Jacques Ysaye, who wrote the catchiest jingle in hockey and possibly all of sports, died last week in Brussels, according to a post on his Facebook page. He was 94.
Ysaye, who also used the pseudonym Jack Say, wrote the well-known and infectious “Brass Bonanza” in the mid-70s—a 2010 Hartford Courant article states Ysaye originally named it “Electric Beat”—and it has since been stuck in the heads of anyone who happens to remember the Hartford Whalers, the now-defunct hockey team which adopted it as their theme song. It might have popped into your head as soon as you saw this headline.
Despite the popularity of “Brass Bonanza,” Ysaye said he never received royalties. From Jeff Jacobs’s article:
“I’ve never received royalties of authors’ rights on this number and the publisher Audio Video Music doesn’t exist in Belgium anymore,” Ysaye wrote. “Do you know who is the sub-publisher for the USA?”
When, I wrote back I thought it was Fox, Ysaye answered: “I’m happy to know this number has a great popularity in your country, but I never received a cent for these performances. I’ll write to my Performing Right Society [SABAM, in Belgium].”
This, of course, potentially changes the happy tune of the happy tune. Far be it from me to guide Ysaye, but I did offer to him that there probably isn’t much money to be made from a minor-league hockey team and a bunch of college pep bands. And that a few bucks could cost him a bunch of ill will.
“It is not for the money,” Ysaye responded. “I would claim to my Performing Right Society, but only for the principle.”