FloRida Spins Us Right Round (Like a Record)

February 25, 2010 at 12:58 am (Entertainment, Media, Music) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

I’m afraid that now that I’ve got this whole “this song sounds like that song” thing started, I may not be able to quit. It’s becoming like a sort of addiction, or compulsion. Every time I turn around these days, I spot another new song that sounds like a tune I heard years ago. Case in point…

I was visiting a friend the other day, and the TV was playing a music on demand channel. This song by FloRidaRight Round – popped up, and my memory ran up a flag, too. Let’s listen to FloRida:

Yep. There it is, a nifty little musical hook from 1984. Back when I was a much younger man, a band called Dead or Alive had a big hit titled You Spin Me Round:

At least FloRida seems to be open about the origins of the hook, which was sampled for Right Round. The Wikipedia entry for Right Round discusses the source, so it looks as if the lawyers will not be called from their crypts to put the bite on FloRida.

Hey, maybe there’s some hope for modern music after all! And no, I’ve got no idea why the eye patch. Or that ’80s Big Hair! Damn, man! One forgets. Go back and watch music videos or movies from the ’80s, and you’ll see what I mean. Stick thin girls with short skirts and hair teased and sprayed until the blondes look like dandelions with eyeliner.

Tank GirlWhich reminds me. Not sure why it reminds me, but – it reminds me. I ran across a site online where you can watch the movie Tank Girl all the way through for free. Never seen Tank Girl? Oh, it’s an experience. Go ahead. Check it out, and let me know what you think.

More soon, film fans and music mavens. It’s a busy time. Got a sick friend, and my dad had surgery a couple weeks ago, too. So – chaos, discord, and mayhem. Lovely.

And if you have any ideas for topics, go ahead and leave a comment below.

Oh, one more thing, in the immortal words of Columbo. I had a really interesting comment on my most popular entry, They Call This a Jeep? Click the link to read the comment, and my response.

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Kookaburra Sits And Laughs While Men Work

February 5, 2010 at 1:33 am (Entertainment, Media, Music) (, , , , , , )

Once again, dear readers, we will take a few minutes to revisit the concept of the borrowed melody, or as I’ve called it, kleptomelodica.

Apparently, some cases of misappropriated tunes take some time to come to light and be resolved. I was surprised to see in today’s news, that a band I was quite fond of, back in the ’80s, have lost a lawsuit over their biggest hit.

The BBC reports that Men At Work, an Australian band whose big hit, Down Under, had borrowed a bit of its melody from the old song, Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree. Let’s start by having a listen to Down Under

Now that’s a bunch of bonza blokes who seem to be having a good time. Oh, yes… I do remember this one from my misspent youth, lo so many years gone by. And I even used to buy Vegemite at the local health food store, where I also had a bit of a crush on the young lady who worked there. Fun little tune. And funny that I didn’t notice the similarity to Kookaburra. Hell, even I knew that melody from my childhood. Here’s the Aussie song about the bird, then…

Now that I think about it, and listen to Kookaburra alongside the flute riff from Down Under, I can see (or rather hear) the similarity.

But I wonder why, in this performance, the lyrics are changed from “gay your life must be” to “rich your life must be”.

Probably to keep the boys from sniggering uncontrollably.

Ah, well. Whatever. The bottom line is – the courts have decreed that Men At Work shall compensate the estate of Kookaburra composer Marion Sinclair.

Good on yer, mates.  And maybe an “I’m sorry” might not be out of place.

More soon.

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Surfin’ With Sweet Little 16

November 15, 2009 at 11:48 pm (Entertainment, General, Music) (, , , , , , , , , )

web_surferGreetings, fellow web surfers! And my apologies – it’s been over two weeks since I last posted. Life’s been getting in the way. (And that’s getting annoying…)

But let’s get on with the fun, and revisit the “Stolen Songs” theme that I was doing a couple months ago. For some reason, this one came wandering through my head the other day like some sort of melodic vagrant, mooching for spare change. First, the original moldy oldie – from 1958, Chuck Berry’s Sweet Little Sixteen:

Chuck Berry is, without doubt, one of the biggest influences ever on rock & roll. Everybody learned to play his songs, covered them in bars and clubs, and his records were in every jukebox. That probably explains why The Beach Boys song, Surfin’ USA, sounds so much like it.

I’m kind of surprised that I never really noticed before. Chuck Berry sure did -in 1963, he apparently accused Brian Wilson of stealing the melody, and Murry Wilson – Brian’s father – seems to have agreed. He signed the rights to Surfin’ USA over to Chuck Berry… including the royalties for the lyrics!

And before I get slammed for ripping off someone else’s blog, I will insist right now that my connection between these two songs was not prompted by the October 15th entry on SoundsJustLike.com.  But here’s the link, nevertheless.

Back soon with more goodies, everyone!

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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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Adam Freeland vs Black Eyed Peas

August 3, 2009 at 12:31 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Some things never end, like this series on musical borrowing. Actually, I was running out of ideas when this one came to my attention. First, a neat little dance number called Mancry by Adam Freeland…

I rather like it. It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it, in the words of all the teenagers ever interviewed by Dick Clark on American Bandstand, back in the days of only 3 TV networks.

Seems as though the Black Eyed Peas may have sampled it without approval for their new tune, Party All The Time:

The music biz sure has changed since I used to listen to The Beatles on a little AM radio when I was a kid. Now people borrow and sample and remix. Club DJs are becoming celebrities in their own right, due to their mad skillz on the mixing console.

Here’s a nice comparison video someone put together:

I think Adam Freeland may have a case here.

And if any of you out there have some ideas for concluding this series, by all means, comment below. I’ll be getting back to some other pop culture topics very soon.

And rest in peace, Michael Jackson. The media hounds are tearing your corpse apart. Shame.

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21 Guns On The Telephone Line

July 23, 2009 at 11:03 pm (Entertainment, General, Media, Music) (, , , , , , , , )

Hey, kids!  Dlock’s back again with another Magical Musical Juxtaposition.

Green Day’s newest album, 21st Century Breakdown, features a little tune called 21 Guns. Something about the chorus seemed a little familiar. Let’s have a listen…

It took me a few weeks here for my wobbly old brains to make the connection.  Let’s listen now to a band from my youth (which feels like only yesterday, but for some reason is now decades gone)…

Oh, telephone line, give me some time – I’m living in twilight. Those few bars sound – to my grizzled ears – a lot like the Green Day chorus.

Good old Electric Light Orchestra. They were quite the supergroup, back in the days of leisure suits and disco dancing. I first saw ELO on NBC’s late night Midnight Special concert program, which was a sort of cross between MTV and American Bandstand, and announced by Wolfman Jack. They performed Roll Over Beethoven which, at the time, I thought was the coolest thing ever.

(Jeff Lynne looked totally freaky! Hey, it was 1973, and everyone had as much hair as they could possibly grow.)

Have a fine weekend, everyone.  Got to get back to work.  Be looking for more examinations of music and pop culture in a few days.

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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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