Overnight it was announced that legendary guitarist Jeff Beck died. The 78-year-old endured a brief battle with meningitis. Most recently, the musician has been working closely with Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp on music. Last year, on July 15, 2022, the duo released an album together, titled 18. Shortly after the record hit store shelves their lyrics were deemed “plagiarised” by a professor.
Professor and folklorist Bruce Jackson claimed the band’s lyrics included snippets of a poem he included in his 1974 book Get Your A** in the Water and Swim Like Me.
He accused Depp and Beck of taking the lines: “I’m raggedy, I know, but I have no stink / God bless the lady that’ll buy me a drink” and “What that funky motherf***er really needs, child, is a bath.”
The poem does not have a “definitive author”, according to The Guardian, but was told to Jackson by an inmate in Missouri State Penitentiary.
Rolling Stone later reported that Depp and Beck filed a lawsuit against Jackson for his plagiarism claims. The pair’s lawsuit reportedly claimed that Jackson “owned no copyright to the words” of the poem. Instead, he owns recordings and transcripts he used to gather the poem in the first place, which the musicians say they “did not infringe”.
Jackson had a different perspective on the lawsuit, however.
Jackson told Rolling Stone: “They didn’t write a word of Sad Motherf***in’ Parade and they are suing the person they stole it from and who caught them doing it. From my point of view, this is like a burglar suing a homeowner because he cut his hand on the kitchen window he broke getting in.”
Depp and Beck’s lawsuit called Jackson’s plagiarism allegations an “old-fashioned shakedown”.
Since the initial news of the lawsuit, no further update has been provided.
Depp was great friends with Beck until his untimely death this week. The Jack Sparrow actor was reportedly “devastated” by the star’s death and was with him until the end.
Depp had been touring with Beck last year. A source told People: “They had a really tight friendship, they were extremely close, and he got even closer over this past summer when they were touring together. The sickness came on really quickly, and it all deteriorated rapidly in the last couple of weeks. Johnny is still processing this news. He’s devastated.”
Beck’s death was confirmed on his official Twitter account. It read: “On behalf of his family, it is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck’s passing. After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away yesterday.”
It added: “His family ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss.”
Back in 2009 Beck was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the second time. During his inauguration he said: “I play the way I do because it allows me to come up with the sickest sounds possible. That’s the point now, isn’t it? I don’t care about the rules. In fact, if I don’t break the rules at least ten times in every song, then I’m not doing my job properly.”