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Older Than They Think: Music
"Yeah, as a matter of fact, I did use the word "grunge" (to describe our style of music) back in the early days. I don't know if anybody picked up on it. I wonder."
Kim Salmon of The Scientists, Long Way to the Top: Stories of Australian Rock & Roll

See Covered Up and Sampled Up for when songs from previous eras get covered or sampled, and are known to a new generation for the first time. (For example after Nirvana played "The Man Who Sold The World" on MTV, and David Bowie complained about the young people who came up to him and said 'It's so cool you're covering a Nirvana song') — This is especially striking for songs which have been covered multiple times over the years.

  • Rock & Roll: Although music fans and purists vehemently debate the origins of the music form, most tend to date the start as occurring sometime between 1951 and 1956 (with a few even setting the start date as late as the the 1960s). In truth, elements of rock and roll can be found in musical forms dating back to the late 19th century, and on record from at least the early 1930s, with many recordings qualifying as rock and roll in all but name.
  • Anna Kendrick's ''Cups'' was actually written by Lulu and the Lampshades back in 2009.
    • The beat itself is also not original, watch it here on Full House.
  • If you hear the song "Blaise Bailey Finnegan III" by Godspeed You! Black Emperor, you might be compelled to think the "poem" recited by the eccentric vox pop interviewee in the song was written by himself...if you've also heard "Virus" by Iron Maiden, however, you'll know this "poem" merely plagiarized the lyrics of that song. Even Godspeed themselves seemed unaware of this at the time.
  • "Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?" derives from the Catch Phrase of To Tell the Truth, an American gameshow, "Will the real ____ please stand up?" Most non-American fans assume Eminem coined the phrase, as do a good portion of the American fanbase as well, due to a lot of them not having been born yet when the show was popular.
    • One episode of The Monkees (probably before Eminem was even born) included a sketch in which the band are shown in silhouette, an announcer says "Will the real Davy Jones please stand up?" and he (he was evidently a bit short) replies "I am standing up!". The phrase is probably Older Than Steam.
  • Nowadays, most people associate using the term "ice" when referring to diamond jewelry with modern rap artists. However, back in 1953, Marilyn Monroe used the term in "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend. (Around the 2:25 mark.)
  • The Nokia ringtone is an interpolation of a hook from a guitar piece (Gran Vals) by Francisco Tárrega, written in 1902.
  • Since Michael Jackson's death, numerous comments have been made on the YouTube copies of "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Eat It" and "Fat" music videos decrying how "disrespectful" it is to be making fun of Jackson so soon after he died, regardless of the posted dates of the official videos to Youtube (2007-03-17) the ostensible copyright (1984 and 1988 respectively), the fact that Jacko was a fan of Yankovic and allowed him to studio-record all but one ("Snack All Night", a "Black or White" parody that he is allowed to perform in concert) of his Jackson parodies. Still, the songs have been very well-known after
    • The song Die Young by Kesha suffered a similar fate following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Radio stations all across the nation pulled the song from their playlists, causing it to drop by nearly 5,000 spins in the span of a week. The song came out in September of 2012, nearly 3 months before the shooting. Like the Yankovic parodies, the song wasn't unknown prior to the shooting, but it nearly derailed her career.
      • Additionally, "Die Young" is not the first time a song plummeted down the radio charts due to real-life events. The Dixie Chicks' music was blackballed by radio stations after a controversial remark against then-President George W. Bush shortly after the beginning of the Iraq War.
  • It can be as true of bands as of songs; one example is Pulp, who started in 1978 but had most of their mainstream success in The Nineties.
    • Similar for Karl Hyde and Rick Smith of Underworld, who had hits in the 90s and are still touring but started working together in 1980 and started Underworld in 1987. Consequently they're probably Older Than They Look for many people.
  • The rickroll was not the first time that Rick Astley's '80s hit "Never Gonna Give You Up" was used in a humorous context; it has featured in comedy routines by Joel and the bots and Peter Kay, among others.
  • Nobody knows how old the Londonderry Air (the tune for "Danny Boy") is, to the extent that Julian May decided to assign authorship to the Tanu in the Saga of the Exiles series.
    • She pushed it back a bit too far. Recent music scholars are pretty well satisfied that it was first transcribed in 1792, from a performance at the Belfast Harp Festival by harper Denis O'Hampsey (Denis Hempson), who was about 97 years old at the time. O'Hampsey's repertoire contained melodies that he asserted dated back to the 17th century, but it's unknown whether this melody was one of them. The earliest known words were published in 1814.
    • This also applies to the song best known as Greensleeves. It's quite possible that the famous lyrics were written by Henry VIII, but the tune itself — the Dargason, as it's called — goes back way further.
