Going To Rehab With A Ya Ya Twist

August 22, 2009 at 12:01 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Hey, kids. Dlock is back with what may be the final “ripped off music” blog entry for a while. Been a busy 10 days since the last post – sorry about that. Let’s get our teeth into today’s tunes.

Seems like everyone knows all about Amy Winehouse, her song Rehab, and her struggles with substance abuse. To refresh the memory, here is Amy singing Rehab:

Whatever else, Winehouse’s vocals on Rehab are smoky, sultry, and utterly amazing in the best ’60s Motown tradition. A truly talented singer, and hopefully her health will allow her to record more marvelous songs in the future.

But you know me. It sounds like something I’ve heard before. Memory is a double-edged sword, both curse and blessing in one. And while I may not have heard the following song for many, many, many years, perhaps it was lodged in a synapse all this time. But truth be told, I owe a tip of the hat to an anonymous poster on Yahoo Answers for this one.

Miss Petula Clark, from 1962, singing Ya Ya Twist. And I know I’ve heard some covers of this one.

So once again, old tunes are given new life. I’ve occasionally heard that, since there are only so many notes, and only so many ways in which to arrange them, that we are going to run out of fresh melodies, and may in fact have already done so. (Here is a link to a really in-depth article on the subject.) When you stop to think about how many little tunes are squandered as throw-away jingles for auto insurance or taco stands, in addition to all the melodies that are fully developed into songs in their own right, the mind fairly reels in shock. We’re wasting our musical resources to peddle ice cream and cell phones.

Ah, well. No one ever said we humans are smart about how we use our resources. Have a lovely weekend, everyone! I’m off to bed. Got a yard sale to do in the morning.

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Who You Gonna Rip Off?

August 11, 2009 at 12:19 am (Entertainment, Media, Music) (, , , , , )

Holy Toledo, fellow music fans. Another week has passed, and here I am again with one of my last “borrowed music” blog entries. (I suspect some of you are getting well and truly tired of these…)

Be that as it may, here’s one that was so obvious, I missed it entirely until my housemate reminded me. This case of kleptomelodica was front page news in the ’80s, but nowadays, few people really remember it except when playing “Trivial Pursuit“. On to the setup:

We open with a brisk and zippy little tune by Huey Lewis and The News, entitled I Want A New Drug:

Much controversy at the time over those lyrics. This was, after all, Nancy Reagan’s America, where we were all supposed to “just say no to drugs“. Of course, the whole point was that the song was all about being in love, and that’s the “drug” in question. Good old reactionaries… gotta love ’em.

Fast forward a few years, and a movie called Ghostbusters is in post production, and the producers call in one Ray Parker Jr. to help score the film. They have put in Huey’s I Want A New Drug as a sort of placeholder for the title theme, and they tell Ray that they want a song that kind of sounds like this.

Oh, boy. Talk about walking into a spinning propeller. Ray Parker did it straight on that time. I almost feel sorry for him, but not really. He’s worth way more than I am.

As for Huey Lewis, he did okay out of it, too. The lawsuit led to developing contacts in the film industry, and our Mr. Lewis made a brief appearance in Back To The Future.

“Hold it, fellas. I’m afraid you’re just too darn loud.

See you in a few days to a week – it’s been really busy.

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A Classic “Borrowed” Melody

July 5, 2009 at 8:16 pm (Entertainment, General, Media, Music) (, , , , , , , , )

This time, let’s take a look at the most well-known case of musical plagiarism, the George Harrison My Sweet Lord debacle. In late 1969, George, noodling around on his guitar, came up with a little tune that was released on his 1970 album, All Things Must Pass:

Turned out that George appears to have – either consciously or unconsciously – taken the melody for My Sweet Lord from a song recorded by The Chiffons in 1962, He’s So Fine:

Do lang, indeed… And so, George was well and truly raked over the coals, and eventually a (rather complex) settlement was reached.

What a mess. George later recorded a song about the experience, called, simply enough, This Song:

George Harrison – This Song

(Sorry about that failure to embed the video. The YouTube page opens in a new window. The copyright holders are being sticky about it. Poopheads.)

Self-parody never sounded so good. Monty Python alumnus Eric Idle even makes a brief voice appearance about halfway through, offering the opinion that it “sounds like Sugar Pie Honey Bunch!”

Or perhaps, as Eric also said, it sounds more like Rescue Me.  Funny, though.  The ladies of the jury look like George.

Please join me here again in a few days to examine another pair of songs, and compare their similarities. If you’ve got any ideas, or wish to dispute my conclusions, feel free to offer your opinion below. I’m looking forward to it!

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Sowing The Seeds Of The Walrus

June 30, 2009 at 10:48 pm (Entertainment, General, Media, Music) (, , , , , )

Greetings, fellow music nerds. Allow me to humbly present part two of my side-by-side music comparisons. This time, one of my favorite ’80s bands alongside the most important band of the ’60s.

Tears For Fears released a song called Sowing The Seeds of Love in 1989, and I recently noticed just how much it sounded like The Beatles’ I Am The Walrus…

Now contrast that little melody with the tune by the Fab Four:

Quite a lot of commonality in the whole concept of Sowing the Seeds… the intro, the vocal style, the expression and tempo of the lyrics… For me, the similarities are fairly obvious, but what about you? Feel free to comment below. Take me to task, but be ready to defend your assertions!

Next time, more “dueling ditties” for your entertainment and edification. See you back here in a few days, kids! In the meantime, if you’re not already sick of listening to I Am The Walrus, check out this version, too. I’d never seen this, and I’m old enough to have seen it first time around – had I been paying attention:

I was wondering how they were going to handle the lyrics at 2:32 (you know the one – “been a naughty girl”).  Tell me what you see.

(I… bury… Paul…)

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