Spirit Music Group Acquires Fats Washington Song Catalog

by Tamera H. Bennettposted January 23, 2009

Congratulations to our clients and friends, the Washington Family, in the acquisition of the Fats Washington music publishing catalog by Spirit Music Group.

January 15, 2009 – Spirit is proud to announce the purchase of the complete publishing catalog of Ferdinand “Fats” Washington, a pioneering Blues and R&B songwriter best known for his collaborations with B. B. King and Lowell Fulson.

The deal, concluded with the Washington Estate, includes such standards as “Pledging My Love”, which hit the Billboard Singles chart four times through the 50’s and has been covered more than 150 times by such artists as Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Roy Orbison, Emmylou Harris and Marvin Gaye, and “I’ll Be Home”, a Top 5 hit for Pat Boone in 1956, charting later for the Flamingos and the Platters and covered by a wide ranging list of artists from Gerry & The Pacemakers to Barbra Streisand.

The nearly 200-song catalog also contains numerous Blues classics. Washington is recognized as one of the only songwriting collaborators of Blues icon B. B. King, with whom he wrote the seminal hit “Get Off My Back Woman” as well as “No Good”, “You’re Losing Me”, “Don’t Waste My Time” and “Waiting On You”. His prolific work with Lowell Fulson includes “Black Nights”, “Talkin’ Woman”, “Blues Around Midnight” and “No More”. Other noteworthy Blues songs in the catalog include “Dirty Work Going On” recorded by Little Joe Blue and the Willie Mae Thornton cut, “Don’t Do Me This Way”.

Having been a radio disc jockey and newspaper columnist in Louisiana in the late 40’s and 50’s, Washington began his songwriting career via a chance meeting and ensuing collaboration with veteran writer/musician Don Robey, with whom he wrote “Pledging My Love”. His work with King and Fulson took him to such major music centers as Muscle Shoals, Shreveport, Los Angeles and Dallas, where he later settled, bringing him into contact with other collaborators including Stan Lewis, Larry Green and Maxwell Davis.

Washington’s work has remained active thanks to more recent cover recordings by such artists as Johnny Winter and Steve Miller. Further, catalog songs have appeared in a long list of motion picture soundtracks including Back To The Future, Christine, The Color Of Money and Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood.

“Fats Washington’s songs left a huge imprint across Blues, R&B and Pop,” said Spirit President/CEO Mark Fried “and we are excited about working with Betty Washington and her family in promoting his influential legacy of work.”