    • Another is "St. James Infirmary", which a lot of people know as "that jazz tune Van Morrison/Louis Armstrong/(fill in the blank) recorded". It's a modern adaptation of "The Unfortunate Rake", an old English folk song that dates back to at least 1531, the year St. James Infirmary was seized and shut down by Henry VIII. In the earliest transcribed version (dating from the late 1700s), the subject of the song is dying of syphilis; however, it's likely that the original was a girl dying of leprosy, since St. James Infirmary was a leper hospital for maidens and nuns.
      • "The Unfortunate Rake" served as the basis for a number of songs, including "The Streets of Laredo", "House of the Rising Sun", and "Minnie the Moocher" (verses only—Cab Calloway added the "Hi-De-Ho" chorus).
    • "The Anacreontick Song" or "To Anacreon in Heaven", written by one John Stafford Smith as the official song of the Anacreontic Society, a gentlemen's club of amateur musicians in 18th century London. With different lyrics adapted from a poem by Francis Scott Key, its better known as "The Star Spangled Banner", the United States national anthem.
    • Oh, and in an interesting crossover with Newer Than They Think, "The Star Spangled Banner" was not adopted as the national anthem of the United States until 1931.
  • "Froggy Went a-Courtin'", generally thought to be a 19th-century American folk song, actually dates back much further, to 16th-century Scotland.
  • Stone Temple Pilots were often derided as cheap Pearl Jam/Alice in Chains/Nirvana ripoffs, despite having actually been formed before any of them. STP was formed in 1986. Pearl Jam was formed in 1990. Nirvana and Alice in Chains were both formed in 1987.
    • Also the mainstream success of Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam tends to overshadow the many American bands we now call 'alternative' that were around in the 'eighties like Husker Du, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, Pixies, Government Issue, etc. - Meat Puppets were comprehensively Covered Up by Nirvana's unplugged album.
  • Everyone on the SongMeanings page for Babyshambles song "There She Goes (A Little Heartache)" agreed it was written about Kate Moss, supermodel girlfriend of Pete Doherty, until someone pointed out the song was around since before the two of them even met.
  • The music now best known as the German national anthem (since 1922) originated in 1797 as an anthem in honour of Holy Roman Emperor Francis II (from 1804 also Emperor Francis I of the Austria). The music was written by none other than Joseph Haydn, who incorporated it into one of his string quartets. The German anthem's lyrics come from a 1841 poem. This also serves to explain the dissonance between the lyrics (a call for unity, democracy and liberty) and the very slow, solemn music (the original lyrics for the Austro-Hungarian anthem were in praise of their emperor, their "God Save the King").
  • A few songs that sometimes appear on "Best of the '80s" compilations and get played at radio stations' and dance clubs' "80s nights" were recorded in the late 1970s, including the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star," M's "Pop Muzik", Plastic Bertrand's "Ça Plane Pour Moi", the Cars' "Just What I Needed", and the B-52's "Rock Lobster".
  • Similarly, the song "Ain't We Got Fun" became popular during The Great Depression, but it was first published in 1921.
  • Massive Attack recorded "Teardrop" before House got hold of it. How anyone manages to miss this when the credits say "Theme song by Massive Attack" is a mystery.
  • There are a lot of people who think Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" was first released in 1992 with Wayne's World (Freddie Mercury died the year before).
  • On the subject of Marilyn Manson:
    • "He has a woman's name and wears makeup. How original." — Alice Cooper.
    • There was another singer who adopted a similar style in the time between Cooper and Manson: Roger Painter, known by the stage name of Rozz Williams, who was one of the pioneers of the American '80s deathrock scene.
    • And one before: Screaming Lord Sutch, especially Jack the Ripper from 1963. David Bowie noticed this, noting in the book Moonage Daydream (a retrospective of his Glam Rock period) that "Alice Cooper had been over to the UK earlier that year [1972] but what I saw was something terribly reminiscent of British act Screaming Lord Sutch and his funny but extremely silly 'blood and guts' pantomime." (He liked Cooper's songs, though.)
    • When Manson covered "Tainted Love," eye-rolling teenagers would chastise fans for being unfamiliar with the "original" Soft Cell version, oblivious to the fact that it was originally recorded as a northern soul song by Gloria Jones in 1964.
      • It was written by Ed Cobb, formerly of the The Four Preps. One of his bandmates was future TV superproducer Glenn Larson.
    • The chorus of their song "(m)OBSCENE" has been called a ripoff of Faith No More's "Be Aggressive" - both songs were actually parodying a common cheerleader routine. You could still argue that Marilyn Manson borrowed the general idea of incorporating the chant into a subversive rock song from Faith No More though.
  • Many fans of modern Goth music are unaware that the scene has its origins in the late 1970's, beginning with bands like Bauhaus and Siouxsie & the Banshees, far before the genre's popularity surge in the mid-1990's.
