Johnny Depp quickly made his foray back into music before the Amber Heard trial verdict was even handed down in late May by joining his friend Jeff Beck onstage. Shortly after, the pair released an album together, 18. Most of the tracks were covers, but the song “Sad Motherf*ckin’ Parade” appears to take lyrics without credit.
“Hobo Ben” is a song a toast from the mid-’60s by Slim Wilson — a Black poet with an alias due to having been incarcerated — and recorded by Bruce Jackson, and “Sad Motherf*ckin’ Parade” contains lines straight from it. Reported by Rolling Stone, 18 does not credit Wilson or Jackson at all, and Jackson is considering taking legal action.
“The only two lines I could find in the whole piece that [Depp and Beck] contributed are ‘Big time motherf*cker’ and ‘Bust it down to my level,'” Jackson said. “Everything else is from Slim’s performance in my book. I’ve never encountered anything like this. I’ve been publishing stuff for 50 years, and this is the first time anybody has just ripped something off and put his own name on it.”
About the credits that are given for “Sad Motherf*ckin’ Parade,” Jackson said, “They do not reflect the actual authorship of those lyrics. It’s just not plausible, in my opinion, that Johnny Depp or anybody else could have sat down and crafted those lyrics without almost wholly taking them from some version of my father’s recording and/or book where they appeared.”
Update: A spokesperson for the 18 album team has provided a statement: “We are reviewing the inquiry relating to the song “Sad Motherf*ckin’ Parade” on the 18 Album by Jeff Beck and Johnny Depp. If appropriate, additional copyright credits will be added to all forms of the album.”