Bruce. Just write a check already.

But I’m way ahead of the story, sorry.

If you hadn’t heard, there’s a lawsuit filed against Bruce Springsteen by the son of a deceased Ocean County man over a car.

His father owned a classic 1968 Pontiac GTO and was invited to an address in Colts Neck to use the vehicle in a photo shoot. According to court documents Louis A. Billotti had no idea it was for a Bruce Springsteen album cover and was surprised when Bruce himself showed up. They got along, talked about cars, and many photos were taken with Bruce sitting in or leaning on the car.

One photo ended up as the artwork for the album “Only The Strong Survive” released in November of 2022. The photo shoot itself happened in October of 2021.

Columbia Records Group
Columbia Records Group

But a lot happened in between.

The lawsuit says the photographer that day gave the senior Billotti a check for $450 with “car prop” written on the memo line, but that there was supposed to be a contract to follow with further compensation if any of the photos were used.

Instead, Billotti never heard another thing.

A couple of months after the photo shoot Billotti landed in the hospital with Covid-19. His son, Louis M. Billotti, says his father struggled for months with his health until he died in May of 2022.

In his final months, Mr. Billotti often spoke of the October photoshoot to several witnesses to nearly the day he passed and asked his son about whether the contract had come in the mail,” the lawsuit states.

Louis A. Billotti was never sent a contract spelling out the marketing terms of which he was entitled as the owner of the GTO,” the suit says. “His GTO was used in this mega-entertainment venture without his permission or reasonable renumeration.

Over the past year, the official Springsteen website, together with the defendant Sony Music Entertainment’s site, sold multiple and various forms of merchandise bearing the image of the GTO, and in many instances, exhibiting only the GTO on the merchandise.”

I’d like to think that Bruce Springsteen, a guy who’s been paid a king’s ransom to do what comes naturally, a guy whose own father struggled with work and poverty when Bruce was a kid, wouldn’t have knowingly had any part in some purposeful, petty deception.

Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band Summer '17 Tour - Sydney
Getty Images

I’d like to think whoever was communicating that day to Billotti was just doing it poorly and also not trying to rip anyone off.

However, it seems clear Billotti thought the deal wasn’t done. And it breaks my heart to think as he lay dying he kept asking if something had arrived in the mail.

So I’d also like to think if there’s even partial veracity to this story that Springsteen would think of his own dad, “Dutch”, and contact the son.

Bruce. Just write a check already.

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