Rip this joint
There are only 12 notes in a scale. In western music anyway.
So I guess it’s bound to happen. Rip offs.
Whether they are accidental, unconscious, or complete plagiarism they are out there.
Perhaps the most famous (since it went to court) was the “My Sweet Lord” / “He’s so fine” case. Harrison said if he ripped it off, it was completely subconsciously.
And, yes, I hear the similarities, but I never thought it should have gotten the press it did. The production of the songs was so different. But the melody line was pretty close. Even along with the answer melody (Harrison’s “Hallelujah” and the Chiffon’s “Do-lang do-lang”)
But there are worse offenders. Some get busted, some raise eyebrows, some go sort of unnoticed.
The Beach Boys COMPLETELY ripped off Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen” with their song, “Surfing USA”. They gave him no credit until Berry confronted them. Then they handed over the entire copyright of the song to Berry. He still owns it today.
In 1984 Huey Lewis was approached by producers to write a theme for a movie called “Ghostbusters”. He declined because he was working on his own album, and was doing the music for another film, “Back to the Future”.
The song went to Ray Parker Jr.
When Lewis heard the song he immediately sued because “Ghostbusters” was a direct rip off of “I want a new Drug”. They settled out of court.
And remember Vanilla Ice trying to say “Ice, Ice, Baby” wasn’t a rip off of the Queen/ David Bowie tune “Under Pressure?” He lost.
The most bizarre was John Fogerty being sued for plagiarizing himself. He didn’t own the rights to his old Creedence catalog, so the publishers who DID sued him for “Old Man down the Road” being a rip off of his own song “Run Through The Jungle” He actually lost the case.
Prince ripped himself off. But he owned his stuff, so…
Listen to the melody line of “Manic Monday” by the Bangles (Prince wrote it) then listen again to 1999. See?
And there are some questionable ones. Led Zeppelin has had a reputation of “borrowing” riffs and some melodies.
If you don’t believe me listen to “Stairway to Heaven”, then YouTube “Taurus” by a band called Spirit. Hmmmm.
And what about Jet’s “Are you gonna be my girl” and Iggy Pop’s “Lust for life”. Similar?
Even Andrew Lloyd Webber borrowed his “Phantom of the Opera” theme from Pink Floyd’s “Echo’s”
And I always thought Skynyrd’s “Tuesday’s Gone” (great song) was just “Let it Be” Really really slow. Sing along with it next time you hear, you’ll see what I mean.
What about you? Ever noticed something that’s just a little too similar to something else?