Just like in every other industry, the music industry has seen plenty of plagiarism cases over the years. We decided to select ten tunes and their possible inspiration. We also added some polls so you can decide whether these tunes are either rip-offs, coincidental similarities or authorized samples.
And yes, I stole the picture on the left from the internet. I'm naughty...
Metallica's 'Welcome Home (Sanitarium)' (Master Of Puppets - 1986) is one of the most popular metal ballads in the history of the genre. It contains an easily recognizable riff, but so does 'Rainbow Warrior' by NWOBHM band Bleak House (single - 1980). Check out both tracks and vote below the videos.
This one seems pretty obvious. In fact, in recent years more and more people have accused the Leds of stealing their songs. 'Stairway To Heaven' was released in 1971. However, a band named Spirit sued them for copyright infringement because the megahit sounds a lot like their 1968 song 'Taurus'. Again, check and vote.
I think this one is quite easy since Massive Attack have been sampling on pretty much all of their songs. In 'Safe From Harm', released in 1991, you can find whole pieces of 'Stratus' by Billy Cobham. This jazz fusion piece was released in 1973. So yeah, this one is obvious but you just have to listen to 'Stratus'.
Coldplay doesn't escape the plagiarism accusations either. Did they rip-off Kraftwerk 'Computer Love' for their 'Talk' single?
With 'Waterloo', Swedish pop sensation Abba won the Eurovision Song Festival in 1974. However, the song seems to have a few similarities with 'Build Me Up, Buttercup' by The Foundations, which was released six years earlier. Coincidence?
Everybody knows that Tricky shares Massive Attack habits of sampling other people's music. But this one seems right on the edge between sampling and ripping off.
'Bittersweet Symphony' was a smash hit back in the day when Britpop was still relevant (haha). However, the song has a similar feel as 'The Last Time' by Andrew Oldham Orchestra, released in 1965. Check out both songs and decide for yourself.
Dutch author, and Bach aficionado, Maarten 't Hart calls "A Whiter Shade of Pale" an "original adaptation" of Johann Sebastian Bach's Ich steh mit einem Fuß im Grabe, BWV 156. In fact, this was the first piece of musical "borrowing" I have ever heard about. My old music teacher let us listen to both pieces. Check it out and vote below.
Here is another crack in the wall of musical originality. The opening riff of 'Smoke On The Water' is probably one of the most recognizable riffs ever. Every guitar player begins his career with that single riff. But... it's a rip off from a bossa-nova piece by Astrud Gilberto, released in 1966. Or isn't it? You decide.
Someone found out that the 1988 Guns 'n Roses has a lot of similarities with a song by Australian Crawl, released in 1981. Somehow that makes sense. Slash played that well known opening riff during practice and Axl loved it. Slash hated it but Axl wanted to turn it into a song. So, Slash quickly added a few chords, probably stolen from a song he heard a few days before.
Right, this was a fun article to compile. We'd like to do more but I got to bake some hamburgers now. If you know more of these, send us an email (info(at)merchantsofair(dot)com).