April 26: Did Mick Jagger Steal “Just Another Night”?

The verdict is in!

On April 26, 1988, Mick Jagger found out the verdict for a copyright infringement suit laid against him for “Just Another Night.”

(Keep reading to find out more about this classic rock tune. Or jump down to see more rock n roll milestones that took place on April 26.)

Mick Jagger Is Sued For Copyright Infringement

In 1986, Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones was sued for copyright infringement by Patrick Alley (born Patrick E Glanville). The 36-year-old Jamaican reggae singer claimed that Jagger had stolen his song “Just Another Night.” 

In his suit, Alley asked for “all gains, profits, and advantages” that had been derived from the sale of Jagger’s record and statutory damages of $275,000. The estimated profits from the album were $6 million. 

Patrick Alley’s “Just Another Night”

Alley wrote his song in 1979 and released it in 1982 on his Touch Of Patrick Alley album.

The song is over 7 minutes long and includes the following chorus: 

Can I spend another, just another night, just another night with you? 

Mick Jagger’s “Just Another Night”

Jagger released his version as the single for his debut album, She’s The Boss, in 1985. Jagger’s song became a hit, with the album selling more than 2 million copies. 

Give me just another night, just another night with you

Both Songs Share A Drummer

Sly Dunbar is a Jamaican drummer who played alongside Robbie Shakespeare in the duo Sly and Robbie. Dunbar has also played on albums for a number of well-known artists like Bob Dylan, and Joe Crocker. 

It also turns out that he played on both versions of “Just Another Night.” And he was the one who brought Jagger’s song to Alley’s attention. 

Alley explained, that he listened to the track after Dunbar had told him his song was being “ripped off.” 

“After I played it, I realized it was a similar thing … I was very shocked. I looked at the record for some credit of my name, and I didn’t see it,” explains Alley. 

Charles E Baxley, Alley’s attorney at the time the suit was filed, shared, “It’s the same song … The same words, the same music – it’s obvious.”

The Case Goes To Court 

In April 1988 the suit was brought to court. During the trial, Andrew William Thomas who was a teacher at Julliard, testified as a music expert for the plaintiff. He believed that Jagger’s chorus was “virtually identical in pitch and rhythm” when compared to the chorus of Alley’s song. 

Jagger’s testimony included homemade and studio tapes that showed the development of his “Just Another Night.” When a tape was played from a studio session in 1984, Jagger remarked, “Here we are getting the song to the point where it’s arranged so that we can get other musicians who record the song.”

The rock icon also shared that he did not particularly like Alley’s song. “I think there are a lot of people in this courtroom who don’t particularly like my music, but I personally don’t like that song … It’s rather kind of sentimental.”

He also explained that he always gives credit to artists whose songs he covered. This included artists like Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, and Otis Redding. 

Jagger’s defense team also called their own music expert to the stand – Daniel Ricigliano, the chairman of the theory department at the Manhattan School of Music. Ricigliano testified that Jagger’s version used a lyric style that was frequently seen in other songs he had written. He played some of the songs on the electric keyboard to demonstrate. The songs included “Brown Sugar,” “Beast of Burden,” and “Heart of Stone.” 

Ricigliano also explained that “Just Another Night” had been used as a song title in at least 12 songs since 1931. 

The Verdict

A week later, on April 26, 1988, Jagger was ruled not guilty by a 6-person jury. The jury was of the opinion that Alley failed to prove Jagger had ever been aware of the song. 

Following the trial, Jagger said, “I don’t think the plaintiff really believed his song was stolen. They saw a chance for themselves and were going to take it.”

It Doesn’t Stop There

On June 2, Alley filed an appeal. He claimed he had new evidence that proved Jagger could have heard his song. Still, the jury found Jagger not guilty. While the song had been released in both New York and Britain, the jury felt the rock star could not have heard the song. 

Other Notable Rock Events From April 26 

Rock n roll is full of historical moments. Here are just a few of the events that happened on April 26: 

1960 – Elvis’ begins work on G.I. Blues, his first movie after being honourably discharged from the Army. 

1961 – “Stand By Me” is released by Ben E King. 

1962 – Jerry Lee Lewis arrives in London for the first time since 1958 when his marriage to his 13-year-old first cousin surfaced. 

1962 – Sam Cooke records “Bring It On Home To Me” and “Having A Party”

1965 – Bob Dylan arrives in London for a tour of the UK. 

1969 – “These Eyes” by The Guess Who enters the Billboard Top 40.

1969 – “Get Back” by The Beatles reaches #1 in the UK. 

1971 – John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison decided they no longer want to appeal Paul McCartney’s efforts to legally dissolve the band. 

1971 – “Brown Sugar” by the Rolling Stones was released in the US. 

1975 – John Lennon covers “Stand By Me” and it reaches #20. 

1977 – Studio 54 pen at 254 West 54th St in New York. 

1978 Ringo airs on NBC. 

1982 – Paul McCartney released Tug Of War.

1994 – Jefferson Starship pleads guilty to threatening a police officer with a shotgun. 

1997 U2: A Year In POP is the lowest-rated prime-time program on a major TV network. 

1999 – Adrian Borland from The Sound and The Outsiders dies at 41 after throwing himself under a Wimbledon Station train in London. 

2005 – Bruce Springsteen released Devils & Dust. 

2013 – Deep Purple released Now What?! 

2013 – Twenty One Pilots get their X tattoos midway through a performance in Columbus, Ohio. Tyler Joseph explains, “This X is dedicated to you guys. Columbus, Ohio is where we’re from and it will always be where we are from. Whenever someone asks what that X means, I am going to say this is for all of you.”

2016 – Previously unseen footage of The Beatles is published by the National Film And Sound Archive Of Australia. 

2021 – Al Schmitt passed away at 91. Schmitt was an award-winning recording engineer and record producer who worked with artists like Toto, Steely Dan, and Sam Cooke.

Rock Birthdays

1960 – Roger Taylor of Duran Duran (drums) 

1975 – Nathan “Joey” Jordison of Slipknot (drums) 

1976 – Jose Pasillas of Incubus (drums) 

On This Day In History – April 26

Although not as renowned as other dates in rock history, April 26 has generated some significant moments that are worth celebrating from the birth of Slipknot’s drummer to finding out the verdict of Jagger’s case.

These moments serve as a testament to the constantly changing landscape of rock music and its ability to captivate fans worldwide.