(10/14/99, 12 p.m. PDT)- Celine Dion is being sued by her former drummer, Peter Barbeau, for $5 million in a lawsuit that was filed Tuesday (Oct. 12).
The lawsuit includes claims of wrongful dismissal, infringement of copyright, and allegations that the superstar lip-synched at many of her live concert performances. "Many of the lead vocal portions of the songs performed by Celine Dion during her live performances are not sung by her, but rather lip-synced to a prerecorded digital hard-disc recording of Celine Dion's voice," the suit claims.
"The practice of the principal vocal performer not singing during live performances is highly unusual in the music industry," the suit adds.
Barbeau's claim indicates that because Dion lip-synched during her live concerts, extra pressure was placed on him as a drummer. He also claims in the court documents that he is the original composer of the song "Dreaming of You" from Dion's 1996 multi-platinum album Falling Into You. Barbeau contends that he retains 40% of the interest and rights to the track through his company, Bow River Music Inc.
The drummer also claims in the court papers that he was dismissed from his job in 1995 "without reason, cause, explanation, or settlement," and has been unable to find comparable employment.
LAUNCH obtained the following statement from Dion regarding the legal action. "I wasn't really involved too much with Peter leaving the band," the statement read. "This really had more to do with the musicians and how they wanted to change a few things. As far as the publishing stuff goes, I haven't had anything to do with this either, but the people who take care of my business have assured me that Peter has 100% control of his interest in his song."
The statement continues: "The thing that really upsets me is what's been said about my live performances...the way it was said makes it sound like I'm not singing live at my shows, which is not true. In the past, we've used instrumentation and voice samples on the up-tempo numbers. This just gives the dance tracks a bit more punch to enhance the live performance, but I think that's normal. As far as singing live; well, this is what I love to do the most. My whole life revolves around singing live, and I think my fans know this about me. Whether it's not talking for two days between shows, or not eating certain foods on show days, or not being near air conditioning even when it's 95 degrees...my whole focus is to keep my vocal cords in top shape so that I can deliver when I'm on stage. My fans know this, and everyone who's seen my show knows that I put everything I've got into every performance that I give."
-- Jason Gelman, New York