It's been 20 years since Run DMC had a hit with "It's Tricky," but members of power pop band The Knack have only now gotten around to suing the rap trio for using an unlicensed sample of their smash "My Sharona" in the song.
The members of Run DMC and their producers, distributors, publishers and record companies are named in the copyright infringement suit, which was filed by The Knack's Doug Fieger and Berton Averre. They claim that portions of "My Sharona," including the song's signature guitar riff, were unlawfully included appropriated for "It's Tricky," which first appeared on Run DMC's 1986 album, Raising Hell, and has been included on other records since then.
"That sound is not only the essence of 'My Sharona,' it is one of the most recognizable sounds in rock 'n' roll," says Fieger, The Knack's lead singer.
Fieger and Averre wrote "My Sharona" and obtained a copyright registration for it in 1979. They claim to have only recently learned that "It's Tricky" sampled their claim to fame. Their lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and attorneys' fees.
"Our clients created a unique and distinctive musical composition in 'My Sharona,'" says Dick Schultz, the attorney for Fieger and Averre. "Others shouldn't be allowed to profit from the unauthorized use of that creation.
"That is what copyright laws are for, and we are protecting our clients' rights in their creation."
Bruce Gary, the man responsible for the big drum beat on "My Sharona," died last month at age 54.