Essay: Has Somebody Stolen Their Song?

So Morris Albert's Feelings isn't really Morris Albert's Feelings at all. No, the treacly pop song that sold more than a million records in 1975 is really a rewrite of Pour Toi, a hitherto obscure French cafe tune composed nearly 20 years earlier by one Louis Gaste. That, at least, is what a nonmusical federal-court jury in Manhattan decided last July, awarding Gaste a settlement of at least half a million dollars. Gaste pronounced himself vindicated. Albert's feelings were unknown.

Every so often, it seems, an aggrieved composer emerges from obscurity to lay claim to a particular pop hit. More often...

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