- Share this text:
The Band: songwriting by guest on 12th March 2020 01:54:01 PM
December 21, 2006
SONGWRITING - -
Since this is a topic that seems to be incredibly important to so many fans I think we need to take a moment and address songwriting credits and The Band.
The total songwriting percentage for one song is actually 200%, 100% for songwriting, and 100% for publishing. In general, songwriting is defined by lyric, melody and chord progression. Arrangement, harmony, and applying your instrument’s part to a song is not considered songwriting. We all may have opinions on this and there are exceptions to the rule but these are the most widely used parameters.
Let’s start with “Whispering Pines,” which was written by Richard and Robbie. Richard receives 50% of the songwriting and Robbie receives 50% of the songwriting. Now there is an additional 100% left for publishing. Early in their career, unlike bands like The Beatles, The Band elected to split their publishing equally. (In The Beatles if you wrote the song you got all of the publishing, too.) So Richard gets 20%, Rick 20%, Levon 20%, Garth 20% and Robbie 20% of the publishing side of Whispering Pines. You can apply the exact same equation to Jemima Surrender except on this song Levon receives 50% of the songwriting with Robbie receiving the other 50% and once again the remaining publishing is split evenly among everyone. Next, we’ll take King Harvest, which Robbie wrote so he receives 100% of the songwriting, but the entire Band equally splits the other 100% of the publishing.
Going back to Big Pink for a moment looks a little different because Bob Dylan owns 100% of the publishing on the entire album. So, Richard Manuel receives 100% of the songwriting for “Lonesome Suzie,” and no one in The Band receives any of the publishing, as Bob is the owner. Robbie has 100% writing on The Weight and no one in The Band receives any publishing. Rick Danko and Bob Dylan split writing on “This Wheels On Fire,” 50/50 and again, no publishing for Robbie, Rick, Richard, Garth or Levon.
Just to complete the thought let’s jump ahead to Stage Fright and break down a few more songs. “Strawberry Wine.” 50/50 on songwriting between Levon and Robbie and all members receive 20% each on the publishing side. “Just Another Whistle Stop,” is 50/50 between Richard and Robbie with all members receiving their 20% on the publishing side. And last but not least we have Stage Fright with 100% of writing going to Robbie and the entire Band once again sharing their equal 20% of the publishing.
I hope this helps to shed some light on this long debated and often misinterpreted issue. All discussion is welcome as long as it stays on topic and is based in fact. HOWEVER, no disparaging or abusive comments will be tolerated in this thread or on this page, any more. This page is here to celebrate. This page is here for positive vibes. This page is here for the music. Long live, The Band.