By Annie Reuter
Two Italian songwriters, Bruno Bergonzi and Michele Vicino are now officially receiving royalties for Prince’s 1994 hit “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” reported Billboard. Italian collecting society SIAE are recognizing the duo as rightful composers following a lawsuit that was filed in 1995, in which the pair accused Prince of plagiarizing their 1983 song “Takin’ Me to Paradise.”
Prince’s estate is currently barred from distributing “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” in Italy. In an interview with Billboard, Bergonzi explained the song’s origins.
“The recording artist was Raynard. J, which was the pseudonym of Jay Rolandi, a session vocalist who also sang with the Italian disco group Firefly,” he said. “The song wasn’t a big hit, but it did appear on a number of compilations that were distributed internationally. It continues to re-appear in DJ remixes.”
The court case regarding “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” went through three rounds of verdicts, which is why it took so long for the case to be decided. The first ruling made in 2003 went against the songwriters but in 2007 they won an appeal. Last May the higher court ruled in their favor.
According to the songwriters, Prince’s estate has yet to move forward on the ruling, which states that the actual sentence, “Prince’s estate is barred from distributing ‘The Most Beautiful Girl in the World’ in Italy” must be published in two Italian national dailies and two specialist music magazines. Prince’s estate has not had this statement published anywhere, Bergonzi said.
“The American legal authorities did, we believe, make various attempts to deliver the verdict to Prince’s Paisley Park residence but couldn’t find anyone home,” he said.