Songwriting is a difficult art. If you disagree, then you should give it a try and find out for yourself. When writing songs, sometimes little things tend to seep into the song unconsciously. For instance, other musical influences or musicians in general that have signature sounds such as Jimi Hendrix. Every once in a while when a song is finished, it is easy to tell what the band or music the songwriter was maybe listening to or influenced by that seeped into their own song without them ever realizing it. There are many examples out there in rock music. Below are 10 that have stood out in my experience. Click on the song title to listen to the song and compare for yourself:
The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” from their debut album “Hot Fuss” follows some of the same chord progressions and melodies as Blondie’s “Dreaming.”
Pearl Jam’s “Given to Fly” from the album “Yield” has the exact same verse melody as Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California.”
Jane Jensen’s song “More Than I Can” from her “Comic Book Whore” album follows the same bass line as Metallica’s “The God That Failed.”
Believe it or not, the song that inspired a generation, Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from their album “Nevermind” follows the same four chords as the refrain from Boston’s “More Than a Feeling.”
“Dani California” from the Red hot Chili Peppers’ album “Stadium Arcadium” has the exact same verses musically as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.”
Radiohead’s breakout single “Creep” from their album entitled “Pablo Honey” has the same verse melody as “In the Air That We Breathe” by the Hollies.
The opening guitar riff that repeats throughout Bad Religion’s song “Cyanide” on their 2010 album “The Dissent of Man” is an exact replica of the riff from the Wallflowers track “The Difference” on their 1996 debut album.
Huey Lewis ended up pursuing legal action because of the musical similarities between Ray Parker Jr’s song “Ghostbusters” and the Huey Lewis and the News song “I Want a New Drug.”
It is quite obvious that Snow Patrol’s song “Chasing Cars” from their album “Final Straw” began with them covering or jamming “Every Breath You Take” by the Police. It’s a good example of one song morphing into another.
The opening guitar riff on Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” from the album “Nevermind” is strikingly similar to the guitar riff on Killing Joe’s “Eighties.” It was so similar that Kurt Cobain did not want to include it on the album. The song even drew complaints from Killing Joe.
If you can think of more examples, please feel free to comment and list them.
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Dustin M Pardue