Accident... I swear!
Johnny Cash is one of the most iconic songwriters and singers ever. However, at one point he was forced to pay Gordon Jenkins $75,000 for using some of the lyrics and part of the melody that Jenkins used in his 1953 song “Crescent City Blues.”
Cash used these in his own song “Folsom Prison Blues” back in 1955, and if you listen to them back to back you can hear the similarities. Then again, they’re both 12-bar blues songs. There are a limited number of options.
When Avril Lavigne dropped her 2007 hit “Girlfriend” she probably wasn’t expecting a lawsuit. The lawsuit came from ’70s pop group known as the Rubinoos. The band’s founder, Tommy Dunbar, filed the suit against both Lavigne and “Girlfriend” co-writer Dr. Luke for the resemblance to Rubinoos song “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend.”
The two parties went back and forth debating if the songs were similar, but Lavigne eventually came to an “undisclosed settlement” with the group.
Chuck Berry is one of the most important artists in Rock n’ Roll history. Unfortunately, it seems like his work gets stolen from people from time to time. One of the biggest examples of this is when Berry’s publishing company ended up suing John Lennon after they claimed some of his lyrics and melodies from “Come Together” were stolen from Berry’s “You Can’t Catch Me.”
The Beatles stole a song?!
There’s only a finite number of notes that can be hit when you’re writing music. What are the chances you accidentally steal someone’s song?