Contact Us

David Palmer Former Steely Dan Singer Sues Band for Unpaid Royalties


Founding Steely Dan member David Palmer has launched a breach-of-contract lawsuit against his former band mates, claiming he’s owed a percentage of royalties that the group earned from streaming digital services.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Palmer says he discovered that he wasn’t receiving his proper due after he was contacted last summer by the performers union AFTRA, which asked him whether he was entitled to royalties from his old band.  The singer contends that as part of an agreement he signed in 1972 establishing Steely Dan Inc; the company that oversees the band’s music rights, he is supposed to receive one-sixth of the royalties earned by each song on which he appeared.  AFTRA directed Palmer to SoundExchange, the organization that administers digital-performance rights, and which apparently found that all streaming royalties from tunes on which Palmer sung were going to SDI.

Palmer says after contacting SoundExchange, his royalty situation was resolved moving forward from this past year, and he was issued a modest $8,000 check from SDI.  However, he contends that he’s still owed money from digital royalties earned between 2000, when SoundExchange was founded, until 2013.  According to The Hollywood Reporter, his suit, which was filed Friday in Los Angeles, charges SDI with “breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, money had and received, and accounting.”

Palmer sang lead and backing vocals on Steely Dan’s 1972 debut album, Can’t Buy a Thrill, and also contributed to the group’s sophomore effort, Countdown to Ecstasy, before leaving the band in 1973. He’s best-known for singing lead on the well-known Can’t Buy a Thrill track, “Dirty Work.”


Best of The Eagle

Recommended for You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for Eagle VIP Club quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive Eagle VIP Club contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.