Songwriter suing WWE

Jul 18, 2012 - by Steve Gerweck


Probably didn’t think when you got up this morning that you’d be treated to The Fabulous Freebirds’ theme song “Badstreet U.S.A.” — after all, it’s been a long time since Kerry Von Erich and Michael Hayes grappled behind chain link. But that song, and 10 others, are at the center of a federal lawsuit filed yesterday in Dallas by Jimmy Papa, the Irving-based songwriter responsible for, among others, “Mr. Bang Bang” (which accompanied Cactus Jack to the wrestling ring), Ron Simmons’ “Don’t Step to Ron” and Jake “The Snake” Roberts’ “Master Of The DDT” — all featured on the hit album WCW Slam Jam 1 celebrating its 20th anniversary. No? Well, it should be.

Back in November, Papa took some bootleggers to federal court for ripping off his recordings when they started selling some World Class Championship Wrestling keepsakes. But yesterday the songwriter and his attorneys aimed a little higher: Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment.

Papa alleges that WWE and some folks associated with the wrestling empire told Broadcast Music, Inc. — which collects royalty checks for songwriters and publishers — that they’d written those songs, not Papa. There’s absolutely no doubt Papa at least co-wrote them way back when: BMI confirms there are dozens of titles to his credit. But according to Papa, not long ago he discovered he’d been joined by others who had nothing to do with those songs’ creation.

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