'Pass the Dutchie' Hitmaker Loses Legal Battle
British reggae youth band who earned worldwide respect for one of the 1980s most successful songs "Pass the Dutchie" has lost a bitter legal dispute over royalties after a judge ruled it was copied from a drugs tune.
Musical Youth’s Jamaican-style track became the fastest-selling British single of 1982 and the song about a "stewing pot" went on to top the charts in at least six other countries.
The Grammy-nominated single, which sold more than 100,000 copies in one day, also earned the young Midlands-based group, aged between 11 and 15 at the time, “a short but spectacular success”.
But they became later embroiled in a row with their solicitors, claiming they received poor advice more than 25 years ago about the extent of their potential earnings from royalties.
On Friday, the High Court refused the five-member group’s negligence and fraud claim, which was launched after they agreed to the complex deal in 1984 with their now-defunct law firm Woolf Seddon.
The group, formed in 1979 at Duddeston Manor School in Birmingham, went on to release two albums and a further seven singles, leading to comparisons with the highly successful Jackson Five.