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Plagiarism happens in music, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose. Sometimes it's "unconscious borrowing", other times it's a "musical homage". We look at the times when the legal eagles have got involved, but judge for yourself!
The band made a huge splash in the summer of 1994 with their single Shakermaker, but it wasn't long before people pointed out that the opening line was VERY similar to the song I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing. Originally written in 1971 for a Coke ad, it was later a huge hit for The New Seekers and the Gallaghers had to come to a settlement with the writers - some sources cite half a million dollars. Ideal, the manufacturers of Shakermaker, the 1970s craft toy, have thankfully not pursued a similar claim.
Albert Hammond (father of Albert Hammond Jr of The Strokes, natch) is a hugely successful songwriter in his own right and penned the song The Air That I Breathe with Mike Hazelwood in 1972. Manchester band The Hollies took the song to No 2 in the UK charts in 1974. Their publishers noted a similarity to the young Oxford band's 1992 breakthrough single Creep and they now get a songwriting credit.
Justine Frischmann's Britpop band always wore their post-punk influences on their sleeves, but in the case of their 1994 hit, the similarity to Wire's 1977 classic Three Girl Rhumba was too close for comfort. They also were pursued by lawyers for The Stranglers, who felt that Elastica's Connection bore too much of a resemblance to the 1977 hit No More Heroes. Out-of-court settlements were the outcome in both cases.
Coldplay received two separate allegations of plagiarism for Viva La Vida; one from US band Creaky Boards (who?) and one from guitar legend Joe Satriani. The former was quickly disproved (Coldplay had demos pre-dating those of Creaky Boards), but the latter was a different matter. "It felt like a dagger going through my heart," said Joe. After going to court, however, the judge dismissed the case.
The Joke (as we call them) couldn't help noticing that the riff to their 1984 track Eighties was very similar to that off Nirvana's Come As You Are, which was included on their album Nevermind and later released as a single. Despite claiming they'd sue, nothing ever came to court and following the death of Kurt Cobain, the matter was dropped.
The Gallaghers released their marvellous sing-a-long ditty as a one-off single at Christmas 1994. However, publishers EMI noticed a similarity between the main melody and that of Neil Innes' 1973 song How Sweet To Be An Idiot and wangled him a co-writing credit. Often performing with Monty Python, Innes was the songwriting genius behind Eric Idle's 1978 Beatles parody The Rutles. Oh, the irony.