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  1. #1

    Who wrote Marv Johnson's You Got What It Takes

    From 1959

  2. #2
    From May 1958

  3. #3
    Interesting comment

    You might like to know the precise history of this. Bobby Parker maintained to his dying day that this was his own song.Gordy and Carlo registered the song with the copyright office at the Library of Congress about three days after it was recorded by Bobby Parker at Vee Jay early September 1957. The song title ,at least , was one of their compositions earlier sold to Arc (the Chess affiliate) in April of that year. That did not stop them trying to pass it off as a new song for their own Fidelity Music when their Marv Johnson version was sold to United Artists in 1959. A letter at this time in 1959 from Roquel Davis denies all knowledge of Bobby Parker.....which is highly unlikely to be true bearing in mind that he had registered the song only a couple of days after it was first recorded by BP .He must therefore have been aware that his own song had just been recorded....and to not be aware of the artiste who recorded it therefore would seem odd. Arc and Fidelity battled it out and reached a compromise settlement, but Bobby`s publisher ,Conrad, controlled by Abner Spector the partner at Vee Jay took no part in the dispute...probably realising that his practise of copyrighting a song when it got released, left him in a weak position since he had not registered Bobby`s copyright until April 1958. Bobby always maintained his own copyright and in the mid 80s,successfully relieved Conrad of any title to "You got what it takes".The harder job of taking on EMI (now Sony ATV) remained.I am still of the opinion that Bobby - at the very least had some part - in composing the song.He may even at the age of 20 -have like Richard Berry and" Louie Louie" sold it cheaply to the other people who collected the millions of dollars in writer`s royalties over the years......even Gwen Gordy whose name magically appears as a credit on the Marv Johnson issue . Bobby died a couple of years ago, but for the sake of his legacy and truth, I am still advocating the correcting of this credit. There is now a window of opportunity with the 56 year entitlement of restoration of copyright to put this right. Should any U.S. lawyer be reading this , I would welcome pro bona assistance.

  4. #4
    Great info XT.

    I've seen 45s of Bobby Parker's version with him credited as sole writer and I can't help thinking.... I think there was a tendency for the folks with the influence to either add their name to writing credits or even claim total credit, thus depriving the originators of royalties.

    Over time, song credits often seem to change to reflect more accurately the situation. I note that the credits on "I Want To Go Back There Again" now include Chris Clark's name alongside Berry Gordy Jr.

    Bobby Parker should probably at least be added to writer's credit on YGWIT. There are folks living today who know the true story. Unfortunately folks like me can only surmise.

  5. #5
    Wow, I had no idea. Interesting. Thanks for sharing boyfromxtown

    In a way though this doesn’t surprise me. I remember there being dispute over writing credits for "Money (That's What I Want)" as well. A shame

  6. #6
    I met Marv Johnson in Detroit. He was a great guy. Great sense of humor too.

  7. #7
    It's right to discuss this topic, but somehow I feel deeply uncomfortable with it.

  8. #8
    Interesting thread Crosstown. Thanks for posting.

  9. #9
    I have "heard" that this was a pretty common practice in those days when it came to songwriting credits.


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Ralph Terrana

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