Voices of the Bar 4/23/15: What is your favorite ‘rip-off’ song?

Did you know that April 29 is World IP Day? We’ve heard plenty about high-profile lawsuits in the news recently, particularly when it comes to some of today’s most popular hit songs. Even though tunes like “Blurred Lines” and “Ice, Ice Baby” ripped off earlier songs, we have to admit they’re still pretty catchy. There is also a more recent trend of sampling from songs (with permission) to create remixes, mash-ups, etc.

With this in mind, BBA Week reached out and asked:

“What is your favorite ‘rip-off’ song, or song that borrows in some way from another?”

Bruce D. Jobse – Burns & Levinson, LLP
“Eric Carmen of the Rasberries 1975 solo release “All by Myself” based on 2nd movement of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor. A very classy rip-off, but still cost him 12% royalty because the Rachmaninoff work was not yet in the public domain.”


Zachary Kosan – Northeastern University School of Law
“I’d have to say “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet, which appears to lift quite a bit from “Lust for Life” by Iggy Pop. I like both songs, but didn’t make the connection until a musician pointed it out.”


Lena Cavallo – Northeastern University School of Law
“”Me and My Broken Heart” by Rixton, which rips off “Lonely No More” by Rob Thomas.”


Brendan T. St. Amant – Donnelly, Conroy & Gelhaar
“One of my favorite songs from back in the day is B.I.G.’s “Mo Money Mo Problems” which heavily samples Diana Ross’s “I’m Coming Out.””


Madhanga Wickramasinghe – New England Law Boston
“I would have to say “Surfing USA” by The Beach Boys, in which The Beach Boys borrowed Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen.” Unlike many other ‘rip-off’ songs I have listened to, it is easy to tell that these two songs do relate to each other. I heard “Surfing USA” first and fell in love with it. Growing up in California, having the occasional surfing sessions with my friends at the places the song talks about made me feel like I am a part of the song. Then I stumbled upon “Sweet Little Sixteen,” and the first idea that came to my mind was “hey, he is copying Beach Boys.” But, later I found out that it was vice versa. The songs have the same harmony and rhythm, but different lyrics. Now, I have fallen in love with both songs, every time I feel stressed or tense I listen to these two songs first. ”


If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Gabrielle Guarracino at gguarracino@bostonbar.org.