Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Plagiarism---a pop music tradition

I've had occasion to read about lawsuits pertaining to incidents involving plagiarism---which is the art of using other people's ideas or concepts as "stepping stones" for ideas of one's own. That is, as a foundation for a creation of your own you use, as a premise, someone else's creation (to support your own ideas with). Are you following me so far?
Now, morally, idealistically, and sometimes even legally, such a practice or practices are considered unethical and even a form of "theft". Which, technically, is true.
But lest you think that any or all incidences turn out like the case of MY SWEET LORD verses HE'S SO FINE, guess again...

We'll check out a few other examples of this long-standing practice:

C. C. RIDER---Chuck Willis' version ...along comes BACK TO SCHOOL AGAIN by Timmie "Oh Yeah!" Rogers

And Ferlin Husky was quite broken up when he found his lover had GONE---he got so depressed he just had to share a little RED RED WINE with Neil Diamond (later on UB40 joined them)

And if you're engaged to that "special one" in your excitement you just might WAKE THE TOWN AND TELL THE PEOPLE---RIGHT OR WRONG you do it anyway in all your excitement.

And JUST ONCE IN MY LIFE I'd like to know how YOU'VE LOST THAT LOVIN' FEELING could have been written by Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil while it's "sound-alike" follow-up was written by Carole King & Gerry Goffin.

And I JUST CAN'T HELP BELIEVING how much that song sounds like MacARTHUR PARK and WORDS by the Bee Gees.

What about the strange resemblance between I'LL MAKE YOU MINE by Bobby Vee and The Beatles' FROM ME TO YOU?

And THE NEW GIRL IN SCHOOL is lamenting the end of SUMMERTIME U.S.A. as the new school-year begins.

And does MONY MONY really mean GIMME GIMME GOOD LOVIN'? Well, ALL RIGHT NOW, it really doesn't matter so long as you just keep ROCKIN' ME.

And I CRIED A TEAR for you, while wondering WHAT AM I LIVING FOR?

There's Annie and Henry dancing at the club: he says WORK WITH ME ANNIE to which she replies DANCE WITH ME HENRY.

And what a HEATWAVE there could be next time you forget to WAKE ME UP BEFORE YOU GO-GO.

Have you ever met the fiance of THE UNDER-ASSISTANT WEST COAST PROMOTION MAN? I believe her name is FANNIE MAE.

Hey, how about the time SWEET LITTLE SIXTEEN went SURFIN' U.S.A.?

And the PAPERBACK WRITER does his best work on a PLEASANT VALLEY SUNDAY. He prefers to work alone---doesn't like to have other people around him when he's working ...you know how people are---TOO MUCH TALK (AND NOT ENOUGH ACTION).

Then there's a hot-rodder who cruises around in his STICK SHIFT jalopy with his BULLDOG in the front seat riding shotgun.

And if we feel like PUTTIN' ON THE RITZ we can always try it while in ISTANBUL

And LOUIE LOUIE would never BEG BORROW AND STEAL.

 And the WILD THING always mellows out a little when it's his turn to DO UNTO OTHERS.

And when night falls the ROCKIN' LITTLE ANGEL will always DANCE BY THE LIGHT OF THE MOON. 

And Hank Ballard shouts LET'S GO LET'S GO LET'S GO when doing THE WATUSI with The Vibrations

MERRY XMAS (WAR IS OVER).  Now let's celebrate by going to the race track.  I know a good horse to bet on:  STEWBALL

And to say nothing about that WILD WEEKEND we had with MY BEST FRIEND'S GIRL and the ROCK AND ROLL GIRLS

THE JOLLY GREEN GIANT...I found out his name is BIG BOY PETE...but he's also, on occasion, been referred to as POTATO CHIP

Steve Winwood likes to ROLL WITH IT while "riding SHOTGUN" with Jr. Walker & the All Stars

Eydie Gorme laments she CAN'T GET OVER THE BOSSA NOVA while jangling her BAUBLES BANGLES AND BEADS for The Kirby Stone Four

Charlie Gracie finds it FABULOUS that Elvis is ALL SHOOK UP

BOOGIE ON REGGAE WOMAN.  And don't forget to wear your BOOGIE SHOES.

THE SNAKE; THE WORK SONG; LOCOMOTIVE BREATH.  The story of a hard-working train engineer who gets bitten by a rattler?

GOD, LOVE AND ROCK AND ROLL.  Who wouldn't say AMEN to that notion?

OVER THE RAINBOW has got to be SOMEWHERE OUT THERE.

Now that THE LION SLEEPS TONIGHT we can peacefully continue our SWINGIN' SAFARI and celebrate by playing songs with an AFRIKAAN BEAT.


...just a few examples of why I just laugh whenever I hear or read about anyone being surprised, shocked, or outraged upon learning that a particular song was actually ...STOLEN from an earlier one.
This so practice has always been quite the norm. I'm sure long before "rock n'roll" ever entered the pop-music "scene".

Interesting note:  You know the 1970 hit WAR by Edwin Starr?  The chord structure of that song is identical to the that of the first few bars of Chopin's FUNERAL MARCH.  Of course layered over with a different melody line, but still---the same chords exactly.

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