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    Memphis officials to help save Aretha Franklin's birthplace

    The Memphis mayor's office is pitching in to help figure out the future of the dilapidated house where soul singer Aretha Franklin was born, a lawyer said Thursday.

    Alan Crone, special counsel to Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, told a judge that a working group from the mayor's office plans to assist other stakeholders concerned about the preservation and future use of the historic home.

    Crone said the group would seek funding sources to preserve the house, which has become a symbol of Memphis' massive blight problem. He said the city has been contacted by "serious people" who are interested in saving the house: It sits in a neighborhood dealing with abandoned houses, vacant lots and crime.

    Crone said it's time for the Memphis community to "step up."

    "If we can get one house right, no matter where it is, that's a victory," Crone told Shelby County Environmental Court Judge Larry Potter during a hearing. "But this is a historic property, and it's part of our heritage as Memphians that all kinds of music was literally born here."

    Franklin, known as the "Queen of Soul," was born in the house in 1942. Her family moved away from Memphis about two years later.

    The house has been vacant for years, and there's no historical marker indicating its significance.

    Lawyers, community leaders and Potter have been trying to find ways to save the house, which sits empty with its windows boarded up. Potter had ordered the house demolished, but he put that order on hold last year after volunteers stabilized the crumbling structure.

    The house has been placed in a receivership, headed by Jeffrey Higgs, president of the LeMoyne-Owen College Community Development Corporation. Higgs told Potter last month that he has been in discussions with a producer at the DIY Network on a plan to repair and move the house to another location for one of its programs.

    Higgs said Thursday those discussions were ongoing. He added that work to fix the roof could start by the end of March.

    Some would like to see the house moved to a safer location, to make it more attractive for visitors, including out-of-town tourists. Potter said Thursday that he would prefer to see the house rescued by local entities, but if the DIY Network or other outside groups are willing to help, then that's fine too.

    "I'll go out and help them," Potter said. "I'm not going to be nailing up anything because it would be crooked if I nailed it up. I'm not a carpenter. But I'm serious about the fact that I want that building rehabbed."

    'No Scrubs' writers get added to Sheeran hit 'Shape of You'

    The songwriters behind TLC's 1999 megahit "No Scrubs" are now listed as co-writers of Ed Sheeran's No. 1 hit "Shape of You."

    On the website for performance rights organization ASCAP, Kandi Burruss, Tameka Cottle aka Tiny and Kevin Briggs have been added as co-writers of "Shape of You," co-written by Sheeran, Steve Mac and John McDaid.

    "Shape of You" is currently on top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Representatives for Sheeran and ASCAP didn't immediately respond to emails from The Associated Press seeking comment.

    Burruss and Tiny were members of the R&B girl group Xscape. Burruss, also a reality star on Bravo's "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," posted about the news Sunday on her Instagram page.

    "To be a part of such a great song is a blessing," Tiny, in an email to The Associated Press, said of being added to the "Shape of You" songwriters.

    Last year The Chainsmokers' ubiquitous No. 1 hit, the Grammy-nominated "Closer," extended writing to two members of The Fray because of similarities to the band's 2005 hit, "Over My Head (Cable Car)."

    In 2015, a jury awarded Marvin Gaye's children $7.4 million after finding Robin Thicke and Pharrell's "Blurred Lines" copied their father's hit "Got to Give It Up." A judge later cut the verdict to $5.3 million.

    That was the same year Sam Smith gave Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne writing credit on his Grammy-winning hit "Stay With Me" after some said it sounded like Petty's 1989 song, "I Won't Back Down," and Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, for their worldwide, Grammy-winning "Uptown Funk," extended credit to the five writers of Gap Band's 1979 hit "Oops Upside Your Head."

    "Shape of You" has spent almost two months at No. 1 on the Hot 100. The song set the record for the most one-day streams on Spotify with 10,123,630 streams.

    "No Scrubs" had a big pop culture moment in the late '90s. It also reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned a Grammy for TLC.


    AP Writer Jonathan Landrum Jr. in Atlanta contributed to this report.