With a limited number of chords and even more limited pool of talent, songs get ripped off in the world of punk all the time. It happens. Here are some similarities within or close to the genre that we’re just pointing out for entertainment purposes. No need to freak out or anything. Just sayin’…
Taking Back Sunday Ripped Off On The Might Of Princes
Back in 2002, the Long Island hardcore scene‘s own On The Might Of Princes put out an album called Where You Are And Where You Want To Be. It’s a nice little piece of screamo gold, if you’ve never heard it. Fellow Long Islanders Taking Back Sunday were familiar with the album, having opened up for OTMOP several times. That’s why it was pretty fishy when they released their similarly titled and thoroughly insufferable 2004 album, Where You Want To Be. Defying all logic, Taking Back Sunday’s album blew up, selling copies to 163,000 kids with no discernible taste in music. A few people started to notice the similarity. TBS guitarist Eddie Reyes was interviewed in 2007 and was asked about whether it was intentional:
"No, not at all. I mean, we played a couple shows with them, we knew them, but they weren’t close to us and they weren’t like best friends. They’re good guys. Nah, it was just a coincidence I think. It was just a coincidence basically."
Oh ok, well that explains that. Not sketchy at all. Especially the part where you repeated yourself about a hundred times.
Anti-Flag Ripped Off From Ashes Rise
In 2003, Tennessee crust band From Ashes Rise put out an album called Nightmares which opens up with a mind-meltingly amazing song called “Reaction.” Five years later, Anti-Flag’s album, The Bright Lights Of America included a song called “Spit In The Face” which has a very similar intro and structure. A little very similar. The song ironically follows a track called, “If You Wanna Steal (You Better Learn How To Lie).” Well, better get learning, Anti-Flag. One person was outraged enough to make this comparison video and post it on YouTube, where reasonable discussions go to die:
Here are some very reasonable, not-at-all stupid responses to the video from Anti-Flag fans:
"Dude they toured with them like you said, you really think From Ashes Rise has a problem with them doing this? Or didn’t know they would record the song before they even released the album? Holy fuck you are the stupidest person alive, take this video down. I hope you feel like a fucking fool."
"Anti-Flag reign supreme so fuck all the haters."
"I’m flagging this video as a scam. I suggest all of you do the same. This kid doesn’t know dick about guitar or music theory. More than likely he has a problem with Anti-Flag’s politics, like 99% of their critics."
“holy fucking shit stop fussing about shit like that. A-F is a great band with lots of impressive lyrics and songwriting. Also they arent even on a major label anymore so stop complaining. “
“I like anti-flag”
Thanks for the input, Anti-Flag, fans.
Fugazi Ripped Off Manic Street Preachers
So uh…someone has to be the one to point out that the most upstanding punk band of all time have a song called “Place Position” that sounds an awful lot like a Manic Street Preachers song which came out 4 years prior. But uh…it’s not gonna be us so… we’re just gonna leave these two songs here and move along…
One Direction Ripped Off The Clash
In this interview with the BBC, two of the mopheads in the boy band One Direction (we won’t bother looking up their actual names and will just call them…Grimpy aaaaand…Melboy) talked about the similarities of their song “Live While We’re Young” to The Clash’s instantly recognizable classic “Should I Stay Or Should I Go.” Here’s Grimpy on the matter:
“It must be kind of difficult to do a unique riff now because there’s been so many songs. Surely there’s only so many riffs you can pull out.”
Good point, Grimpy! Writing songs is hard. Let’s see what Melboy has to say:
“It’s kind of on purpose though, you know? It’s a great riff, so…”
Woah, hold on, Melboy. One Direction is British? That is total news to us. They are British and didn’t know better than to not rip off The Clash? But to give them credit, their songs are probably written by middle aged fat guys and the band members were all negative 7-years-old when The Clash broke up.
Gotye Ripped Off Elliott Smith
When Gotye was writing “Somebody That I Used To Know,” at no point did he think, “Hey, this lyric I’m using 400 times in a row sounds familiar, where have I heard this before?” And then when he played the song for his friends, none of them could place it either? Well, Gotye, since you and your friends have a totally fucked up frame of reference when it comes music, we’ll help you out. It was a song by a guy named Elliott Smith. Don’t worry. You can just call Elliott and apologize. What’s his number again? Oh right, 1-800-HE’S-FUCKING-DEAD. He very famously killed himself in 2003 and took all of his iconic songs to the grave with him.
Fall Out Boy Ripped Off Give Up The Ghost
In 2006, 2 years after his band Give Up The Ghost had broken up, Wes Eisold was probably sleeping on someone’s floor in Philly and for some unexplainable reason, he was listening to Fall Out Boy. Amazingly, he left the song on long enough to notice that the lyrics sounded eerily familiar. He realized that the lyrics were his and that maybe he should talk to a lawyer about this. Well, fast forward a bit and old Wes is a millionaire, having settled out of court with Fall Out Boy for millions.
But wait a minute. Wasn’t Give Up The Ghost originally called American Nightmare before a pre-existing band of that name threatened to sue them? And wasn’t American Nightmare taken from the title of a Misfits song? And wasn’t that song named after the horror movie by Canadian director, Don McBrearty? So the way we see it, you owe Canadian director Don McBrearty a few million dollars, Fall Out Boy.
Puddle of Mudd Ripped Off Suicidal Tendencies
As one MetalSucks.net reader once pointed out, Puddle of Mudd’s bro anthem (branthem, if you will) “She Hates Me” sounds like a much much much much much much much much much much shittier version of Suicidal Tendencies’ “I Saw Your Mommy.” Same chord progressions and all that. Not saying Puddle of Mudd knew what they didd. We’re just saying it looks badd. They could have been suedd. The Suicidal Tendencies have every right to be madd.
The Huntingtons Ripped Off Dan Hicks
Pop punk band, The Huntingtons, have a song that is similar in meaning and identical in title to Dan Hicks’ song, “How Can I Miss You If You Won’t Go Away?” Not sure if it was done on purpose, but The Huntingtons are a Christian band so surely they would never plagiarize, right? Didn’t Jesus once say, “Let thine who…steals musical arrangements from thy…elders be doomed and shalt play the Warped Tour for eternity?”
Green Day Ripped Off Dillinger Four
Green Day’s love of Dillinger Four is well-documented. They routinely give props to D4 as one of their biggest modern influences. So when their single “American Idiot” came out, the entire punk community noticed the similarity to D4’s “doublewhiskeycokenoice” and collectively said, “Awwww helllll naw.” Billie Joe knew what he was doing on this one.
Since no self-respecting D4 fan would buy any latter day Green Day albums, Green Day might’ve gotten away with it if the song had been buried at the back of the record. But given that “American Idiot” and its intro became one of the most used guitar riffs of the last decade, it was sort of hard to miss.
This is just hearsay, but word around the punk rumor mill is that Green Day and D4 settled out of court for somewhere in the ballpark of $300,000. Next time you’re in Minneapolis, stop by the Triple Rock Social Club and ask them yourselves.
Green Day Ripped Off Jawbreaker
Only 7 songs later on the American Idiot album, Green Day committed a lesser discussed rip off of another legendary punk band, Jawbreaker. If you play the chord progression from Jawbreaker’s “Boxcar” (G-C-G-C-G-C-D-C) and repeat for two minutes, congratulations, you’ve also simultaneously played Green Day’s “She’s A Rebel.”
Green Day Ripped Off The Kinks
And lastly for Green Day (that we can think of), here’s their song “Warning” in comparison to The Kinks’ “Picture Book”…
[Note: We said 11 bands but technically used Green Day three times because they did a lot of ripping off.]