This is a true life story. It’s a classic tale about the dirty side of the rock and roll music Industry. It involves shady lawyers, backstabbing ex-band mates, and money hungry leeches. Your typical fare. It’s the story of how Henry Paul stole the right to use the Outlaws name, and will go down as one of the most vile, disrespectful, and all out nasty power plays ever.
Hughie Thomasson’s life was one of greatness and one of tragedy. The greatness is his contribution to the history of rock and roll, the tragedy is how his legacy has been tarnished after his death. I would like to see the tragedy part removed, so that only the greatness part remains.
The Outlaws were a successful rock and roll band back in the 70’s. They were led by the phenomenal Hughie Thomasson. At second fiddle was the great Billy Jones. Henry Paul is really just a side note to the band. For example: the Outlaws 1976 live album, Bring it Back Alive, which best represents the band in their hey day and at their peak, features Hughie and Billy. Henry was not even in the band at the time.
Hughie was a one in a million musician, whose accomplishments stand for themselves. Many people know the classic rock song Green Grass and High Tides, but not everybody knows that Hughie wrote the song, sang the song, and played lead guitar on the 20 minute epic as it appears on their live album.
That album starts out with another incredible 10 minute song written by Hughie, Stick Around For Rock and Roll. He is also responsible for all their other most famous songs, such as: There Goes Another Love Song, Ghost Riders in The Sky, Hurry Sundown, Loverboy, You Are The Show, Breaker Breaker, etc.
Hughie ran the Outlaws from 1967-1995 when he was asked to play lead guitar for Lynyrd Skynryd. He accepted the gig and shut down the Outlaws for 10 years. In 2005, Hughie left Skynyrd to restart the Outlaws. He did it. It was great. The band kicked ass. Unfortunately, Hughie died of a heart attack in 2007, in his Florida home, the night after a rocking show at the Tropicana in Nevada.
His death was a major blow to his new and old fans, but that’s not the main tragedy that I was referring too. It gets worse. In steps Henry Paul, like a vulture, at Hughie’s funeral.
For those who don’t know, Henry Paul is an arrogant man who never, ever gave Hughie or anyone else any credit for the Outlaws success. He was kicked out of the band in the 70’s, and signed a contract that stated he had no future rights to the Outlaws name.
When Hughie restarted the Outlaws in 2005, he asked Henry and Monte Yoho to rejoin the band. They both signed simple contracts that stated they would be paid by the job and would have no rights to the Outlaws name. Henry “quit” after a few months.
Here is a copy of the actual contract:
Getting back to the funeral, Henry showed up and already started lobbying Hughie’s widow to allow him to carry on the band. She was talked into giving Henry a 3 year lease to use the Outlaws name, where she would receive a percentage of the revenue. This guy saw an easy target in the form of a still grieving widow and he pounced on it.
He broke the lease, intentionally blocked the release of Hughie’s last album, and continued to use the Outlaws name. Obviously, his “lawyers” must have instructed him to force her into taking them to court. They probably figured that the confused widow would not go through the agony and expense of taking them to court and even if she did, they might be able to win by tricking her. How about that for integrity?
So, she was forced into taking Henry to court to stop him from using and profiting from the Outlaws name without her consent or benefit. You would think that this was a slam dunk. First off, Hughie maintained complete control and ownership of the Outlaws name for almost 4 decades until his death in 2007, and secondly, there were multiple signed contracts between Hughie and Henry stating that Henry has no rights to the Outlaws name.
But it wasn’t a slam dunk. This poor woman was ill prepared to go through all this. She hired inferior lawyers who were in over their heads against Henry’s sharks and ALL the evidence got thrown out of court on a technicality, a glaring mistake by her questionable attorneys.
Am I suggesting that her lawyers accepted bribes from their sharks? No, they were probably just incompetent, but nothing would surprise me given the fact that someone could be so low as to force the widow of a former colleague and supposed friend into court instead of being a righteous, honest man, and abiding by whatever the widow’s short term wishes were.
Let me recap the story:
1. Henry knew that Hughie’s widow was still in shock, grieving, and an emotional wreck from the loss of her soul mate. He saw that she was vulnerable and took advantage of it.
2. He and his pack of lawyers devised a plan to steal the Outlaws name. It involved forcing her into taking them to court, and then out-lawyering her.
3. He won the case, which left Hughie’s poor widow devastated, now owing hundreds of thousands of dollars in court costs to Henry’s band of overpaid counselors.
4. He takes off like a rocket with a full blown marketing and Internet campaign, blatantly using the legacy and accomplishments of Hughie without a single credit ever given.
5. His campaign is successful and he is now making money hand over fist off of using the Outlaws name, without a single penny going to Hughie’s estate. He has also not forgiven the court judgment money.
This travesty is ongoing. Henry Paul has gone all out with a revisionist history campaign. You hear him in radio interviews not even mentioning Hughie, trying to make it seem like he was the heart of the Outlaws and not Hughie.
He is blatantly using the life’s work of Hughie to promote himself, and not giving a dime to his estate. If you want some proof just look at this list of all the pages on his website. Every single page has Green Grass and High Tides prominently listed in the all important title area as well as the page description.
Green Grass and High Tides is Hughie’s legacy, not his, but he tries to associate himself with it as much as possible. Why doesn’t he place one of his crappy songs, that nobody cares about, prominently out front?
Here is my advice to Henry: leave that poor woman alone and stop trying to rewrite history. You may be able to fool some people in the short term, but in the long term the truth will all come out. In the end, Hughie Thomasson will remembered as a rock and roll legend and Henry Paul will be remembered as the guy who tried to steal his legacy.
Yes Henry, you may have defeated Hughie’s widow in court, but in the court of public opinion, you will lose every time.