Twenty Original Hits

This information was taken from a post on Friday, November 25, 2005 on the Factnet Alamo Foundation Discussion Board

When telling people what a great promoter he was, Tony Alamo often mentions the “Twenty Original Hits” records. In the audio “Earthquake 2” on, for example, about 33 minutes into the recording, he says he invented “Twenty Original Hits” and eventually stopped selling new editions only because he “got bored.” Click here to listen to the sound bite from Earthquake on the 20 original hits.2 minutes

In several of his tracts, Alamo has bragged about how he came up with the “Twenty Original Hits”. Below are two of his tracts that mention his part in the scam. The first one is from page five of a tract titled “Broken To Pieces” (written December, 1997) and the second one is from page one of Alamo’s tract titled “Biting The Bullet” (written September, 1999).

Broken To Pieces - Page 5 biting-the-bullet-pg1-20-hits.jpg

The fact is the records were $2.98 each and sold because they seemed like great bargains, a fraction of what the twenty songs would have cost one-by-one. How was he able to sell twenty songs so cheaply and still make a profit? Real simple! Tony Alamo never bothered to pay the copyright holders for rights to use the songs. They were pirated. And when the copyright holders finally came after Alamo for their money, he couldn’t be found. It’s funny how he forgot to mention this.

The evidence that “Twenty Original Hits” was pirated by Tony Alamo is all in the public record. A search for “Tony Alamo” on the Lexus legal database turns up three separate court actions, dating from 1966 to 1972, about copyright violations by “Twenty Original Hits” records.

Click on the documents below to download the legal documents in PDF format for easy viewing.

The main case was dated February 8, 1971, and was decided in favor of the copyright holders. Tony was named as a defendant along with the advertising agency which worked for him and the radio stations which carried ads for “Twenty Original Hits.” The copyright holders were unable to find Tony and collected instead from the advertising agency and from the radio station.

Tony’s defenders sometimes argue that one or another charge against him is a manipulation by the Catholic Church. It is hard to see how that could possibly be for the copyright case. If the copyright holders couldn’t find him, it seems highly unlikely anyone in the Catholic Church knew anything about Tony at all. In addition, the evidence against him here certainly in no way depends on the word of “backsliding” and “disgruntled ex-members” of the Foundation. Plus, by the time the case was decided, according to what Tony tells us, he was a born-again Christian. But “born-again” Tony, who certainly knew he had been using songs without paying the copyright holders, apparently felt no responsibility to show up in court or to go back and pay the copyright holders what they were due. And then, we’ve got the coincidence that Tony tells us he “got bored” with “Twenty Original Hits” at just about the same time the copyright holders began looking for him.

Finally, even as theft goes, “Twenty Original Hits” was not a particularly clever or original scheme. The footnotes to a July 18, 1966 ruling, rejecting a motion by the defendants in the case, include the following rather unflattering description of the case and of Tony:

“Record piracy is not of recent origin. Since the early 1950’s it has been a recognized and well-publicized evil of the industry. Its existence was noted by our own Court of Appeals almost ten years ago. Plaintiffs point out that the practice has taken on a particular form in that usually it is carried out by small unreliable operators of dubious financial background who stay in business only long enough to reap their ill-gotten gains and disappear when legal action against them appears imminent. As already noted, plaintiffs here charge that Mark-Fi and its organizer, Tony Alamo, were such operators.”

Posted on Factnet Alamo Foundation Discussion Board by “Wilma”:

For people who were at the Alamo Foundation for any length of time, we’ve heard Tony Alamo brag over the pulpit and at his house on numerous occasions about this wonderful idea of 20 Original Hits he brilliantly dreamed up. He bragged about how he made so much money that he even rolled in it with his friends for fun. He told us he had suitcases full of money. Funny that Tony Alamo forgot to mention that these songs were acquired illegally!

Does anyone else see a pattern here? Just like Alamo couldn’t be found to be served papers for court in this instance, we have seen him do this in the Miller felony child abuse case, where he went into hiding from the FBI, disappearing for two years, until he was apprehended in Tampa, FL.

I think Tony and Sue incorporated the Tony & Susan Alamo Christian Foundation somewhere around 1969. At least that’s when Carlos Ave (the first church) started. So this lawsuit was going on all during that time up through 1971, and he never appeared for court. Same ole Tony.

In: Criminal Background

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