Spector returns to haunt his old song

A High Court ruling is imminent on a case centring on one of pop music's evergreens, the 1950s hit To Know Him is to Love Him.

After hearing CD recordings of the song in court, Mr Justice Ferris will soon give judgment in a dispute in which song writer Phil Spector is fighting to recover his copyright in the song which he claims he wrote in 1958 when he was 18.

Spector is seeking a ruling that rights in the song have now reverted to him following an original 28-year assignment.

He is fighting to recover his copyright in the song and for payment of hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of royalties he says he is owed.

The song which rocketed to the top of the US charts in 1958 and which reached number two in the UK charts in 1959 has been recorded over the years by many major groups including the Beatles.

However, London-based Bourne Music, which was licensed under the original copyright assignment, claims that it still has rights to the song.

Spector is fighting through his UK and US-based companies Mother Bertha Music Ltd and Mother Bertha Music Inc for return of the rights.

In the action against Bourne Music, which involves the laws of the US and this country, Spector claims that an initial 28-year copyright assign- ment under US law, in which rights to the song were transferred to music publishers Warman Music and a licence was then granted to Bourne, expired in 1986.

Spector claims that Bourne has no more rights in respect of the song.

During the hearing Jonathan Hirst QC for Spector told the judge that the song was Spector's first hit and was written at the start of "glittering career" in the pop industry.