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Did Johnny Depp and Jeff Beck steal lyrics From Incarcerated Man’s Poem?

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Johnny Depp

On their latest musical project, actor Johnny Depp and British guitar legend Jeff Beck are accused of stealing a poem delivered by a prisoner decades ago.

Weeks after the actor won his shocking defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard, Depp, 59, and the 78-year-old former Yardbirds axman released an album titled “18” last month.

According to Rolling Stone, Depp uses dialogue from a 1964 murderer and robber by the name of Slim Wilson on one of the album’s tracks.

Slim Wilson, whose true name was Willie Davis, was a rail hopper, cheater at the tables, and recitation of a number of filthy poetry.

“Ladies of culture and beauty so exquisite, is there one among you who will grant me wine? I’m raggedy I know, but I have no stink/ and God bless the lady that’ll buy me a drink,” Wilson’s toast “Hobo Ben,” from Jackson’s 1974 book Get Your A- in the Water and Swim Like Me, reads. What that funky motherf—er truly needs, child, is a wash, said heavy-hipped Hattie as she turned to face Nadine and laughed.


Depp’s usage of the lyrics may not land the actor in legal danger

Given that the poems were a part of an oral tradition and did not have a clear author, Depp’s usage of the lyrics may not put him in legal jeopardy.

Jackson told Rolling Stone, “The only two lines I could find in the entire piece that [Depp and Beck] contributed are ‘Big time motherf—-r’ and ‘Bust it down to my level.'”

“Slim’s performance in my book is where the rest of it comes from. Never before have I experienced anything like this. This is the first time in my 50 years of publishing that someone has simply plagiarised something and given it their own name.

Johnny Depp
Credit: Venla Shalin/Redferns

According to the outlet, Michael Lee Jackson, the late singer’s son, is an attorney who focuses on music and intellectual property.

Michael allegedly said, “They don’t reflect the genuine authorship of those lyrics.” “I just don’t think Johnny Depp or anybody else could have sat down and produced those lyrics without nearly entirely lifting them from some version of my father’s album and/or book where they appeared,” the author said.

According to reports, Michael is considering suing the “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor and the “Going Down” guitarist.


Bruce Jackson recorded the poems while Wilson was incarcerated at the Missouri State Penitentiary

According to reports, Jackson, a James Agee Professor of American Culture at the University of Buffalo and a SUNY Distinguished Professor, claimed that the lyrics being used illegally are more of an ethical concern than a legal one.

Johnny Depp
Louis MONIER/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

“I have no idea how well this record is selling. I’ve read several reviews that, if they had been written about my album, would have made me feel really ashamed. However, if it is successful, Johnny Depp will profit greatly from it. Should it go to him or somewhere that supports the individuals who created this culture?


Ankita Khanrah is a second-year student of the Master of Communication and Journalism (Integrated) programme at the School of Mass Communication, KIIT Deemed University, Bhubaneswar.

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