RESERVOIR ACQUIRES THE CATALOG OF ARTHUR “GUITAR BOOGIE” SMITH
Reservoir (NASDAQ: RSVR), an award-winning independent music company, today announced the acquisition of rights to the entire catalog of American musician, composer, producer, and radio/TV host, Arthur Smith, including “Guitar Boogie” and “Dueling Banjos.” This deal builds on Reservoir’s 2020 acquisition of Shapiro Bernstein, which saw the Company publish several of Smith’s hit compositions, and continues the Company’s relationship with former Shapiro Bernstein President Michael Brettler.
Born in 1921, Smith penned nearly 500 copyrights that have been recorded by artists including Johnny Cash, Al Hirt, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, and many more. He earned the nickname “Guitar Boogie Smith” for his renowned instrumental composition “Guitar Boogie,” which sold over three million copies upon release in 1948. The song is known for its twelve-bar blues chord progression and was used as the basis for the Rock-A-Teens’ 1959 song “Woo Hoo.” With the familiar chord progression and with a relative lack of lyrics, “Woo Hoo” has transcended language and achieved global popularity. The track experienced a resurgence when The 18.104.22.168’s version was used in Quentin Tarantino’s cult classic 2003 film Kill Bill, Vol. 1. “Woo Hoo” has since been covered by many other artists and featured in countless synch placements, most recently in an advertising campaign for Toyota, which began in September. Through this deal and a separate acquisition of “Woo Hoo” co-writer George Donald McGraw’s rights, Reservoir now has complete ownership of the composition “Woo Hoo.”
The banjo instrumental track “Dueling Banjos,” also known as “Feudin’ Banjos” was also a hit penned by Smith. Originally composed in 1954, the song was made particularly famous after a feature in the 1972 Academy Award-nominated film Deliverance, reaching #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and topping the Easy Listening chart. “Dueling Banjos” also earned a nomination for Best Original Song at the 30th Golden Globe Awards and won the 1974 Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance.
Beyond his own artist and songwriting career, Smith was also known for founding Arthur Smith Studios (now Studio East), one of the first commercial recording studios in the Southeast, and produced music for artists like James Brown and Johnny Cash. Smith also earned acclaim for producing the first nationally syndicated country music show on television, entitled The Arthur Smith Show.
Reservoir President and COO Rell Lafargue commented, “Bringing evergreen tracks like “Guitar Boogie” and “Dueling Banjos” into our catalog is a great opportunity for Reservoir to continue growing our repertoire of classic hits and bringing value to them for years to come.” He added, “This deal also represents a meaningful ongoing relationship between Reservoir and former Shapiro Bernstein President Michael Brettler, who we have continued to work closely with in identifying opportunities to build on various copyrights.”