UK musical do overs and plagiarism, involving punk acts onwards
February 11, 2014 10:47 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for pairs of songs in which 1) one or both artists is a UK act that first rose to prominence in the punk era or later (say 1976 onwards; the other act can be any nationality or from time period), and 2) one of the songs is either a music reworking or theft of the other. I am not looking for covers or samples. Several examples inside.

Saint Etienne have a few examples of what I'm looking for:

Teenage Winter reworks Doctor Father's Umbopo.

He's on the Phone reworks Etienne Daho's Week-end à Rome.

Like a Motorway reworks the traditional Silver Dagger, performed here by Joan Baez.

Elastica's Connection lifts from Wire's Three Girl Rhumba.

Nirvana's Come as You Are lifts from the Killing Joke's Eighties.

So, in all the foregoing, there is a song that either re-works (with permission, or a public domain song) or plagiarizes (Nirvana, Elastica), and one or both of the two bands (St. Et, Elastica, Wire, Killing Joke) is a UK act that came to prominence in the punk period or later.

Two examples that don't fit my criteria:

Rollings Stones' Anybody Seen My Baby lifts from K.D. Lang's Constant Craving. Neither the Rollings Stones nor K.D. Lang is a UK act that came to prominence in the punk period or later.

The Verve's Bittersweet Symphony samples Andrew Loog Oldham's symphonic setting of the Rolling Stones' track of the same name. While the Verve are a post-punk UK act, I'm not looking for samples. I'm looking for melodies that have been lifted and reworked (with permission or otherwise).

We've had a few threads about plagiarism and sampling on the Blue and on the Green. Again, I'm not looking for samples, and I'm not necessarily looking for plagiarism. All of the Saint Etienne stuff was with permission (and they also recorded with Etienne Daho).

So, both more narrow and more broad than what has come before, and your ears can help me get around samethattune, etc.
posted by Admiral Haddock to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
When Howard Devoto left the Buzzcocks and formed Magazine, their debut single Shot by Both Sides used a riff that would later appear in the Buzzcocks tune Lipstick.
posted by Crane Shot at 10:56 AM on February 11, 2014

Elton Motello's Jet Boy Jet Girl (later covered by The Damned) reworks Plastic Bertrand's Ca Plane Pour Moi
posted by zombiedance at 11:03 AM on February 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Sex Pistols nicked the guitar riff from the Jam's In the City to use in Holidays in the Sun.
posted by scody at 11:03 AM on February 11, 2014

Johnny Marr borrowed a lot for the Smiths. You could find a lot of examples, notably where the band acknowledged Rusholme Ruffians' reworking a riff from Elvis Presley's (Marie's the Name) His Latest Flame. They performed a medley of the two songs live.
posted by payoto at 11:08 AM on February 11, 2014

Oh, and the bass line in the Jam's Start! is lifted from the Beatles' Taxman. And the opening of Paul Weller's The Changingman lifts from ELO's 10538 Overture.
posted by scody at 11:11 AM on February 11, 2014

Sorry, keep thinking of more (though not all of them involve Paul Weller): The melody of the Stone Roses' Elizabeth My Dear is Scarborough Fair.
posted by scody at 11:17 AM on February 11, 2014

So this happened. One Direction and The Clash.
posted by cazoo at 11:17 AM on February 11, 2014

LCD Soundsystem's "North American Scum" (U.S., 2009) bears a certain resemblance to Pete Shelley's "Homosapien" (U.K., 1981). (I like them both.)
posted by lisa g at 11:23 AM on February 11, 2014

Oh, and here's a whole thread about everything Oasis ever lifted from the Beatles (as well as some other musicians).
posted by scody at 11:30 AM on February 11, 2014

There was much grumbling about the perceived similarities between New Order's Blue Monday and The Cure's The Walk, released 7 March 1983 and 27 June 1983 respectively, but the latter apparently recorded first. A full New Order vs The Cure rip-off thread.
posted by jonathanbell at 11:43 AM on February 11, 2014

They were a UK No1 in 1978, but were from Jamaica: Althea & Donna's Uptown Top Ranking owes a lot to Trinity's Three Piece Suit.
posted by scruss at 11:46 AM on February 11, 2014

Fish Turned Human's "24 Hour Shop" (U.K., 1979) sort of reworks Bob Dylan & the Band's "Million Dollar Bash" (U.S., 1967; link is Dylan live in '05).
posted by lisa g at 11:47 AM on February 11, 2014

Shut Up And Dance's "Raving I'm Raving" is probably the most wholesale theft you're going to find (it takes liberally from Marc Cohn's gooey Walking in Memphis). It went to number two in the UK, at which point Cohn sued and the track was promptly banned, setting a legal precedent against unauthorized sampling, which is still in effect to this day. (The US had a similar moment in '91 when Gilbert O'Sullivan sued Biz Markie over his hit "Alone Again." Before these lawsuits albums like Paul's Boutique were possible.)

The rave era (before '92) might be a good place to start for this as rave acts loved to sample.
posted by Luminiferous Ether at 11:50 AM on February 11, 2014

Nirvana's Come as You Are lifts from the Killing Joke's Eighties .

And "Eighties" uses the same bass riff as the earlier "Life Goes On" by the Damned.
posted by malocchio at 12:41 PM on February 11, 2014

Spacemen 3 (fan page) FAQ, the section "I heard a song by Spacemen 3, and it sure sounded familiar…" discusses reworkings, adaptations and covers by the band.

Examples that should fit your criteria include "Hey Man", a reworking of "Fixin' to Die Blues" by Bukka White, "O.D. Catastrophe" which bears relation to "T.V. Eye" by the Stooges, and "Ode to Street Hassle" which lifts a melody from Lou Reed's "Street Hassle".
posted by mountmccabe at 1:40 PM on February 11, 2014

The melody of the Stone Roses' Elizabeth My Dear is Scarborough Fair

And the Roses' Made of Stone lifts heavily from Velocity Girl by Primal Scream.
posted by Pink Frost at 2:19 PM on February 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Pet Shop Boys "Love is a bourgeois construct" owes a great deal to "Chasing Sheep Is Best Left to Shepherds", a minimalist piece by Michael Nyman,
posted by neilbert at 5:36 PM on February 11, 2014

"She's a Lady" by Pulp is a reworking of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive." Pulp also lifted the riff for "Disco 2000" from the riff for "Gloria" by Laura Branigan.
posted by clair-de-lune at 9:14 PM on February 11, 2014

Poison's "Talk Dirty To Me" steals the opening guitar riff from the Sex Pistols "God Save the Queen".
posted by w0mbat at 12:24 AM on February 12, 2014

Orange Juice's Rip It Up borrows the guitar riff from 'Boredom' by Buzzcocks.

Half Man Half Biscuit have done this too many times to mention. The one that comes to mind is Four Skinny Indie Kids' borrowing the melody from 'There Is Nothing Like A Dame', but also:

Paintball's Coming Home - reworks He's Got The Whole World In His Hands
See That My Bike’s Kept Clean - reworks Two White Horses In A Line, also known as One Kind Favour.
Irk The Purists - borrows Sing Hosanna
Took Problem Chimp To The Ideal Home Show - Wade In The Water

There are loads more, but these are the ones I can remember.
posted by mippy at 4:38 AM on February 12, 2014

Oh, and Rock and Roll Is Full Of Bad Wools is based on a Neil Young song, but I'm not sure which one - maybe Ohio or Hey Hey My My?
posted by mippy at 4:48 AM on February 12, 2014

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