Gary: I am only going to look at this subject briefly and pick the highlights.  This is something that has existed in the Music Industry for years, “Plagiarism”.  It’s a complicated and subjective topic and was out of control in the early years of music, lately the courts have decided.
This is an example of a song that was never in the courts, Pat Boone in 1963 and Elton John in 1973, you tell me what you think

My  first song surprised me, because I love Johnny Cash as a writer and singer, but he did plagiarize  Folsom Prison Blues almost word for word.  It was written as “Crescent City Blues” in 1953 by Gordon Jenkins, composer, record producer and Band Leader and sung by his wife Beverly Mahr.  Johnny was eventually sued, he agreed and paid $75,000 compensation.
plag580097 VS 
Here are both versions

This next one is a favourite, because I, personally doubt it was by accident.  Brian Wilson wrote the lyrics but it was Chuck Berry’s song.  After the lawsuit Chuck was given credit as the writer.  So let’s look at Sweet Little Sixteen that becomes Surfin’ USA.
plag001 VS 
And now the songs:
This one, I guess, is the most famous, because, although not intentional, George Harrison paid over 1 million dollars to Bright Tunes for the Chiffons Hit “He’s So Fine”.  The final settlement was over 1 1/2 Million Dollars in Bright Tunes favour.
plag1harrison VS 
Now the two songs:
Now, for me, the funniest or strangest was CCR’s “Run Through the Jungle”, written by John Fogerty vs The Old Man Down the Road written by John Fogerty, Really.  Yes really, John Fogerty sues John Fogerty, well not really. In what may be the oddest case of plagiarism litigation, John Fogerty was sued for plagiarizing himself. Fantasy Records owned the rights to Fogerty’s recordings with Creedence Clearwater Revival. Fantasy then sued Fogerty, claiming that the artist’s solo song, “The Old Man Down The Road,” plagiarized his track with CCR, “Run Through The Jungle.” Fogerty prevailed over Fantasy after he reportedly brought his guitar to the witness stand and convinced the judge the tracks were different.
plagcreedence-clearwater-revival  VS 
OK, here we go Old Man Down the Road /
Now Run through the Jungle, the Vietnam song /
I will make this, the last one.  One of my favourite Commercials on TV was the Coke Ad that used the song I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.  Well the Australian Pop Group the New Seekers, who sang the song for Coke, found that in 1994 Oasis a British Group recorded “Shakermaker”.  The law suit was won for around $500,000.
plagnewseekers002 VS 
The New Seekers / I’d Like to teach the world to sing /
Oasis / Shakermaker /

One response to “Plagiarism

  1. Hi Gary
    I have two other very interesting examples.
    Firstly Fats Domino’s The Fat Man is a straight copy of Champion Jack Dupree’s Junkers Blues
    Secondly the beautiful Brian Jones guitar solo from the Stones ‘Tell Me’ was copied by Anton Newton’s Brian Jonestown Massacre’s ‘Straight up and Down’ and used as the theme tune to Martin Scorsese ‘s tv series Boardwalk Empire
    Of the two, The Fat Man is the worse in my opinion because of the position that the number has in the history of rock ‘n’ roll
    Kindest regds

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