  • Press any kid growing up in the 90's or 00's when they think Ska started and most will say that it was started in the United States in the 90's with bands like Reel Big Fish and No Doubt and that it's "punk with horns". In fact, Ska is a Jamaican music that's only slightly younger than rock n roll. It actually predates Reggae (Bob Marley and the Wailers started out as a ska band).
    • Furthermore, the fusing of ska and punk itself is older than the early 90's and dates to late 1970's England and artists like The Specials and Madness.
    • Also there are bands like Fishbone that predate No Doubt, and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. But people seem to only remember the latter two. Especially No Doubt.
    • The change in rhythm in the guitar solo to The Beatles' "I Call Your Name", released in 1964, was an attempt to emulate ska music.
  • Most people (in the United States anyway) are very surprised the first time they learn that music videos existed before MTV started in 1981. Although when you think about it, the alternative makes no sense...if videos didn't already exist, how would MTV have had anything to show? Many people today don't even realize MTV dates back to '81 (or that it used to show music videos!).
    • If you're looking for an Older than Television Ur Example, music videos are about as old as sound film itself if you consider cartoons such as Silly Symphonies and Cab Calloway's appearances in Betty Boop cartoons to be music videos.
    • Soundies (a combination jukebox and film projector) were around in the 1940's.
    • Another early video is Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues," made in 1965 as a lead-in to the documentary Don't Look Back. It isn't a performance video - but is quite.
    • Here's another early one, from Lesley Gore.
    • Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" (1975) is often claimed to be the first "true" music video, despite the fact that many '60s groups, such as The Beatles and The Monkees, were doing them ten years earlier. The Beatles' clips were even made for the same reason the Queen clip was — to stand in for live TV appearances on various shows (Top of the Pops in Queen's case). The idea of having a group shoot a video to promote a single on TV spots and send out as many copies of it as required, rather than have them jetting from studio to studio to appear (often miming) was sensible. Pink Floyd, Yes, ELP and The Rolling Stones also appeared in films during the 1960s and '70s. Most were intended for release as theatrical features, for internal music industry promotion, or were just the group messing about. Some had limited releases at the time, and most of the others remained hidden for years before the general public saw them (David Bowie's featurette Love You Till Tuesday was made in 1969 but not screened until 1984, for instance).
    • Ricky Nelson was also a pioneer in music video, judging from this promo of him singing "Travelin' Man" in 1961, filmed as part of an episode for his sitcom The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet. And Nelson predated The Monkees as America's first TV-promoted rock and roll Teen Idol by a decade.
  • Michael Jackson gets a lot of hype from his estate and fans as the originator of the story-driven Concept Video, a point also argued in this article: "Jackson turned the low-budget, promotional clips record companies would make to promote a hit single into high art, a whole new genre that combined every form of 20th century mass media: the music video." But concept videos existed in the late 1970s and early '80s, while Jackson's Thriller videos didn't arrive until 1983. The Jacksons (including Michael) did have a Concept Video in 1980's "Can You Feel It", but even then they're predated by the work of such artists as George Harrison (1976's comic "This Song" and "True Love" clips) and David Bowie ("Look Back in Anger" and "D.J." in 1979). Often forgotten is the fact that the first winners of the MTV Video Vanguard Award in 1984 were The Beatles and Richard Lester, due to the influence of the films they made in The Sixties, and Bowie. Jackson didn't win until 1988, but the award was renamed after him in 1991, which only aids misperceptions about his influence.
    • Several of the segments of the 1940 movie Fantasia, which in effect is a two-hour music video, are story-driven. The last-but-one, illustrating Mussorgsky's "Night On Bare Mountain", has some heavy satanic imagery — over fifty years before Doom.
  • When They Might Be Giants came out with "Why Does The Sun Shine", most people didn't know that the song came out 40 years earlier.
    • "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" has a similar lineage.
  • "Wham, bam, thank you, Ma'am!" is nearly always a reference to David Bowie's "Suffragette City"; the phrase had been around since well before World War II.
  • Many people think that the saxophones are rather new instruments. While they became ubiquitous in The Roaring Twenties, the instrument was invented by Adolphe Sax in the 1840s. Of 19th-century musical works requiring a saxophone, the most commonly performed is Bizet's L'Arlésienne suite for orchestra, No. 1 (1872). By the standards of classical music, the saxophone is quite new (and also unusual in that it was purposefully invented). The next-newest instrument in common use is the clarinet, which was developed in the early 1700s from an older instrument called the chalumeau. It gets even older than that — the oboe and harp can trace their lineage to ancient Greece.
  • "Avantcore", a song by Busdriver, includes a sample of the song "Turtles Have Short Legs" by Can. One of Parappa The Rapper's songs sampled it before then. People on YouTube were wondering why Busdriver would sample Parappa.
