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TV & Media Non-Trek television, movies, books, music, etc.

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Old April 18 2009, 02:20 PM   #1
Zulu Romeo
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Songs that sound like other music works and recordings

I remember starting a thread about this some time ago - as I can't find the original (it might have been pruned) I thought I'd start anew.

So I was looking into further music from the 2000s (from a previous thread) and came across a Wikipedia entry for "Seven Nation Army" by the White Stripes. I was interested to learn that the main riff from that song was very similar to a passage from Bruckner's Symphony no. 1, 1st movement (heard best around the 3 minutes 35 seconds mark on the YouTube link).

That reminded me that there has to be more pop songs out there that borrow heavily from other songs - be they classical music works (including the now heavily-plundered Pachelbel's Canon and Gigue in D) or even refer to notable passages and melodies from other popular songs.

Taking this a few steps further, there are also some songs that actually sound a LOT like other existing tunes - some time ago I mentioned the example of how both "Shine" by Take That and the theme from "The Fall Guy" share certain rhythms, melodies, harmonies, and chord progressions to the extent that they do sound a little like each other.

Similarly, often it's not even the specific melody or chord progression that's borrowed, but it's the unique sound of an older pop recording that is emulated in the newer song too - one notable example includes the guitar sound of "Telstar" by The Tornados and "Knights of Cydonia" by Muse.

Taking this even further than that, some songs even go out of their way to sample older songs or classical music recordings, often without permission - the list is immense - and use them as part of a newer recording or song. I recall the KLF (especially when known as The JAMMs) did this a lot while geting into all sorts of legal wranglings in the process - not that they cared (they didn't of course) - and it's a common practice in modern hip-hop too.

(Of course, all this is fodder for the mash-up movement who often take advantage of the musical similarities between songs to merge two or more recordings together to form a new remix - but that's another story altogether. )

Are there any other songs you've heard that sound a lot like a seemingly unrelated song, tune, music passage, etc. - either through sampling, borrowing a melody or harmonic chord progression from older popular or classical works, or even recreating the recording's innovative sound?


In short, have you heard a brand new song and thought, "That sounds like [such and such]!"?
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Old April 18 2009, 04:58 PM   #2
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Re: Songs that sound like other music works and recordings

The beginning of Miley Cyrus' See You Again sounds exactly like Corey Hart's Sunglasses at Night.

The two lines are "I wear my sunglasses at night..." and "I've got my sights set on you..."

I don't think this was done on purpose and it's just one line so it shouldn't be a big deal, but they sound REALLY alike! I always think of the other song when I hear one of them.
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Old April 18 2009, 05:19 PM   #3
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Re: Songs that sound like other music works and recordings

The beginning of Fountains of Wayne's Stacy's Mom sounds just like Azra's You're Just What I Needed.

And, of course I always think Def Leppard's Rock of Ages is Offspring's Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)
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Old April 18 2009, 05:44 PM   #4
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Re: Songs that sound like other music works and recordings

The guitar riff from Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" has always reminded me strongly of the guitar riff from Boston's "More Than a Feeling."

I've been assured by people who actually play music that the notes are actually quite different. But I hear the similarity, nonetheless.

Also, the riff from the chorus of "Calm Like a Bomb" by Rage Against the Machine reminds me of the main riff from Black Sabbath's "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath".
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Old April 18 2009, 06:26 PM   #5
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Re: Songs that sound like other music works and recordings

Turd Ferguson wrote: View Post
The beginning of Fountains of Wayne's Stacy's Mom sounds just like Azra's You're Just What I Needed.
If you're referring to the song by The Cars, I wouldn't be surprised if that was intentional. FoW lists The Cars as an influence.
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Old April 18 2009, 06:38 PM   #6
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Re: Songs that sound like other music works and recordings

Bad Company had two songs: No Smoke Without a Fire and Holy Water. The music is virtually the same but the lyrics are different.
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Old April 18 2009, 06:58 PM   #7
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Re: Songs that sound like other music works and recordings

^ That's one more song than Nickleback has.
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Old April 18 2009, 07:05 PM   #8
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Re: Songs that sound like other music works and recordings

I find that Finger Eleven's "Paralyzer" sounds uncannily similar to Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out", but apparently not everyone can hear it. Maybe it's just me. >shrugs<

Also, on the subject of relatively modern works sampling classical music, this is probably fairly well-known, but Procul Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale" borrows its melody from Bach's "Air on a G String".
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Old April 18 2009, 07:20 PM   #9
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Re: Songs that sound like other music works and recordings

Daneel wrote: View Post
I find that Finger Eleven's "Paralyzer" sounds uncannily similar to Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out", but apparently not everyone can hear it. Maybe it's just me. >shrugs<

I thought of "Paralyzer" as not only featuring elements of "Take Me Out" but also containing heavy elements of the verse-chorus structure of Simple Minds's "Don't You (Forget About Me)" too.

"Take Me Out" has a lot in common with "Shut Up And Let Me Go" by the Ting Tings too - both have similar rhythms.
Also, on the subject of relatively modern works sampling classical music, this is probably fairly well-known, but Procul Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale" borrows its melody from Bach's "Air on a G String".
Interestingly, that song is apparently the most-played song in Britain over the last 75 years.
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Old April 18 2009, 08:07 PM   #10
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Re: Songs that sound like other music works and recordings

Daneel wrote: View Post
I find that Finger Eleven's "Paralyzer" sounds uncannily similar to Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out", but apparently not everyone can hear it. Maybe it's just me. >shrugs<

Also, on the subject of relatively modern works sampling classical music, this is probably fairly well-known, but Procul Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale" borrows its melody from Bach's "Air on a G String".
Oh no.. I noticed that right off the bat the first time I heard it.. Kind of freaky really..

And of course, there's the most recent case of Joe Satriani accusing (rather convincingly) Coldplay of ripping off their big Viva la Vida hit from one of his more obsure, but excellent songs. Linky: http://www.zoorag.com/article/did_co...f_joe_satriani

You can compare the two on Youtube...
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Old April 18 2009, 08:12 PM   #11
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Re: Songs that sound like other music works and recordings

Daneel wrote: View Post
I find that Finger Eleven's "Paralyzer" sounds uncannily similar to Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out", but apparently not everyone can hear it. Maybe it's just me. >shrugs<
The first time I heard it I was genuinely surprised when it wasn't "Take Me Out". So count me in, too.
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Old April 18 2009, 08:15 PM   #12
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Re: Songs that sound like other music works and recordings

Camelopard wrote: View Post
The guitar riff from Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" has always reminded me strongly of the guitar riff from Boston's "More Than a Feeling."
I remember reading that Cobain said that's where he got it from. It's a different chord progression, but that is where he got the rhythm.
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Old April 18 2009, 09:06 PM   #13
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Re: Songs that sound like other music works and recordings

I love both bands, but the main riff of Queensryche's Best I can" sounds like the main riff of rush's Spirit of Radio. Rush's own Far Cry sounds like their song Neurotica
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Old April 18 2009, 09:34 PM   #14
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Re: Songs that sound like other music works and recordings

Hilary Duff - Reach Out is obviously Depeche Mode - Personal Jesus
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Old April 18 2009, 09:36 PM   #15
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Re: Songs that sound like other music works and recordings

As was "Beware of the Dog" by Jamelia.
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