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Steely Dan Sued By Original Singer David Palmer Over Royalties

Steely Dan
Scott Gries, Getty Images

David Palmer, who sang lead for Steely Dan in the early days, is suing his old band. In a suit filed in Los Angeles on Friday (Feb. 28), Palmer claims that he is owed money as a result of royalties earned via satellite and streaming services.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Palmer is contractually listed as a founding member of the group, and therefore entitled to one-sixth of all royalties earned from songs on which he performed. He believes that Steely Dan have not given him his rightful share on royalties from 2000 through mid-2012. He was recently given $8,000 for a nine-month period that ended March 31, 2013. The article states that the suit alledges “breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, money had and received, and accounting.”

Palmer sang on five songs on Steely Dan’s 1972 debut, ‘Can’t Buy a Thrill, including the lead on ‘Brooklyn (Owes the Charmer Under Me)’ and the hit ‘Dirty Work,’ and background vocals on several songs on 1974’s ‘Countdown to Ecstasy.’ Back then, he also sang lead in concert, because Donald Fagen was not yet comfortable singing lead.

Palmer was fired in April 1973 due to, as reported in Brian Sweet’s bio ‘Steely Dan: Reelin’ in the Years,’ concerns about both his ability to interpret the songs and his habit of performing under the influence of alcohol.

Next: Top 10 Steely Dan Drinking Songs

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