The estates of bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell, who was the rhythm section for Jimi Hendrix, have been told they are able to sue Sony Music Entertainment to try to gain a share of song royalties.
Aside from a few songs Redding wrote, Jimi wrote the songs on the band’s three albums, Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold as Love and Electric Ladyland. Royalties were shared for the sound recordings they created together prior to Hendrix’s death at the age of 27 in 1970. An agreement was made where Redding and Mitchell received 25% each, with Hendrix taking 50%.
Redding and Mitchell signed away their rights in the early 1970s. Redding received $100,000, while Mitchell received $240,000. This was long before the advent of CDs and streaming. Both signed documents that they would not be able to make legal claims over the earnings.
Redding died in 2033, and Mitchell died in 2008. Their estates filed a lawsuit in February 2022, saying that the pair “have not been compensated for their work and both died in relative poverty.”
After attempts by Song to have the case thrown out, on Monday, The Guardian reported that Judge Michael Green, in London’s high court, has ruled that the case can move to trial. This will probably take place next year.
“No one is denying that Jimi Hendrix was one of, if not the, greatest guitarist of all time,” lawyer Lawrence Abramson said. “But he didn’t make his recordings alone, and they could not have achieved any success without the contributions of Noel and Mitch.”
The estates will look to reassign copyright and seek lost revenue and interest on that sum, plus damages and legal costs.