    • Can themselves pioneered a number of musical techniques that are now common today. Looped break-beats, for example. Most people would associate with Rap and Hip Hop, though Can first used the technique (in combination with live drums) on the 1971 epic "Halleluhwah".
  • Lots of people think that the Backstreet Boys and **NSYNC were the first mainstream pop boy bands. In fact, The Monkees were manufactured in 1966 as a knock-off of the Beatles. Menudo is a long-running Puerto Rican boy band famous for its rotating roster of singers, who are replaced as they age (Ricky Martin was once a member, well before he was famous as a solo artist). Kids Incorporated had a TV series running nine seasons on the air in the '80s, with a rotating roster (including Stacy Ferguson 20 years before she started flaunting her lovely lady lumps). Musical Youth is another early boy band, formed in 1980 and known for their "Pass the Dutchie" single; a few years later New Kids on the Block were one of the hottest acts of the late 80s. See the page image for a satirical take on this idea.
    • Many Americans aren't aware that not only have British & Irish boy bands existed long before One Direction and The Wanted, but that some of them tried to go for U.S. success. Take That, Westlife, Boyzone, Five, BBMak, A1, and JLS all tried to become popular in the States, but became commercial failures over there. The Wanted would soon follow suit, but One Direction would go on to become more successful in the USA than all of the others, combined. Most people are aware of the Beatles and know they're British, but don't exactly associate them with the term "boy band."
    • Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers of "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" were arguably a precursor to the "boy band" back in The Fifties!
  • The earliest synthesizer album was not Switched-On Bach — Morton Subotnick's Silver Apples of the Moon was released a year earlier, Perrey and Kingsley's Kaleidoscopic Vibrations in the same year as Subotnick's, and Perrey and Kingsley's The In Sound From Way Out! (which almost certainly was the first synth album) in 1966. In fact, synthesizer music is older than L.P.s themselves. The first public performance of music on a synthesizer took place in Russia in 1920.
  • Many people think that the song "Hurt" was originally recorded by Johnny Cash, not Nine Inch Nails. The Youtube 'debate' on this is cringe inducing.
    • Similar comments are made in a clip from 1973, in which Dolly Parton is singing her own composition, "I Will Always Love You." Not only did she write it, but she recorded two different hit versions before Whitney Houston covered it. This doesn't stop people from gasping at Parton's gall for daring to "sing that Whitney Houston song."
  • A large number of Beyoncé fans are upset that Lady Gaga's robot suit in "Paparazzi" got more attention than the similar one Beyonce wore in "Sweet Dreams". However, Brigitte Helm did it first, she did it best, and she did it 80 years before either of them did. While it's understandable that these fans aren't familiar with the original silent film, they've also forgotten that similar costumes have been used in popular music videos and live performances for at least two decades, some of which came out only a couple years ago.
  • If you were to ask anyone where the line "Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end" is from, if they knew, chances are they'd say it's a line from "Closing Time" by Semisonic. But it's actually a direct quote from the Roman Philosopher Seneca the Younger, making it Older Than Feudalism.
  • After Ace Ventura was first released, some moviegoers believed the Mission: Impossible theme (which is used in the movie) originated from it.
  • Pachelbel Rant anyone?
  • How about a four-chord song?
  • One Youtube video of a certain elder statesman of Rock doing a version of "All Along The Watchtower" drew several indignant comments about this "old geezer" covering Jimi Hendrix. The "geezer" in question? Bob Dylan.
    • Dave Van Ronk tells a tremendous story about "House of the Rising Sun." The song itself is a traditional — it dates back at least a hundred years and was first recorded by Alan Lomax in 1933. Somewhere around 1960, Van Ronk did his own arrangement of the song (many others had been done previously) that originated some of the today-common melodic features of the tune. At the time, Van Ronk's friend and protege was none other than a very young Bob Dylan. When Dylan was signed by Columbia Records in 1961, he recorded (without asking) Van Ronk's arrangement. When the record came out in 1962, Van Ronk had to stop playing the song because people started accusing him of stealing it from Dylan. The two of them stayed friends, but Van Ronk would get a measure of revenge two years later — when the song became a huge hit for The Animals, and Dylan had to stop playing it when people accused him of stealing it from Eric Burdon.
  • Speaking of Hendrix, before he unleashed his slowed down cover of "Hey Joe", Tim Rose made a version that had a similar tempo. Hendrix himself would say that this Rose's rendition was the one that inspired the Experience to record it.
  • The The Sarah Connor Chronicles rendition of "Samson and Delilah" is generally cited as being a cover of the Bruce Springsteen song of the same name. Believe it or not, Springsteen did NOT create the song; gospel singer Blind Willie Johnson did, and back then it was called "If I Had My Way, I'd Burn This Whole Building Down."
