The fact that the Fall’s Mark E. Smith doesn’t really enunciate his words a lot is now a matter of public record. Earlier today, a judge ruled that his lyrics were “hard to hear” on account of his mumble-mouth. The ruling was the result of a copyright dispute over the rights to “Touch Sensitive,” a track from the band’s 1999 album, The Marshall Suite.
Producer Steven Sharples was the one who brought the suit to court, arguing that he deserved a cut of the royalties because he said he helped to rewrite the song that was originally written by Smith and former bandmate Julia Adamson. The Manchester Evening News (via The Quietus) reports that Sharples presented the transcribed lyrics to a live recording, a radio version of the track from a John Peel live session, and the final version that appears on the album under Sharples’ production lead.
After comparing the three different versions, the judge said that the transcriptions provided were not “completely accurate” and deemed that Sharples’ lyrical contributions were unlikely. She did, however, find that the string section that the producer added to the track constituted a significant contribution and awarded him a 20% stake in the royalties based on that. So Sharples got what he wanted, just not in the way that he wanted it.
Here’s the track in question: