The state’s highest court decided it will consider the case of record producer Phil Spector and ’60s rock group the Ronettes over millions of dollars in movie soundtrack royalties. The state Court of Appeals is expected to hear the case late this year.
Last November, the state Supreme Court’s Appellate Division upheld a lower court finding that Spector had violated his 1963 contract with the three women – one of whom was his wife – and ordered him to pay $2.97 million plus interest.
The contract dealt only with royalties on sales of records, but Spector was accused of illegally keeping fees and making millions of dollars by selling the recordings for use as background music in movies and advertising.
The Ronettes’ lawyer, Alexander Peltz, said he was surprised by the court’s latest move on Tuesday.
“I’m somewhat amazed that the Court of Appeals decided to grant the motion, but anything can happen,” Peltz said. “Obviously, this always puts a wrinkle in things.”
Spector’s attorney, Andrew Bart, said, “Obviously, I’m very happy that the Court of Appeals has agreed to hear this and to consider the serious issues that are considered. Beyond that, I don’t have any comment.”
Spector declined comment through a spokesman for Abkco Music Inc., which manages Spector’s business affairs.
Spector discovered the trio that included lead singer Veronica “Ronnie” Bennett, her sister Estelle Bennett and their cousin Nedra Talley Ross in the early 1960s. He signed them to a contract, wrote music for them and managed their careers.
The Ronettes recorded 28 songs for Spector’s Philles Records between 1963 and 1967. Their greatest success came with the chart-topping hit “Be My Baby.”
In 1968, Ronnie Bennett went solo and married Spector. The couple divorced six years later.