    • Similarly, "In My Time of Dying" is not a Led Zeppelin original; it's a cover of Blind Willie's "Jesus Makes My Death Bed."
  • The Britpop band Space is best known for the song "Female Of The Species" (1996), with the lyric "The female of the species is more deadly than the male." Rudyard Kipling, who may have originated the sentiment, wrote The Female of the Species almost one hundred years earlier.
    • It's not even the first song to use the phrase. The Walker Brothers recorded the remarkably similar Deadlier Than The Male in 1966.
  • That scene-transition theme from Sponge Bob Squarepants? Sure, I know that. "What do you do with a drunken sailor"? Never heard of it!
  • Stand and Deliver may sound like an anti-grunge song at first. Then you realize it's from the early 80's.
  • Go to YouTube and look up Twilight by Vanessa Carlton. Now look at the comments for the video. I guarantee you that you'll encounter in the first page someone who thinks it's connected to the Twilight series, or more likely, someone complaining that there's no connection and the earlier poster is an idiot for thinking there is. The song was written in 2002, before the first Twilight book even came out, let alone become a cultural phenomenon upon the release of the film.
  • Pay close attention to any TV commercial that advertises a band's "brand new single". The single might be new insofar as the band hasn't performed it before, but it's surprising how often it's a cover or remix of an older song. Though not universally true, Pop music seems to be especially prone to this.
  • Some Kate Bush fans are adamant in claiming that she was the first quirky keyboard-playing female singer-songwriter, and that every female musician with a penchant for weirdness to come after ripped off of her. What they don't know is that Nico predated Kate by 12 years.
  • Some people seem to think that the refrain from Kesha's song "Take It Off" is original, this is not true the melody is from a song called "The Streets of Cairo" which dates back to the late 1800's. You might also know it as that Standard Snippet that's associated with snake charmers and belly-dancing, or as that schoolyard chant about a place in France where the naked ladies dance. Given the subject matter of the song and the fact that both mention "a hole in the wall", the Ke$ha song was probably alluding to the latter.
  • Play the Westminster Quarters on THE Ohio State University's campus, and the students will look towards Orton Hall. Play it in a Columbus bar, and Ohio State football fans will be ready to sing the school's alma mater, Carmen Ohio. The bell chimes actually didn't even originate at the Palace of Westiminster; they were written for the new bells at St. Mary the Great Church in Cambridge (England) in 1793.
  • Ditto for "Le Regiment de Sambre et Meuse." “Why is the French army doing Script Ohio?”
  • "Up On The Housetop" sounds like something that might have been written around the same time as other novelty holiday songs like "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" or "Frosty The Snowman": late 1940s-early 1950s. It was actually written before the end of the Civil War, (1864, most likely).
  • What about people who think "I'm A Believer" was written by/for "Shrek"?
    • Or even if they think they know better, believe the song was written by The Monkees.
  • Many people, when asked about the history of the Concept Album, will date it to mid-to-late 60s rock bands, possibly naming Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band as the first of the genre. These people are wrong. Serious historians of music generally mark Frank Sinatra's In The Wee Small Hours, released in 1955, as the first true concept album (with the thoughts of lovelorn men in the wee small hours of the morning being the concept).
  • Don McLean didn't write "Babylon". It's generally credited to 18th-century American composer William Billings.
  • Inverted with the Lady Gaga hatedom who love to point out that some female musician (usually Madonna) 'did it first'. And then played straight as most of the haters of the Madonna loving variety seem to forget that Madonna faced very similar criticism in her early career.
  • Golden Earring, of "Radar Love" fame (1973), formed in 1961. Fleetwood Mac formed in 1967 and Rush formed in 1968 along with Yes. Journey formed in 1973.
  • The iconic title song from 1994's Pulp Fiction is a song from the early 1960s, Dick Dale's "Misirlou". Dale didn't write the song (though he is the first to adapt it to Surf Rock, where it has since become a standard)—it's a folk song from either Greece or Turkey, dating back at least to the 1930s. It was recorded, in its original slower tempo, many times before Dale. And then there are people who know the song solely from Black Eyed Peas's "Pump It"...
    • In fact, many people recognize the tune from both Pulp Fiction and "Pump It," but can't identify it as "Misirlou."
  • A lot of romantic music of the 19th century were re-adaptations of earlier works and medieval music. Tchaikovsky was quite fond of delivering this, most notably in his symphonies drawing themes from Russian or Ukrainian traditional music. Perhaps the best example is the final coda of his ballet "Sleeping Beauty", featured in Disney's film of the same name, which is a direct rearrangement of the national anthem of the Kingdom France, "Marche d' Henry IV" (prior to the French Revolution).
