Bobby Valentino

Bluebells court case press (The Guardian)

Performance pulls strings with judge
Colin Blackstock

This article appeared in the Guardian on Wednesday July 03 2002 . It was last updated at 10:32 on July 03 2002.

High court judges are used to hearing about fiddles, but yesterday a judge listened to one after he asked a professional violinist to play part of The Bluebells' hit Young At Heart.

Bobby Valentino, 48, a musician who was paid just £75 in 1984 when he added a fiddle part to the song which reached No 8 in the charts that year was asked by deputy judge Christopher Floyd QC to play the tune from the witness box.

Mr Valentino was seeking entitlement to royalties on the song which later became a number one when it was re-released in 1993 after featuring in a Volkswagen advertisement.

After hearing him play, the judge ruled he was entitled to royalties and should now share copyright with former Bluebells member Robert Hodgens and former Bananarama member Siobhan Fahey, now Siobhan Stewart, who co-wrote the song first recorded by Bananarama in 1983.

Mr Justice Floyd said: "I conclude that the violin part does make a significant and original contribution of the right kind of skill and labour to the Bluebells' version of the song. Thus Mr Valentino is a joint author of the copyright in that work."

Mr Valentino, once a member of the Fabulous Poodles and the Hank Wangford Band, and who also acts and models as a Clark Gable lookalike, will now be seeking about £100,000 in damages for unpaid royalties.

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