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Which songs stole from other songs? And which songwriters got sued?


Songwriter plagiarismEver listened to a song for the first time and thought to yourself -– “Hey, I’ve heard this song before!”? That is to say: part of the song, perhaps the intro or a short section that sounds suspiciously similar to some other song you’ve heard? Now, there’s nothing wrong with being inspired by other songs as a songwriter, that happens all the time, but when the inspiration turns into plagiarism you might very well be slammed with a lawsuit. The following list consists of songs that blatantly borrow –- or steal, if you will –- from other songs.

1.
Right Here Waiting by Richard Marx vs. That’s How Strong My Love Is by Alicia Keys: Listen to Alicia Keys’ piano intro and then listen to the opening piano chords (right after the synth) of Richard’s Marx’s Right Here Waiting. Alicia Keys sped up the chord progressions and added a few classical piano licks, but her song still veers dangerously close to the Richard Marx ballad.

[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

2.
Walk Right Back by The Everly Brothers vs. Harvest Moon by Neil Young: The opening guitar chords to Neil young’s Harvest Moon are obviously lifted from The Everly Brothers song Walk Right Back, only Neil Young plays these chords a great deal slower. Walk Right Back, written by American singer/songwriter Sonny Curtis, was originally the B-side of the Everly Brothers single Ebony Eyes.

[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

3.
Blood Money by The Church vs. Bombay Bicycle Club’s Leave It and This Ascension’s Isabella: The guitar intro to Blood Money, a track off the 1988 album Starfish by Australian Alternative Rock band The Church, is so distinct that any attempt to copy it one way or another is bound to be dissected by dedicated fans such as I. This Ascension slow down the chord progressions considerably.



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[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

4.
Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin vs. We Used To by Dolly Parton: The song We Used To was written by Country singer/songwriter Dolly Parton for her 1975 album The Seeker/We Used To. The guitar chords that open We Used To very much resemble the intro to Stairway To Heaven, a song that Dolly Parton, a self-confessed Led Zeppelin fan, actually recorded for her 2002 album Halos & Horns.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

5.
Dazed And Confused by Jake Holmes vs. Dazed And Confused by Led Zeppelin: In 1967, Singer-songwriter Jake Holmes opened for The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page’s then-band.  Two years later, Led Zeppelin recorded a song also titled Dazed And Confused for their debut album without as much as giving Jake Holmes a co-writing credit. Admittedly, Led Zeppelin’s version was very different from Jake Holmes’ original recording, but the similarities are still there, even if the lyrics were completely re-written. In the early 1980s, Jake Holmes sent a letter to Jimmy Page asking for "some credit at least and some remuneration", but he never received a reply. Then, in 2012, he sued Jimmy Page for copyright infringement; the parties settled out of court.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

6.
He’s So Fine by The Chiffons vs. My Sweet Lord by George Harrison: In 1971, George Harrison was sued for alleged copyright infringement due to the similarity between his song My Sweet Lord and the 1963 hit single He’s So Fine, written by Ronnie Mack and recorded by New York girl group The Chiffons. To make matters worse, Country singer Jody Miller released a cover of The Chiffons’ He’s So Fine incorporating George Harrison’s distinct My Sweet Lord slide guitar riffs. The court ruled that -– in addition to legal expenses -– Harrison would also have to pay $1,599,987, amounting to three-quarters of the royalty revenue raised in the U.S., a verdict deemed overly harsh by many considering the unique elements of George Harrison’s My sweet Lord such as, for instance, the universal spiritual message and the signature guitar hook.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

7.
Father And Son by Cat Stevens vs. Fight Test by The Flaming Lips: According to frontman Wayne Coyne, The Flaming Lips did notice a similarity between the band’s song Fight Test and the Cat Stevens classic Father And Son from 1970, but they believed that they had purposefully changed those bits. Cat Stevens sued The Flaming Lips and now gets 75 percent of the royalties from Fight Test.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

8.
All Day And All Of The Night by The Kinks vs. Hello, I Love You by The Doors: The guitar riffs and vocal phrasings of The Doors’ 1968 hit are very similar to The Kinks’ hit single All Day And All Of The Night from 1964. The allegations of plagiarism were dismissed by The Doors, who claimed the song’s vibe was inspired by Cream’s Sunshine Of Your Love, but courts in the U.K. ruled in favor of The Kinks’ Ray Davies, and all royalties for Hello, I Love You are paid to him.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

9.
Run Through The Jungle by Creedence Clearwater Revival vs. Old Man Down The Road by John Fogerty: As the sole songwriter in Creedence Clearwater Revival, John Fogerty wrote Run Through The Jungle for the band’s 1970 album Cosmo’s Factory. Creedence Clearwater Revival’s old record label, Fantasy Records, was owned by Paul Zaentz, who also owned the copyright to Run Through The Jungle, so when John Fogerty recorded the very similar Old Man Down The Road for his 1985 album Centerfield, Paul Zaentz sued him. The jury voted in Fogerty’s favor.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

 

Posted by Thomas Thomsen on Tuesday, January 14, 2014
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