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COPYCATS

Una200 Joni has asked me to write about the why’s and where’s of musical influence, particularly in artists I respect and love.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check this out: “You Would Never Exist Without Us…”

Anyway, I think what he means is that you might be surprised by some of the people accused of copying someone else, and again those who openly admit to it. There’s a fine line and sometimes one for the courts to judge, most recently the high-profile case of Pharrell and the guy with the plastic face were charged with copyright infringement over Blurred Lines (it’s clearly based on Marvin Gaye’s Got To Give It Up).

So rather than go too deep about Louis Aragon’s influence on Francoise Hardy, I’m picking the following examples:

  • Let It Bleed, Rolling Stones (1969) is arguably one of the greatest album’s of all time and taken by some as a dig at The Beatles’ Let It Be, but in truth it was more of a love-tap. The Rolling Stones were the harder faced alternative to The Beatles’ pop product of the 60’s and there was always a rivalry but also a bond and friendship between the bands. Lennon-McCartney penned the Stones’ second hit-single with I Wanna Be Your Man (1963) and both men provided uncredited backing vocals on Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967) an album with a cover clearly taking some ideas from the earlier released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (which just to confuse you some more includes a Stones’ sweatshirt on the cover). At the world premiere live recording for All You Need Is Love Mick Jagger is seen sat singing and clapping to the beat, so it’s clear that this was a mutual thing.
  • OK, it’s not always quite a lovely as that though. So apparently The Pigeon Detectives originally started out as a band preforming The Cribs songs in their live sets. There is nothing wrong with that, everybody has to start somewhere and in no way were they claiming that these were works of their own. What’s interesting here is that following some commercial success and a spat between the two bands, The Cribs released the single Our Bovine Public in 2007 which includes the line “If you say nothing, then you’ll always mean nothing to me” and the cold, biting, “You would never exist without us”. Inspired stuff.
  • You want more? Well let’s look at Oasis’ much lauded debut Definitely Maybe (1994). This is an example of outright arrogance as Noel Gallagher has no shame admitting he took the opening to T. Rex’s Get It On to open Cigarettes and Alcohol with. Similarly, and maybe with tongue firmly in cheek, Shakermaker’s opening comes from Coca-Cola’s commercial tune “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)” (1971). And the solo from Supersonic? Check out George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord…

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