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NEW YORK The Three Degrees, a female vocal group
best known for the 1974 smash “When Will I See You Again,” has
sued Sony Music Entertainment Inc, seeking to recoup decades of
royalties it says were withheld by a former manager and his
According to a complaint filed on Tuesday night, the group
has “never received one penny” of royalties under an oral
agreeing it struck in the mid- to late-1970s with the former
manager, producer Richard Barrett, for a 75 percent share.
The group said Barrett’s widow Julie and her company Three
Degrees Enterprises Inc have instead kept its royalties,
including through payments from Sony.
It said these payments covered such albums as “The Three
Degrees,” which included “When Will I See You Again,” as well as “TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia),” a song featuring the group’s
vocals that became a theme for the TV music show “Soul Train.”
“The group has not received one penny from the Sony-TDE
royalty agreement, despite Sony’s knowledge of the group’s
rights,” the complaint filed in Manhattan federal court said.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from Sony and Julie
Barrett, including for breach of contract, and an accounting of
Richard Barrett died in 2006. Sony Music Entertainment is
part of Sony Corp.
Sony spokeswoman Liz Young declined to comment. Julie
Barrett could not immediately be reached for comment. Earl
Wilson, a lawyer for The Three Degrees, did not immediately
respond to requests for comment.
The Three Degrees was formed in 1963 in Philadelphia.
Its membership has changed over the years, but for purposes
of the lawsuit includes current members Valerie Holiday and
Helen Scott, and the estate of Fayette Pinkney.
“When Will I See You Again” hit No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard
Hot 100 chart, and reached No. 1 in the United Kingdom.
The case is The Three Degrees v Sony Music Entertainment Inc
et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No.
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