Ex-O’Jay Claims Back Stabbing
Sammy Strain, a longtime member of the O’Jays, has filed a $15 million civil lawsuit against his former partners and record label over unpaid royalties. The singer claims he never received any royalties from his 16 years with the group he joined in 1976.
"My client has been stabbed in the back for the love of money," said lawyer Charles Whittier, invoking the titles of two O’Jays hits: "For the Love of Money" and "Back Stabbers."
The lawsuit, filed in a Philadelphia federal court, alleges that O’Jays founders Eddie Levert and Walter Williams conspired to deny Strain his share of the royalties.
The lawsuit also names renowned R&B producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff as defendants, and their label, Philadelphia International Records.
The O’Jays, who are Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members, enjoyed a lengthy and successful collaboration with Philadelphia International Records. Gamble and Huff wrote many of the act’s hits.
Strain, who lives in New Jersey, replaced original member William Powell in 1976, and remained with the group until 1992, according to the lawsuit. He recorded 11 albums with the O’Jays, three of which went gold and two platinum.