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Reggae Duo Sues Universal for Unpaid Royalties

Nearly two decades after they brought reggae music to international heights, duo Chaka Demus & Pliers are crying foul on their record label’s behalf. The Jamaican natives are suing Universal Music Group to the tune of $10 million in unpaid royalties and trademark infringement on a handful of their biggest hits including ‘Tease Me,’ ‘Twist and Shout’ and ‘Murder She Wrote,’ one of the most successful crossover tracks in recent reggae history.

The duo, who filed their suit against UMG this week in New York City, claim that the label has “withheld the monies and royalties payments” ever since they signed with the conglomerate in 1992. The pair is also demanding that Universal cease the sale, production and performances of their tracks until the matter is resolved, which could take years before the case goes to trial.

Chaka Demus, whose real name is John Taylor, first made a splash on the international music scene with his cover of the Isley Brothers‘ ‘Twist and Shout.’ He teamed with Pliers, born Everton Bonner, in 1993 for their debut album ‘Tease Me,’ that spawned the collabo hits ‘Murder She Wrote,’ ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ and ‘Gal Wine’ over the next three years.

After taking a hiatus from recording with one another, the two reunited in 2007 to record the track ‘Need Your Lovin’,’ a hit in Jamaica, and performed ‘Murder She Wrote’ alongside Alicia Keys at the 2007 American Music Awards. They released their sophomore album ‘So Proud’ in 2008, while Chaka also released a new solo album ‘DJ Spirit’ the same year.

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