Do you ever catch yourself thinking “..hmm this sounds familiar”? Well, you’re probably right. In this world, music is everywhere and when artists sit down to write, it’s impossible not to be influenced by the work of others.
It may be annoying as fans to see our favourites being ripped off, but at the end of the day there’s more music for everyone to enjoy. Although, this doesn’t mean we can’t pass judgement and compare the two!
Clean your ears and listen closely because below is a list of 20 songs that sound a lot like other songs.
Olivia Rodrigo “good 4 u” (2021) vs. Paramore “Misery Business” (2007)
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably already made this connection or have heard someone else talk about it. Olivia Rodrigo popped off with her debut album SOUR which included a track that sounds very familiar. I wouldn’t go as too far to say Rodrigo’s “good 4 u” is a complete rip off of Paramore’s “Misery Business” but it’s impossible to ignore the similarities.
Billie Eilish “bury a friend” (2019) vs. The Doors “People Are Strange” (1967)
These two tracks are not only just creepy and off-putting, but their verses sound seriously alike. They have very similar melodies and they share the exact same four-note phrase at the end. You can hear these notes when Billie sings “What do you know” and Morrison sings “When you’re alone”. People on YouTube have made mashups of the two tracks that really emphasize their similarity.
The Verve “Bitter Sweet Symphony” (1997) vs. The Rolling Stones “The Last Time” (1965)
The Verve really got themselves into a tricky mess over their 90s Britpop anthem. The story goes as such: The Verve obtained rights to Andrew Oldham orchestral version of the classic Stones’ song. However, the issue was about how much they used because apparently it was way too much. 100% of the royalties ended up going to former Stones manger Allen Klein and songwriter creds went to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Many years later the Stones backed off in 2019 allowing all future royalties to The Verve.
The Strokes “Last Nite” (2001) vs. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers “American Girl” (1976)
The instrumentals of these two songs are so alike and it’s immediately apparent at the beginning of the song when the drums kick in. The Strokes openly admitted in interviews that they copied the general structure of the Petty classic to which Petty responded kindly. However, there’s more than enough room to love both.
Delta Goodrem “Sitting on Top of the World” (2012) vs. Arcade Fire “Rebellion (Lies)” (2005)
The optimistic openings of both tracks are essentially the same and it’s hard to deny that. The similarity is even more apparent because the piano-led rhythm is played throughout the entirety of both songs.
Sublime “What I Got” (1996) vs. The Beatles “Lady Madonna” (1968)
Sublime’s hit “What I Got” and The Beatles classic “Lady Madonna” are played in the same key and follow the exact same melody. Maybe you never noticed before, but you certainly will now.
Gorillaz “Feel Good Inc.” (2005) vs. U2 “Staring At The Sun” (1997)
Although the two are pretty much different in every other way, the chorus’ melody in Gorillaz’s “Feel Good Inc” sounds a lot like the verses in U2’s “Staring at the Sun” wouldn’t you say?
Tame Impala “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” (2012) vs. Pablo Ruiz “Océano” (1989)
I hear the likeness in the vocal progression, but the two are so different in every other way. It’s definitely not the easiest to spot. Apparently however, there was controversy surrounding these two songs and many accuse Kevin Parker of plagiarism.
Sweet Thing “Change of Seasons” (2010) vs. Blink 182 “Dammit” (1997)
Ok hear me out… “Change of Seasons” and “Dammit” aren’t twins but cousins. “Dammit” being the brooding punk older cousin and “Change of Seasons” is their bubbly indie-pop counterpart. If you listen closely, the verses’ melodies in both tracks are very similar. Additionally, the opening riff to “Dammit” is awfully close to the ‘da da da’ melody in the intro to “Change of Seasons” just sped up.
Lana Del Rey “Get Free” (2017) vs. Radiohead “Creep” (1992)
In 2018, Lana Del Rey claimed that Radiohead was suing her over the similarities between her song “Get Free” and their breakthrough hit “Creep”. Radiohead had apparently rejected her offer of 40% of the song’s royalties and she said that they were demanding 100%. The band’s publishers denied taking the legal action all together but had asked for a writing credit. Since then, all has been settled and we can move on happily ever after I guess.
Portugal. The Man “Feel It Still” (2017) vs. The Marvelettes “Please Mr. Postman” (1975)
After getting a lot of feedback that Portugal. The Man ripped off The Marvelettes, the band acknowledged it on their twitter, “To be fair, the chorus of Feel It Still sounds very similar to ‘Please Mister Postman’ by the Marvelettes… which we respectfully cleared and thanked them for every chance we got. As one does.”
The Offspring “Why Don’t You Get A Job?” (1998) vs. The Beatles “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” (1968)
Although The Offspring’s track is in a different key, it follows pretty much the exact same tune as The Beatles’ classic and generally has the same feel and flow.
Green Day “Warning” (2000) vs. The Kinks “Picture Book” (1968)
Punk rockers Green Day definitely ripped off the riff from The Kink’s “Picture Book”, whether intentional or not, it’s hard to miss.
Hannah Montana “Rockstar” (2007) vs. The Church “Reptile” (1968)
Didn’t think you’d see Hannah make an appearance on the list did you? Well just to keep things interesting we included it, plus the opening electric guitar riff in both tunes are so similar its uncanny. I wonder if someone at Disney was a fan of The Church.
Coldplay “Viva La Vida” (2008) vs. Joe Satriani “If I Could Fly” (2004)
Start at 0:50 on Satriani’s “If I could Fly” and tell me that doesn’t sound like the melody of Coldplay’s chorus in “Viva La Vida”.
Jet “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” (2003) vs. Iggy Pop “Lust For Life” (1977)
These two tracks almost have the exact same music. Aside from the melody, you would think these two are the same songs. Both Iggy Pop and Jet have actually said they were inspired by the Motown classic “You Can’t Hurry Love” by The Supremes.
Taylor Swift “Fifteen” (2008) vs. Five For Fighting “100 Years” (2004)
Remember Five for Fighting – the one-man band that made the soundtrack to every 2000s teen drama? Yea same, and doesn’t this one in particular oddly sound a little like T-swift’s “Fifteen”? It doesn’t help that they both use the same word in the choruses.
Adele “Rolling in the Deep” (2011) vs. Gnarls Barkley “Crazy” (2006)
I feel like a mashup of these two songs would have been perfect in an episode of Glee but what do I know. Both Adele’s and Barkley’s records follow a really similar melody in the chorus and both their roaring vocals sell it even further. Can you hear it? Maybe I’M crazy.
The Doors “Hello, I Love You” (1968) vs. The Kinks “All Day and All Of The Night” (1964)
I mean, there’s good reason that these two classic rock songs are considered iconic. The chord-driven riffs on both tracks are electric in their own ways. However, the differences of the two are so sparse that it was actually brought to court. The two eventually struck a deal and a large share of the British royalties for “Hello, I Love You” now go to the Kinks.