber Wins Copyright Case Against Former Dancer Who Claimed He Wrote 'Memory'

Philip Christian claimed that he owned the rights to the “lyrics and musical score” and asked to receive royalty payments in the future.

By: Dec. 17, 2023
Andrew Lloyd Webber Wins Copyright Case Against Former Dancer Who Claimed He Wrote 'Memory'
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According to the Times, Andrew Lloyd Webber has won a copyright battle over 'Memory' from CATS, after a former dancer claimed he wrote the song.

The dancer, Philip Christian, 68, said that a dancer in one of Lloyd Webber’s other shows heard a recording of his song while in rehearsal at Pineapple Dance Studios in Covent Garden, and "memorised and then recited” it to Webber as he was working on the hit musical.

Christian claimed that he owned the rights to the “lyrics and musical score” and asked to receive royalty payments in the future.

The case was thrown out by Judge James Brightwell, who described the claim as "fanciful and entirely hopeless."

Judge Brightwell asserted that it is "inherently incredible that a dancer could, in the context of the entrance hall to a dance studio, have remembered, word for word, both the lyrics of the song and the melody and been able to communicate them at a later point to Andrew Lloyd Webber”.

Adapted from T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, CATS, one of the longest-running shows in West End and Broadway history, received its world premiere at the New London Theatre in 1981. It played for 21 record-breaking years and almost 9,000 performances. The groundbreaking production originally directed by Trevor Nunn and featuring musical staging by Gillian Lynne was the winner of the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards for Best Musical. In 1983, the Broadway production became the recipient of seven Tony Awards®, including Best Musical, and ran for 18 years.

Since its world premiere, CATS has been presented in over 30 countries, translated into 15 languages and seen by more than 73 million people worldwide. Both the original London and Broadway cast recordings received Grammy Award® nominations for Best Cast Show Album with the Broadway cast album winning the award in 1983.

Rights to the music are currently held by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Trevor Nunn, who share the copyright in the lyrics with T.S. Eliot’s family.




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