Top ten most blatant and alleged song heists

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Earlier this week, Nick Cave responded to accusations that he nicked the basis of the song "Palaces of Montezuma" from a tune by some guy named Frank Duffy called "Grey Man." It seems absurd someone as versatile as Cave would intentionally borrow a lick or two from another song. Any similarities are surely incidental. After all, there are only so may chord progressions and so many words that can be strung together before they start sounding like At the Drive-In-like gibberish. In honor of Grinderman, here's some other famous charges of pilferage.

10. Tom Petty vs. The Strokes

The Strokes openly admitted to copping the basis of "Last Night" from Tom Petty and Petty claimed not to care about it in an interview with Rolling Stone. Perhaps there's something to learn from this: if you're open about your influences, people are less likely to get up in arms... which isn't the case for the next few songs on this list.

9. Queen/David Bowie vs. Vanilla Ice

If you've listened to this and don't see the similarities, you're clearly deaf. This one falls under sampling -- which is fine, if only Vanilla Ice wouldn't have tried to slightly alter the bass line to avoid giving credit where credit was due. All he had to do was ask, ask, baby.

8. Huey Lewis vs. Ray Parker Jr.

The similarities here are kind of hilarious. We could see snatching the riff off an old tune or some no-name band -- but "I Want a New Drug" was a huge hit and someone was bound to notice. We're not saying we actually care, because both songs are iconic for their own reasons, but even still, Parker Jr. could have at least tried to make it a little different.

7. John Fogerty vs. John Fogerty

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If we were going to sue every artist who wrote a song that sounded like an old song they already wrote, we'd be filing lawsuits all day. The problem was that Forgerty didn't actually own the songs that he wrote for CCR; the record label did. Sure, "Run Through the Jungle" and "Old Man Down the Road" are similar, but that's, uh, because he wrote both of them.


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4 comments
Brian_of_Nazareth
Brian_of_Nazareth

If anything was ripped off by Nirvana's "Come as You Are", it would have to be the Smithereens' "Blood and Roses". According to Cobain, he was actually listening to the Smithereens during breaks in the recording of the Nevermind album.

Jenn Van Vorst
Jenn Van Vorst

Wire vs. Elastica.....definitely should be on the list.

Todd Divel
Todd Divel

If you are interested in copyright law and what an awful manager can do, read up on the Harrison/Chiffon case. Ugly business stuff.

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