Marley's widow disputes bassist's royalties claim

Bob Marley did not consider bassist Aston 'Family man' Barrett a member of his band The Wailers, the reggae legend's widow Rita told London's High Court yesterday.

Bob Marley did not consider bassist Aston 'Family man' Barrett a member of his band The Wailers, the reggae legend's widow Rita told London's High Court yesterday.

Guitarist Barrett, who played with Marley's backing band from 1969 until the latter's death in 1981, is suing Universal-Island Records and UMG Recordings for $60m (€49.4m) in unpaid royalties.

Barrett - who has reportedly fathered 52 children - claims he and his late brother Carlton had a partnership agreement with Marley, which included copyright in six songs and royalties from contracts between 1974 and 1975.

In court yesterday, Rita told Mr Justice Lawson that Bunny Livingston and Peter Tosh were the original members of the group and they had written songs alongside Marley.

Rita said, "(Aston and Carlton were never) part of that process.

"Pete and Bunny were the members of the Wailers. Aston and Carly came in after, long after."

Barrett's lawyer pointed out the credits of Marley's Catch a fire and Burnin' albums, which includes the Barretts alongside Marley, Livingston and Tosh.

In response, Rita said: "The Barretts did not have the same role as Pete and Bunny, and by that stage Bob was clearly the leader of the group."

In his defence, Barrett claims he and his brother helped Marley develop his unique sound, to which Rita responded: "My husband was very much involved in making that sound. It was not just Aston and Carly, Bob had part of the responsibility."

The trial continues.

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