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Schoolkids want Pink Floyd royalties

/ Source: Reuters

A group of former London schoolchildren who sang on Pink Floyd's 1979 classic "Another Brick In The Wall" have lodged a claim for unpaid royalties.

Twenty three teenage pupils from Islington Green School secretly recorded vocals for the track, which became an anthem for children with the chorus "We don't need no education."

On hearing the song, the headmistress banned the pupils from appearing on television or video -- leaving them no evidence and making it harder for them to claim royalties -- and the local school authority described the lyrics as "scandalous."

The album sold over 12 million copies and the single became number one in Britain and America.

Royalties expert Peter Rowan told Reuters he was appealing to a music royalties society on behalf of one former pupil and was working with other members of the class. He said he was still trying to contact the majority of the group.

"They are owed their money and we lodged the first claim last week," Rowan told Reuters. "I've been working on it for almost two years."

Music teacher Alun Renshaw took the schoolchildren to a nearby recording studio without the permission of the headmistress after being approached by the band's management.

Lyrics described by educators as 'scandalous'
The lyrics "We don't need no education, we don't need no thought control, no dark sarcasm in the classroom -- teachers leave them kids alone" were described by the Inner London Education Authority as scandalous.

The school was paid 1,000 pounds ($1,860) and later given a platinum record of the song but the pupils were paid nothing.

Rowan said the money would come from a music royalties society and not Pink Floyd. He expected the 23 pupils to receive about 200 pounds each.

The application for royalties was initially hindered by the lack of evidence but Renshaw said Margaret Maden, then the school headmistress and now a university professor, had supported their application.

"We had to provide evidence to show they were part of the song and Mrs Maden helped us with that," he said. Renshaw told the Evening Standard newspaper the band's offer had been "an interesting sociological thing and also a wonderful opportunity for the kids to work in a live recording studio.

"I sort of mentioned it to the headteacher, but didn't give her a piece of paper with the lyrics on it."