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Last Updated: Monday, 3 March, 2003, 18:05 GMT
Rod faces Maggie May action
Rod Stewart
Rod Stewart had a worldwide hit with Maggie May in the 1970s
A folk musician says he is to take legal action against Rod Stewart over the 1970s hit song Maggie May.

Ray Jackson, who found fame with Geordie folk/rock band Lindisfarne, says he was paid just 15 by the pop superstar in 1971.

Mr Jackson, 54 and who now lives in Oxfordshire, says he came up with the worldwide hit's classic mandolin melody.

A spokesman for Rod Stewart has described the claim as "ridiculous".

Mr Jackson, originally from Wallsend, North Tyneside, believes he may have lost at least 1m because he was not credited for the track's distinctive "hook".

He pointed to a recent Court of Appeal ruling that session musician Bobby Valentino should be recognised for his part in writing the violin riff on the Bluebells' 1993 number one hit Young At Heart.

Mr Jackson said: "I am convinced that my contribution to Maggie May, which occurred in the early stages of my career when I was just becoming famous for my work with Lindisfarne, was essential to the success of the record.

"Furthermore, a writing credit would have given me a writing status which would have encouraged my writing efforts and could well have opened doors for me."

The folk/rock group Lindisfarne with Ray Jackson pictured far right

Barry McKay, who manages Lindisfarne, added: "I think Rod Stewart and the engineer that was there at the time produced an unfinished Maggie May and asked, could he write something?

"Ray wrote the hook of the record but he had no idea he was entitled to part ownership as a composer.

"Rod Stewart paid him 15 for the recording session."

Mr McKay said Mr Jackson had brought up the issue of whether he might be entitled to royalties from the song when he heard it on a television advertisement for a bank in 1995.

The ad featured the mandolin section from Maggie May and Mr Jackson called Mr McKay to ask whether, as he thought, up to 100,000 might have been paid for its use.

Mr McKay claims that some time later he contacted Rod Stewart's representatives to try to settle the matter but without success.

'Musical contributions'

A spokesman for Rod Stewart described the claim as "ridiculous", saying it was accepted that Mr Jackson had played on the song but not that he had any part in writing it.

He added: "This ridiculous claim was first brought up in the mid-1980s, some 14 years after the song was written and recorded in 1971.

"As is always the case in the studio, any musical contributions he may have made were fully paid for at the time as 'work-for-hire'.

"And from the inception of their creation, they are the sole and exclusive property of Rod Stewart, his record company and the co-publishers."

The sleeve of Rod Stewart's Every Picture Tells a Story album reads: "The mandolin was played by the mandolin player in Lindisfarne. The name slips my mind."

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