Artists Who Rewrite Their Own Songs

Every once in a while, when a song pops up on my iTunes, I’ll notice it’s extremely similar to an earlier (usually hit) song by the same artist. Most recently, it was “Imitation of Life” by R.E.M., which sounds (to me) almost exactly the same as “The Great Beyond”. I’m no musician (I’m a drummer), so I don’t know if the chords are the same or not, but they’ve got to be similar if even I’m noticing it. This just seems lazy to me - the musicians must realize they’re doing it. Of course, there are many songs where musicians steal other bands’ music - “Der Kommissar” rips “Super Freak”, “Sunglasses At Night” has a riff borrowed from “Beat It”, “My Sweet Lord” is “He’s So Fine”, “Clash City Rockers” yanks “I Can’t Explain” etc. - but I’m more interested in artists that plagiarize themselves. Any other examples you can think of (and yeah, I know about John Fogerty’s manager’s lawsuit)?

Well, there’s always Elton John redoing Candle in the Wind as a tribute to Princess Diana. But I don’t think that’s quite what you’re looking for here.

Listen to “Imitation of Life” and “Driver 8” back-to-back, and tell me what you think. :wink:

After the Kinks hit it big with “You Really Got Me,” Ray Davies wrote at least a couple other songs with the same basic sound (“All Day and All Of The Night,” “Till The End of the Day”). And then, a decade or so later, the song “Destroyer” consciously rips off both “All Day and All Of the Night” and “Lola.”

I would actually credit that to Bernie Taupin. It was completely his idea, and was a surprise to Elton. Elton had simply asked Bernie for a tribute lyric, and Candle was what he did.

Bernie! I couldn’t think of his name while I was writing that. I really should have checked on that before posting. Thanks Lib. :slight_smile:

Six words: Gary Puckett and the Union Gap

One word: Nickelback

I always think of The Replacements, who wrote Waitress in the Sky and Skyway an album or two apart. I’m not sure that’s what you’re looking for, since the songs are almost completely different except in topic.

“Driver 8”? Really? Not that I doubt it’s true; I’ve just never noticed those two sounding similar.

I’ve heard that about Nickelback, but there’s no way I’m going to even listen to one complete song by them, much less enough to make a comparison.

Even subject-wise, I wouldn’t make that connection - I always thought “Skyway” was a romantic song involving public transportation (much like “Kiss Me On The Bus”, except not as jokey), where “Waitress in the Sky” is a put-down of a stewardess.

John Fogerty (formerly of Credence Clearwater Revival) does not own the rights to his old songs; former manager Saul Zaentz does. “The Old Man Down the Road,” from 1985’s “Centerfield,” sounds an awful lot like the old CCR hit “Run Through the Jungle” and Zaentz sued Fogerty for copyright infringement. Yep, Fogerty was sued for plagiarizing himself!

Louis Jordan’s commitment to recycling was much further-reaching. He used basically the same tune for a number of songs including “All for the Love of Lil,” “I Like 'Em Fat Like That” and “Slender, Tender and Tall.”

On your second point, that’s very wise of you.

I had the misfortune of flipping on VH1 the other morning and witnessed some video countdown show. Back to back, they had a Nickelback video - with a conscience. It was interspliced with pictures of Nelson Mandela and biographical tidbits. First, the song sounded like every Nickelback song I’ve ever heard. Second, it seemed like a very transparent attempt to “U2”-ify themselves. The song didn’t seem to be referencing societal injustice in particular. Really, really weird.

And then they had a Linkin Park video that did essentially the same thing!

…back OT. “Driver 8” and “Imitation of Life” have the same chord progression in the verses - Em, Am, G, (granted D8 ends with G/F# and IOL with D, but it sounds virtually the same).

I’d add Creed to the list. All of their songs sound awfully similar.

Offspring? Some people are recognizable even before the singer hits the first note, but these guys overdo it.

There’s recognizable people whose very-long discographies I can put on “play all” and listen to it for hours; after less than a dozen songs, Offspring has me thinking “wait, didn’t that one already come up?”

There are a couple of ZZ Top songs that are identical bar the lyrics (this isn’t a joke - I know a lot of their songs are quite similar, but there are a couple that are absolutely the same music, just different words). I can’t remember which two.

Parts of the Jethro Tull song “Mountain Men” sound very similar to parts of “Thick As a Brick”

specifically, the lines from Mountain Men that start “the poacher and his daughter/throw soft shadows on the water in the night” and the Thick as a Brick lyrics “The Poet and the painter/casting shadows on the water” It’s not exact but I think that they reused+changed a pleasant melody chunk*.

*that’s a technical term :wink:

[Bolding mine] This has got to be the ultimate example. Anytime I replay these tunes in my head, by the time I get to the chorus, I always wind up saying ‘wait a minute, wait a minute, you’re in the wrong tune now! Fer chrissake!’

That string of crap that Aerosmith came up with when they sobered up and went all kabuki - Cryin’ and Sighin’ and Whinin’ or whatever that was.

Everclear is a grand example as well. You want songs that sound the same…

One abbreviation, folks: AC/DC.

Going back a little further, Vivaldi has been accused of writing the same concerto 500 times.