passenger         thebandperry

Let Her Go (Passenger, 2014)

If I Die Young (The Band Perry, 2010)

This one was submitted by William — great catch! The similarity is strongest in the choruses but the verses of both songs weave around the same melody. They also have a similar structure, starting with the chorus before the full band comes in.


         

Lonely (Honey Singh October 2012)

Turn Up the Music (Chris Brown February 2012)

 

You can hear it the best in the first 10 seconds of the song.


roxette_tegan

“I Was a Fool” (Tegan & Sara, 2013)

“Listen to Your Heart” (Roxette, 1988)

(suggested by Josh)

If it was just the intro I’d call this a quote, but there are similarities throughout the song. It sounds like a combination of “Listen to Your Heart” with some other ’80s song I can’t quite put my finger on.


justin_maryj

“Suit & Tie” (Justin Timberlake, 2013)

“Crazy Games” (Mary J. Blige, 1991)

(suggested by Spencer)

As Spencer says: ‘The hook for Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie” is just the hook from Mary J. Blige’s “Crazy Games,” only slightly sped up and with one or two notes different at the end of each line. The first time I heard Suit & Tie, on SNL, I was certain it was a cover, sample, or homage. As far as I can tell — nope.’

As far as I can tell, too. “Suit & Tie” even has a Wikipedia entry already, which doesn’t mention “Crazy Games at all:

According to Timberlake: “The inspiration for this really came out of the blue and to be honest, I didn’t expect anything out of it. I just went into the studio and started playing around with some sounds and songs. It was probably the best time I’ve had in my career… Just creating with no rules and/or end goal in mind and really enjoying the process.”

Ironically, Timberlake’s single seems to have protected Blige’s record for the longest-running R&B #1 by finally knocking out Rihanna’s “Diamonds.”


ronettes_dept

“No One Does It Like You” (Department of Eagles, 2008)

“You Baby” (The Ronettes, 1964)

(suggested by Sean)

Sean writes: ‘Just realized when delving into some old music, “You Baby” by the Ronettes has a backbeat that is uncannily borrowed by Department of Eagles “No One Does It Like You.”‘

I struggled a bit with this one, because I think there are other songs with that thumping backbeat, but this one is particularly similar. The percussion and tempo are so close that, when playing these clips back to back, I could barely tell where one ended and the other began.


springfield_arcade

“Modern Man” (Arcade Fire, 2010)

“Jessie’s Girl” (Rick Springfield, 1981)

(suggested by Sean)

One of the more well-known targets I’ve seen so far. As Sean said in his email: “Of all the songs to rip off?!” Indeed, it’s hard to think of a more familiar guitar part, although they didn’t take the break or the unusual solo.


“Joanna” (Kool & the Gang, 1983)

“Last Christmas” (Wham!, 1984)

Suggested by Tom (email)

This one’s interesting, because Wham! (but not K&TG) were actually sued by the writers of Barry Manilow’s “Can’t Smile Without You.” It sounds more like “Joanna” to me, but they’re all pretty similar. You be the judge:

“Can’t Smile Without You” (Barry Manilow, 1978)

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for the mental health effects of getting any of these three songs stuck in your head. Especially if you were to listen to the even schmalzier pre-Barry versions of “Can’t Smile” by Andy Williams and the Carpenters. You’re on your own there.