Anyone who's ever tried to write a song has come up against that feeling that someone else has already written it. Decades into this 'rock 'n' roll era and beyond' and it's gotten harder and harder to not snatch a melody from someone else. There are twelve notes in pop music and only four or five worth thinking about. After awhile, you rip off yourself.
There are still plenty more examples where these came from (who knows what the future holds here at the wild and wonderful Y! Music) and I even avoided songs sampled into other songs. Now be sure to listen to these tunes and see if you can hear where the subconscious lift or outright rip-off occurs. And be sure to list your own favorite tunes that ripoff one another in the generous space provided below…
Here's three to get us started!
Cat Stevens may have retired the 'Cat' brand, but it doesn't stop his people from confronting other artists who infringe on one of his melodies. Eventually these folks came to terms, but I think the Lips should have been given permission to re-write a few other Cat tunes. Just imagine what they could do with "Where Do the Children Play?" and "Mona Bone Jakon."
(both written by producer Desmond Child)
How funny is it that Desmond Child gave Bonnie Tyler a tune that saw release in May 1986 and then had a song he wrote with Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora that sounds a lot like it come out in July 1986? Is it stealing if you steal it from yourself? Hmmn, let's ask...
Some people maintain it's the same chorus pedal on the guitar that makes these songs sound similar but I think the guitar riffs are close enough to establish that Kurt Cobain listened to his share of Killing Joke albums back there in the great Pacific Northwest before he was famous.
And here are a few more to think about:
Kelly Clarkson -- All I Ever Wanted vs. Spoon -- I Turn My Camera On
Avril Lavigne -- Girlfriend vs. The Rubinoos -- I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend
Steely Dan -- Barrytown vs. XTC -- Standing In For Joe
George Harrison -- My Sweet Lord vs. The Chiffons -- He's So Fine
Bruce Springsteen -- Radio Nowhere vs. Tommy Tutone -- 867-5309