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POP MUSIC | POP EYE

Due Credit

December 08, 1996|Steve Hochman

In songwriting circles, the name Sam Roman doesn't really mean much--no big hits, no treasured classics. So why is he given so much prominence in the ads for the new Sylvester Stallone film "Daylight" as co-writer of the featured song "Whenever There Is Love"? His name, along with that of partner Bruce Roberts, is printed as big as those of the director, producers and screenwriter in the credits.

Could it be because Sam Roman is really Edgar Bronfman Jr., who just happens to be the chairman of Seagram's, which owns MCA Inc., whose Universal Pictures is releasing the movie?

Bronfman's long been an active songwriter (under pseudonyms to keep that pursuit separate from his day job). But that's not the reason for the big credit, say Universal representatives. This is just standard practice; songwriters often get such credit.

"They'd put that in the credits regardless of whether it's Sam Roman or not," says Stuart Zakim, vice president of national publicity for Universal Pictures. "And the guilds have rules that it has to be placed in a certain way."

Not true, say film music executives contacted by Pop Eye. For music credits, only the name of the score composer is required in ads.

"It's completely the studio's discretion," says one executive who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "This would never have happened if Sam Roman wasn't Edgar Bronfman."

That treatment is generally reserved for top-flight music figures along the lines of Michael Jackson, and occasionally writers with a track record of hit movie songs, such as Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, who were given prominent credit for their song "Reach for the Light" from 1995's "Balto"--also a Universal release.

Roberts, Bronfman's longtime friend and musical collaborator, who performs the song with Donna Summer, does have a solid resume, but not on the level of those who would normally command such notice, the executives surveyed agree.

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