Eddie Johns, whose 1979 track 'More Spell On You' was sampled by Daft Punk for their hit single 'One More Time', has never received royalties from the French duo's track.
Johns' story has been uncovered in a new profile by the Los Angeles Times, who tracked him down in LA, where he's been living in a supportive housing facility after struggling with homelessness for over a decade. Johns suffered a stroke ten years ago, which left him unable to work.
"I help Eddie use the computer sometimes, and he showed me some of his music," Johns' case manager Alyssa Cash told the Los Angeles Times. "He showed me his album cover, and when I found this video talking about how it was sampled by Daft Punk, it was like a lightbulb went off. That's Eddie, this is his song."
Within the profile, writer August Brown delves deep into the complicated issues around sampling and licensing that have seen Johns receive no royalties from use of his track. The rights to the recording are now owned by a French label and publishing company, GM Musipro, whose specialising in reissuing vintage French records. ('More Spell On You' was originally recorded in Paris.)
Therefore, despite Daft Punk officially licensing the track and paying royalties since its release in 2000, Johns has seen none of that money. "Daft Life LTD. is paying royalties twice a year to the producer and owner of 'More Spell on You'," a representative for Daft Punk told the Los Angeles Times.
"We have not heard from [Johns] since the day we acquired in 1995 a catalog from another label that featured this title," GM Musipro founder George Mary said in an email. "We have tried to do research on him, but without any result. For our part, we are going to study his file and do the accounts to his credit. We will get back to him immediately on this subject, at the same time as we will inform him of his rights."
Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Johns said: "I just hope I can get some credit, you know? I’d like to have something to give to my daughter.”
Watch a video outlining how 'More Spell On You' was sampled in 'One More Time' below.