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Thread: Songs With Ripped-Off Riffs

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    Cyburbian dobopoq's avatar
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    Songs With Ripped-Off Riffs

    Most people know the theme song used in the movie "Ghostbuster's" - written by Ray Parker Jr, features a ripp-off of the bass line from "I Want A New Drug" by Huey Lewis and the News, (both of which are excellent songs IMO) and that it provoked an out of court settlement.

    So what other specific songs can you think of that - in your opinion, feature riffs or melodies that seem to be direct ripp-offs or bear a striking resemblance to music created by other artists? (This excludes many hip-hop tracks or songs like "Ice, Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice which clearly uses a direct cut of the bassline from "Under Pressure" by Queen w/David Bowie). You can't really patent say a three-note melody like the NBC chimes - I don't think. I'm certain you can't patent the 2-note octave melody that opens "Somewhere Over The Rainbow". Most good musicians borrow from others to some extent - but find a way to make it their own in an original way. Here's just a few I can think of:

    -The main four-chord guitar riff in "Long Division" by Fugazi is a simplified version of the first five notes from "Pomp and Circumstance" by Edward Elgar.

    -"Pearl Necklace" by ZZ Top has a bass line that is almost exactly the same as the bass line in "Shattered" by The Rolling Stones which preceded ZZ's song by two years.

    -"Hello, I Love You", by the Doors, is a well known ripp-off of "All Day and All of the Night" by the Kinks.

    -"In Time" by Robbie Robb, from the "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" soundtrack has the same four note bass line as "With or Without You" by U2, although it kinda falls into the category of something too generic to have any grounds on which to consider it a ripp-off.

    -"Drown" by Smashing Pumpkins from the "Singles" soundtrack features a dreamy interlude part that is very reminiscent of parts from "Us and Them" by Pink Floyd.
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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Well, there was the time George Harrison got sued for 'My Sweet Lord'. Apparently it sounded too much like 'One Fine Day'.
    Oh, and there are striking similarities between Tone-loc's 'Wild Thing' and VanHalen's 'Jamie's Crying'
    Last edited by Maister; 25 Oct 2005 at 8:36 AM.
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    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    There was a big controversy a few years back when the Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony" was popular. The swelling strings section in the beginning sounds like a Rollling Stones song I guess.

    Once in a while I'll hear a part song and I can tell something was taken from the Beatles. I don't know if it's always ripping off. Sometimes it's so obvious, that it's almost flattery or paying homage to something great. Now the Vanilla Ice incident was a different matter, that was an entire song that sounded like Queen.

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    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    The intro to Metallica's "Fade to Black" is exactly like the intro to Iron Maiden's "Children of the Damned". Kiss's "100,000 Years" is a rip off of Budgies "Rockin' Man".

    Oh yeah, there was a little band called Kingdom Clone. Anyone remember them?

    I dare someone to try to steal a Primus bass line.

    I assume we won't talk about "sampling".....
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

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    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Not in the rock genre, but John Williams, the guy that composes so many soundtracks, has not written an original piece in his life.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

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    Quote Originally posted by Budgie
    The intro to Metallica's "Fade to Black" is exactly like the intro to Iron Maiden's "Children of the Damned". Kiss's "100,000 Years" is a rip off of Budgies "Rockin' Man".

    Oh yeah, there was a little band called Kingdom Clone. Anyone remember them?

    I dare someone to try to steal a Primus bass line.

    I assume we won't talk about "sampling".....
    Yes, I remember Kingdon Come...I just can't remeber what band they sounded like...guhgghguh its driving me nuts...was it Zeplin??

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    Cyburbian Mark's avatar
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    George Harrison lost a court battle. The court determined that George subconsciously plagiarized the melody of He So Fine, written by Ronnie Mack and sung by the Chiffons, when George wrote My Sweet Lord. Apparently Billy Preston was instramental in writing the song and first recorded it, however, was not given writing credit. Then George recorded it for the All Things Must Pass albumn. It was also a single, a smash single. It involved litigation that lasted over twenty years, 1970 to 1993.
    Ohhhh Mama, can this really be the end!

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    Moving at my own pace....... Planderella's avatar
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    Britney Spears' "Slave 4 U" sounds just like Vanity Six's "Nasty Girl." In fact, most songs produced by the Neptunes sound like old school Prince.
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    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Vanilla Ice "Ice Ice Baby" took his intro from Queen's "Under Pressure"

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    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jaxspra
    ...guhgghguh its driving me nuts...was it Zeplin??
    Yeah, it was Zepplin. I'll go home at lunch and play the Kingdom Clone album for a good laugh.

    This makes me wonder..... What is the most frequently recorded song? Swing Low Sweet Chariot? Twist and Shout? Great Balls of Fire? HMMMM? Most blues songs are rip offs.
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

  11. #11
    Quote Originally posted by Mark
    George Harrison lost a court battle. The court determined that George subconsciously plagiarized the melody of He So Fine, written by Ronnie Mack and sung by the Chiffons, when George wrote My Sweet Lord. Apparently Billy Preston was instramental in writing the song and first recorded it, however, was not given writing credit. Then George recorded it for the All Things Must Pass albumn. It was also a single, a smash single. It involved litigation that lasted over twenty years, 1970 to 1993.
    Krishna, krishna. Now I've got my sweet lord embedded in my brain. Thanks, thanks a whole lot.
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    Cyburbian MD Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Budgie
    This makes me wonder..... What is the most frequently recorded song? Swing Low Sweet Chariot? Twist and Shout? Great Balls of Fire? HMMMM? Most blues songs are rip offs.
    Actually, I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that "Yesterday" by the Beatles is the most recorded song.
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  13. #13
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    riffs

    Led Zeppellin's Dazed and Confuzed was supposedly ripped of, almost in its entirety. Al lot of their other songs on the first album came from other blues artists. Canned Heat's "Goin' up the country" flute riff was directly stollen from an ald blue's song.
    WALSTIB

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    Cyburbian Mark's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tom R
    Led Zeppellin's Dazed and Confuzed was supposedly ripped of, almost in its entirety. Al lot of their other songs on the first album came from other blues artists. Canned Heat's "Goin' up the country" flute riff was directly stollen from an ald blue's song.
    Led Zepplin's Dazed and Confused originated from a Yardbirds song called I'm So Confused, when Jimmy Page played lead for the Yardbirds, and it was a kick a** version. The lead singer, Kieth Relf (sp) sang the early version. Jimmy Page also wrote White Summer, with the Yardbirds, which was an instramental. I had an old cassette from a live show that had these songs, from 1967 or 1968, maybe BBC, can't remember.
    Ohhhh Mama, can this really be the end!

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    lz

    Quote Originally posted by Mark
    Led Zepplin's Dazed and Confused originated from a Yardbirds song called I'm So Confused, when Jimmy Page played lead for the Yardbirds, and it was a kick a** version. The lead singer, Kieth Relf (sp) sang the early version. Jimmy Page also wrote White Summer, with the Yardbirds, which was an instramental. I had an old cassette from a live show that had these songs, from 1967 or 1968, maybe BBC, can't remember.
    Cool! I just remember reading about it in a bio book about LZ.
    WALSTIB

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