Songwriter Carole Bayer Sager sells rights to catalogue of classic hits

The songwriter behind hits such as A Groovy Kind Of Love, Nobody Does It Better, That’s What Friends Are For and On My Own has sold the rights to her music catalogue after a flurry of sales by other artists.

Carole Bayer Sager’s songs have been performed by superstars including Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, Carole King, Celine Dion, Michael Jackson, Dolly Parton and Frank Sinatra, and she also enjoyed a successful solo career.

She won an Oscar for Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do) by Christopher Cross, which was the main theme for the 1981 film Arthur, and a Grammy for That’s What Friends Are For, which was initially recorded by Rod Stewart for the film Night Shift, but picked up the song of the year award for a re-recording by Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and Elton John.

Celine Dion has performed Bayer Sager’s music (PA)
Celine Dion has performed Bayer Sager’s music (PA)

She has sold her music catalogue to UK investment company Hipgnosis Songs Fund, which has been on a buying spree of late, most recently snapping up producer rights for Metallica’s album Metallica, as well as Michael Buble’s Call Me Irresponsible, Crazy Love, Christmas and To Be Loved

Bayer Sager’s best known song is Nobody Does It Better, which was recorded by Carly Simon as the theme song for the 1977 James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me.

She is also responsible for a host of other hits including A Groovy Kind Of Love, recorded by The Mindbenders in 1965 and then covered by Phil Collins in 1988, Heartlight, by Neil Diamond, On My Own by Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald, The Prayer by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli, It’s My Turn by Diana Ross, and Heartbreaker and You’re The Only One by Dolly Parton.

Phil Collins photocall – London
Phil Collins had a hit with A Groovy Kind Of Love (Yui Mok/PA)

Merck Mercuriadis, who founded Hipgnosis, said: This is one of the most important deals we have ever made.

“Carole’s iconic songs have been making the world go around for more than 55 years.

“She has an elegance with words that has made these songs universal and they are not only enormously successful but truly beloved all over the globe.

“It’s very special to welcome Carole to the Hipgnosis family and it’s an honour to now be the custodians of these incredible songs that are of genuine cultural importance.”

Bayer Sager added: “In speaking with Merck, I was surprised to find how intimately acquainted he was with my catalogue of songs.

“Hearing his plans to keep these songs alive and bring them to a new generation of listeners excited me and convinced me now was the right time to allow a new custodian to take charge of their future.

“With Merck and his Hipgnosis family I feel my songs are going to be nurtured and cared for. I look forward to yet another wonderful collaboration.”

Hipgnosis has recently bought the rights to music by Neil Young, Blondie singer Debbie Harry and Mark Ronson among others, while Mick Fleetwood sold his interests in his Fleetwood Mac back catalogue to BMG.

In December, Universal Music Group announced it had acquired Bob Dylan’s entire back catalogue in a deal reported to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, while songwriter and producer Ian Levine sold his rights to a string of early hits by Take That to music publisher One Media iP Group.