  • Most musical concepts in general fit this trope
    • Musical tablature notation is Older Than Feudalism, existing in China in the Warring States Period (475 BCE - 256 BCE), though it was a little different than the modern guitar tabs you see.
    • Western notation dates back to around the 12th century.
    • Sampling is Older Than Print in Western music. Motets are generally mashups of various sacred and secular songs dating back to the 13th century.
      • Recorded samples for musical effect in the modern sense is generally attributed to Pierre Schaffer in the late 1940s (called "Musique Concrête")
    • Composers as far back as Johann Sebastian Bach have been caught using tone rows.
  • Leave it to Cracked to take this one on.
    • Industrial music — invented in the early '80s, or in 1969?
    • Radiohead's "groundbreaking" electronica-rock album Kid A sounds surprisingly similar to the album Love Without Sound by the '60s psychedelia band White Noise.
    • Daft Punk in 1970. Or, better yet, in 1958.
    • What if Billy Corgan was around in 1964, and was a French chick named Françoise Hardy?
    • New Wave Music... in 1968!
      • You could even say that Joe Meek did it nine years earlier with his 1959 album I Hear A New World.
    • And last but not least... what was the first rap record, the Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" in 1979, or this track by comedian Pigmeat Markham from '68?
      • Neither. It was the Jubalaires back in 1937!
      • According to my late mother, "rap" is almost as old as jazz, of which it was at first a subgenre; back then, it was called "scat singing".
  • Barney's "I Love You" song is most often misattributed to the creator of Barney, Sheryl Leach, and is often thought to have been created in the 90s with the TV show. As it turns out, the song was actually written by Lee Bernstein in 1983 for a childrens book.
    • Which is based on an even older traditional children's rhyme, This Old Man.
  • Elvis Presley is often (mis)attributed as the writer of Love Me Tender (he didn't even write the song, he just performed it), which debuted in 1956. But in actual fact, the tune itself was lifted from an old Civil War ballet called Aura Lee, written over a hundred years prior in 1861, by George R. Poulton.
    • Similarly, the melody for "It's Now Or Never" comes from "O Sole Mio," composed by Eduardo di Capua in 1898.
      • "It's Now or Never" wasn't even the first hit English version of "O Sole Mio". "There's No Tomorrow" reached #2 on the Billboard chart for Tony Martin in 1950. Elvis wanted to cover the song but his publishers told him it would be less of a hassle to just write new words instead of trying to make a deal with the publishers of the older version, so a new set of writers penned some Suspiciously Similar lyrics.
    • "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You" is derived from an 19th C. Italian aria, "Piacere d'amour."
    • Speaking of Elvis, Elvis impersonators have been a thing not only since before he died, but also since his peak popularity during the 1950s. The Other Wiki gives some examples of this.
  • Many Americans have not heard of Daft Punk until 2013. In actuality, they have been in the music industry since 1993 and have been scoring European hits in the late '90s and early '00s. Remember the song “Stronger” from Kanye West, better doesn’t it sound like the French Duo’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”, which was feature in an anime film with music from their 2001 “Discovery” album even making a cameo.
  • Most new listeners are surprised to learn that Yellow Magic Orchestra released their first album in 1978, which had the same synthpop sound that would come to dominate the 1980s. Or that synthpop itself dates back to 1966 at the latest, with Perrey & Kingsley's first album.
    • Same can be said for Kraftwerk.
  • Two Dropkick Murphys songs, "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" and "Gonna Be A Blackout Tonight" are actually covers of two previously unrecorded sets of Woody Guthrie lyrics (with new music written by the band).
    • Meanwhile, "Tessie", their famed 2006 Red Sox World Series song, is actually Newer Than They Think - parts of the chorus are adapted from the original Royal Rooters chant from the turn of the 20th century, but the verses are original to the Murphys' version, and tell the story of the Rooters themselves.
  • Many younger people think that the idea of a graduation song dates back to Vitamin C in 1999. The Four Freshmen did it in 1954.
  • Lady Gaga's infamous meat dress? The Undertones' 1983 compilation album All Wrapped Up did it first.
    • And the indie musician Brittany Brazil donned a meat bra a few years before Gaga did in her video "Piece of Meat" (which is probably best known for having a cameo by The Angry Video Game Nerd).
    • And before them all was The Beatles' infamous "Butcher Shop" cover, way back in 1966.
    • Ross Noble mentioned in a stand up show that he'd done a bit in 2004 about gluing meat to himself "to ward off amorous vegans" and that Lady Gaga had copied him.
  • Metallica's For Whom the Bell Tolls is a quote from John Donne's Meditation 17, via a 1940 novel by Ernest Hemingway. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;It tolls for thee.
