While Prince‘s estate sorts out who will be adorned as its heir, it appears they’ll also have to handle matters in Italy, where a court ruled that “The Most Beautiful Girl In The World” was plagiarized from the 1983 song “Takin’ Me To Paradise” by songwriters Bruno Bergonzi and Michele Vicino. The Italian songwriters initially filed suit in 1995 following the release of “Most Beautiful Girl,” but were ruled against.
Winning in their first appeal (2007) and final ruling (arriving in 2015,) Bergonzi and Vicino are looking to finally collect. According to Billboard, that last ruling banned the distribution of “Most Beautiful Girl” in Italy, mandated that Prince himself pay for the sentence to be published in two Italian dailies and two specialty mags (like Billboard?) and that the song’s publishers, Warner Chappell Italy, deliver the verdict to Prince’s doorstep. Apparently that was attempted at one point, but they were unable to find anyone home upon arrival. And now with the icon’s passing, the estate itself will have to handle these demands.
It should be noted that Bergonzi and Vicino are now acknowledged as the writers of “The Most Beautiful Girl In The World,” at least in Italy. Whether they’ll see the rest of those damages met by the estates is still to be seen. But it appears we now know why Prince wouldn’t let the track go to Kevin Smith for Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back, a tale that should certainly be revisited if you’re unfamiliar.