too much typing—since 2003


stop! thief!

Even musicians who aren't in Led Zeppelin have been known to apply a five-finger discount to musical materials on occasion...although their half-inching is usually a bit more subtle.

Here are some examples.

First up, I noticed this when it came up on shuffle at work the other day: the track "Town & Country II & III" by Ashley Park (I think they should have called themselves the Low Llamas) nicks part of its melody from the Beatles' "You Never Give Me Your Money" (specifically, the part where Paul sings "any jobber got the sack").

And here's Oranger, rather obviously acknowledging the source of its borrowed melody by calling their song "Sorry Paul": its verse melody is taken from the "ooh-ooh" section of "Every Night" by Paul McCartney.

And to prove that it's not only McCartney whose tunes are borrowed, here's Mitch Easter stealing the guitar lick from the Guess Who's "No Time" for his "Sights Set on Heaven."

Antecedent to all this (not posted) is of course Neil Young's "Borrowed Tune" - which (Neil explicitly acknowledges, both in the title and in the lyrics) takes its melody from the Rolling Stones' "Lady Jane."

Ashley Park "Town & Country II & III" (Town and Country, 2000)
Oranger "Sorry Paul" (The Quiet Vibration Land, 2000)
Mitch Easter "Sights Set on Heaven" (Dynamico, 2007)


James said...

I don't remember the name of the song, but the group Sublime had a hit single which was basically "Lady Madonna" with new lyrics. Critics did call the band out on that at the time.

2fs said...

That sounds vaguely familiar - but since I've stopped listening to commercial radio for probably the last two decades, I only heard bits and pieces of it in public places.

I think there's a real difference between borrowing something and doing something with it (as all of the songs I've posted do) - which I have no problem with - and just tossing a few words atop an existing song. For example: when Vanilla Ice basically stole the bassline and percussion from Bowie and Queen's "Under Pressure," he didn't do anything except put his lameass rap on top of it. Whereas (to stay in the white hip-hopper realm) what the Beastie Boys did with their numerous recognizable samples on Paul's Boutique was recontextualize them creatively.

My "stop! thief!" headline is ironic...but if you're, say, that idiot who wrote that inane "Hot Rod Hearts" song (Robbie Dupree) which came out two minutes after the Doobie Brothers' "What a Fool Believes" topped the charts and, just by coincidence I'm sure, featured the very same keyboard rhythm figure...well, that is thievery. 'Specially cuz the song was so dumb.

Steve said...

I mentioned the "No Time" thing to Mitch when he played here earlier this year, and he admitted to the lift. "Sights Set On Heaven" is the into to "No Time" extended for the whole song. Ted Leo's "Sons of Cain" applies the same treatment to 20/20's "Remember The Lightning".

There's a Soundtrack to Our Lives song ("Bendover Babies") that lifts the melody to "Waterloo Sunset" for the verses and "You Can't Do That" for the choruses.

jonderneathica said...

The song in question by Sublime was "What I Got", which borrows the "Lady Madonna" melody on the verses. Also: I like Oranger!