  • John Williams's film music abounds with homages. For instance, some sections of the more "jazzy" battle music sections in "Star Wars" are straight out of Igor Stravinsky. The Bearded One is honest and cool about these borrowings but younger fanboys can get a bit hot under the collar when this is pointed out. (Also, the famous "Jaws" cue sounds a lot like the theme of the Doomsday Machine in the original Star Trek.) Then there's the title music for Jurassic Park — or, as Baroque fans prefer to call it, "Fugue no 2 from Book 1 of The Well-Tempered Clavier".
  • Listen to this piece of music. Now listen to this one. Even to this day, people are still confused as to who ripped off whose music. (If only they checked out the dates: Leviathan came out in 1989, whereas Recordof Lodoss War came out in 1990.) And to even ask if the veteran composer like Jerry Goldsmith ripped off music from an obscure (at that time anyways) anime series is kinda unthinkable.
  • "Norwegian Wood" wasn't the first Indian classical music influenced song by a pop-group. That's probably See My Friends by The Kinks, recorded a few months earlier. The first pop song to feature a sitar was the Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren novelty record Goodness Gracious Me, from 1960.
  • The "Flying V" and "Explorer" type electric guitars. They're usually associated with late 70's/early 80's heavy metal acts and Japanese guitar companies creating modern "shredder" guitars. They were actually limited production models from Gibson released in the 1950's (although selling for less than a year due to low popularity).
  • The lyrics to "Turn! Turn! Turn!" are taken nearly word-for-word from The Bible — ironically, from the same book where we get the saying, "There's nothing new under the sun."
  • Lots of people know Eric Prydz's hit "Call On Me". However, years earlier, a house track of the same name was made by Thomas Bangalter (of Daft Punk) and DJ Falcon. However, they decided not to release the track, as they felt it sounded basic and uninspired. Similarly, the Freeloaders' "So Much Love To Give" is based on another track by Bangalter and Falcon (under the name Together), which also has the same name.
  • Look to most YouTube clips of Skillet's "Monster" and Three Days Grace's "Animal I Have Become" will have fans of the opposing band claiming that one ripped off the other. "Monster" was released in 2009, "Animal I Have Become" in 2006.
  • Some Gaga YouTube viewers Christina Aguilera have commented on how she is "ripping off Lady Gaga" especially on "Dirrty" - a song released in 2002, while Gaga didn't become active until 2005.
  • Justin Bieber? Well he is a teen pop star and teen Idol, we had them in the 90s, Aaron Carter, and the 80s, Tiffany Darwish, and the 70s, Donny Osmond, in the late 60s/early 70s, Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy, and the early 50s, Frankie Avalon, and even the mid 30s to early 40s, Frank Sinatra.
    • A Canadian pop star singing Silly Love Songs that appeals mostly to teens? Surely you must mean Avril Lavigne.
    • Bubblegum pop from Canada? Let me take you back to The Seventies and introduce you to the DeFranco Family.
    • Or Paul Anka who had his heyday in the 1950s. A Canadian teenage boy? Check. Cute and baby-faced? Check. A teen heartthrob with many obsessive teenage girl fans? Check. Sings romantic pop songs with questionable artistic merit? Check.
    • Oh my god! A Canadian act despised by the internet? Where have we seen that before?
  • For that matter, the idea that American Top 40 has only recently become "derivative trash." The truth? Top 40 has always sucked, even in the days of The Beatles and The Beach Boys. nicely deconstructs this notion here:
  • Many fans of Drake think that he coined the term "yolo" with his song, "The Motto," but actually a Metalcore band by the name of Suicide Silence has a song, "You only live once," which predates The Motto by a few months, a band by the name of The Strokes has a song of the same name which goes all the way back to 2006, and the term "you only live once" goes back to the 1930's with a film called, you guessed it, You Only Live Once.
  • Here's a little drinking game for you: find any youtube video for the band Overkill that includes an image of their mascot Chalie (a skull with bat wings) on it, then look through the comments section and take a shot each time someone insists that the idea was stolen from Avenged Sevenfold. Take an extra shot if they stick to their guns even after being informed that Overkill has been using the character since the early '80s, well over a decade before A 7 X existed.
  • People who only know Carly Rae Jepsen from "Call Me Maybe" would be very surprised to learn that her first album (Tug of War) was released in 2008.
    • Even better: Psy's work before "Gangnam Style" (and to a lesser extent, "Gentleman") predates to 2001.
  • It might come as a surprise to fans of Lil Wayne and Jay-Z that Lil Wayne started in 1992 and Jay-Z Started in 1989.
  • Disney's Teen Idols are nothing new. They've been marketing young singers since Walt himself was alive. Closer to today, people like Hilary Duff come to mind years before Miley Cyrus and The Jonas Brothers popped up.
  • Whitney Houston's powerful melismatic style of singing has been around for awhile in the Soul/Gospel community (especially gospel). It just fell out of prominence when the over produced eighties arrived.
