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Little River Band’s ‘Tonight Show’ Booking Sparks Controversy

Little River Band
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The oft-asked question of who has the rights to a band’s name has reared its head once again. On Jan. 12, the Little River Band will appear on ‘The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.’ This has caused concern for some critics, who note that the current version of the Australian soft-rock band contains no original members.

1/5 update: The original version of this story misidentified the band members portrayed in the photograph above, and stated Wayne Nelson was in yet another competing version of the Little River Band. We apologize for and have corrected these mistakes.

As Noise11 notes, “The last man out of the original line-up was drummer Derek Pellicci in 1997. [The] current owner of the name, Steve Housden, joined in 1981.” According to them, this means that “Fallon has basically booked a ‘covers’ band” because “Little River Band has never had a hit record without a founding member.” Of course, many famous classic rock bands have remained active despite undergoing numerous lineup changes. (According to a representative for the group, Housden does indeed own the Little River Band name and still tours occasionally with the group.)

It’s also important to note that bassist Wayne Nelson, who joined in 1980, has been fronting this version of the band (pictured above, with Nelson on the left) since 2000. He also sang lead vocals on two of their big hits, ‘Take it Easy on Me‘ and ‘The NIght Owls.’ The group will embark on an American tour beginning Jan. 17.

Three of the group’s founding members — Beeb Birtles, Glenn Shorrock and Graeham Goble — toured as a self-named group from 2002-2007. Goble’s 2006 song, ‘Someone’s Taken Our History,’ deals with the legal struggles for the rights to the name, and legacy, of the Little River Band.

Between 1975 and 1983, the Little River Band were one of the most reliable hitmakers around, with 13 Top 40 singles including ‘Reminiscing,’ ‘Lonesome Loser,’ ‘The Other Guy’ and ‘The Night Owls.’ Their four albums they released from 1977 to 1981 have been certified either gold or platinum, with their 1982 ‘Greatest Hits’ selling more than two million copies.

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