King Crimson guitarist, Robert Fripp, is in dispute with David Bowie’s estate over his contribution to Bowie’s albums
The distinction between “contributor” and “featured player” is in greater royalties
As Variety, Pitchfork, and other outlets report, legendary King Crimson guitarist and renowned solo artist Robert Fripp is currently in dispute with David Bowie’s estate over the manner in which he is currently credited for his work on two of the many excellent Bowie albums: Heroes and Scary Monsters.
In 1977 and 1980, respectively, when the two albums were recorded, the British licensing and performing rights organization Phonographic Performance Ltd. (PPL) did not use the term “Featured Player,” which it instated later on and which brings a greater remuneration for musician’s work.
Fripp has written about the problem in a number of posts on his Facebook page, but the Bowie estate has made no comment on the matter yet. On the other hand, both co-producers of the two albums, Brian Eno and Tony Visconti have come out in support of Fripp. Variety quotes the two as saying that “Fripp’s distinctive guitar work, particularly his iconic contribution to the song ‘Heroes’, entitle him to Featured Player status.” The PPL came out with a general statement, also stating that it has deferred the matter to the “relevant parties.”
Variety itself commented that Fripp’s “lead guitar is a key melodic component of Bowie songs including ‘Heroes’, ‘Fashion’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’, and ‘Scary Monsters’, among others, and his contribution to many other artists’ songs, ranging from Peter Gabriel’s ‘Games Without Frontiers’ to Blondie’s ‘Fade Away and Radiate’, is unmistakable.”