Monday, May 22, 2006, 4:53 PM // 1 comments

Rock and Roll Rip-Offs

Paul Altobelli
The following is taken directly from the MOJO Magazine message board. This is my brother Stephen's post:

I’m sure we’ve all had these moments where we’ve been listening to a song and thought, “Hey, wait a minute…Haven’t I heard this somewhere before?” And you begin to wonder why there wasn’t a lawsuit. I have five solid examples to offer (plus an Honorable Mention), instances where something key and seemingly original to a hit (or relatively famous) tune turns out to have an uncomfortable similarity to a prior song that for whatever reason isn’t as well known.

In no particular order:
1. “Taurus” by Spirit and “Stairway to Heaven”

2. “You Need Loving” by Small Faces and “Whole Lotta Love”. I’ve heard there’s a story behind this but I’m not fully aware of it. Personally, the first time I heard the Small Faces tune I wondered if Willie Dixon wasn’t the only one who should be suing Plant/Page.

3. “If You Want My Love, Put Something Down on It” by Bobby Womack and “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”

4. “Take a Look Around” by The James Gang and The Who’s “Pure and Easy.” Didn’t The James Gang open for The Who in ’69 or ’70?!

5. “Buddy’s Groove” by Buddy Guy and “I’m Losing You” by Rod Stewart

Honorable Mention: The Soul Brother Six’s “Some Kind of Wonderful” and The Faces “Three-Button Hand-Me-Down.” This is pushing it but being a fan of the soul tune first, I found myself singing that song instinctively the first time I heard the Faces classic. And then David Fricke made the same comparison in his liner notes for Faces box so I’m not the only one who thinks that way.

You know what would be great, if in any of these instances—and perhaps it is that way and I’m just unaware of the original LP notes—if the subsequent artist made an acknowledgment of the original. I don’t know if any of these qualify as out-and-out plagiarism (tho “Taurus”/”Stairway to Heaven” is pushing it), but wouldn’t it have been great to see in the liner notes of the Rod’s “Every Picture Tells a Story” LP: “And a special thanks to Buddy Guy for the inspiration behind ‘I Know I’m Losing You’.” (Actually, he thanks the Faces for that!!)

What others have you heard?

Listen / Download - Buddy's Groove - Buddy Guy



Anonymous Anonymous said...

how about queen's "bohemian rhapsody" and juice newton's "queen of hearts"?

5:00 PM  

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Paul Altobelli is a veteran Internet, marketing and technology professional with considerable expertise in search engine marketing, web site development, design, implementation and project management. [more]

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