  • Quite a few misinformed people think the rapper Drake (including Drake himself apparently) is the first to infuse R&B stylings into his rap delivery, over looking the fact that Slimkid of The Pharcyde, and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony did it first.
  • People thinking Jimi Hendrix was the first black rock artist, which is so untrue it's not even funny. Then there are those who think Living Colour was the first black rock band. But bands like Sound Barrier, Bad Brains, The Black Muerda (started in the early sixties), and possibly The Isley Brothers predates them.
    • These is even weirder when you consider that rock draws much of its background and inspiration from blues, which was originally predominantly performed by black artists for black audiences.
    • Hendrix wasn't the first black Psychedelic Rock musician either. Love, fronted by African-American Arthur Lee, released its debut album a year before Are You Experienced?
  • Common trope with many artists or bands who experience a career revival, a change in lead singers or a genre shift. Gary Numan experienced this same trope when he released the goth and industrial influenced "Exile", a sharp diversion from his former, softer proto-electronica sound. in 1998. Some fans thought that Exile was his first album. Mind you, Gary Numan at that time had been active in the music business for 20 years. Cher experienced the same trope with younger listeners when 1999's "Believe" hit the top 10 and revived her career.
  • Also a common trope when artists in a formerly underground genre gain crossover appeal. Often the people who predated the artists (sometimes by decades!) are accused of by younger fans of ripping off the pop artists' sound.
  • There are documents dating back to before the Civil War that call the fiddling tune 'Cotton-eyed Joe' "an old favorite." The (in)famous late 1990s dance mix by Rednex was only one of many, many covers the song has had in its long history.
  • David Guetta has been active since 1984, but released his first album in 2002.
  • The title of the 2000 Shaggy song "It Wasn't Me", which some have dubbed the "Shaggy defense", as well as its subject matter, is taken directly from the 1987 Eddie Murphy comedy special "Raw".
  • No, Emo is not some weird subculture that appeared in the early 00s. The term and a related style of musicnote has been around since the mid-80s.
  • Many Cannibal Corpse fans don't know that their second vocalist George Fisher (aka "Corpsegrinder") was active in the music scene well before joining the band, most notably as the former vocalist for Monstrosity, a much, much more obscure band in death metal.
  • Allmusic hypes up Da Yoopers' "When One Love Dies" (from their 1992 album Yoopy Do Wah) as the first "serious" song from the usually comedic band. However, their first album (1986's Yoopanese) also had two unarguably serious songs: "My Shoes" and "Critics Tune".
  • Keith Urban has been active since 1991. He released an album in Australia that year, then had dozens of credits on other people's albums ranging from INXS to Garth Brooks, and fronted a short-lived band called The Ranch (which did two low-charting singles and an album for Capitol Records in 1997) before putting out his "real" country music debut in 1999.
    • Also, "Somebody Like You" (2002) was not his first hit on the country charts — it was the first single from his second country album. His first country album had three of its four singles land in the country Top 10, including the now-forgotten #1 hit "But for the Grace of God". Most of the output from his first American album is likely forgotten now due to Early Installment Weirdness that puts it out of sync with his current body of work. He wasn't even the first Australian to have a #1 country hit — Jamie O'Neal's "There Is No Arizona" reached the top of the charts literally one week before "But for the Grace of God".
    • And of course, the idea of an Australian country singer having success in the U.S. dates all the way back to Olivia Newton-John in The Seventies, before she genre-shifted to Pop in The Eighties. (She never had a #1 hit at country, though.)
  • Dennis DeYoung of Styx mentioned in an interview that his band, which did not get major mainstream success until 1977, was often accused of being a rip-off of Queen in their use of operatic, high-pitched harmonies and grandiose prog-rock/arena-rock instrumentation, in spite of the fact that the band, formed in Chicago in The Sixties, claims they experimented with the sound long before Queen were well-known.
  • Some of the "fans" of Joy Division point out that their distain for New Order is because of how New Order dropped much of the traditional guitar and drum parts for electronic Synth Pop music and was far less heavy and "rock". However one more obscure Joy Division track is "As You Said", which sounds like something from Kraftwerk (who were a major influence on the band).
  • Death Metal band Kataklysm did not become popular until the release of their acclaimed 2006 album In the Arms of Devastation. Even to this day people are a little surprised to find out that they've been a band since 1991. Also, many of their younger fans don't know that Maurizio Iacono isn't their original singer; Sylvain Houde was, although Maurizio was always in the band, just as bassist for a while.
  • Those who know "A Simple Game" usually think of it as a classic Motown song by The Four Tops; but it was actually written by Mike Pinder of The Moody Blues, and the Moodies recorded it first. The two versions even had the same producer — Tony Clarke.
  • The slapping bass sound popularized by bands like Korn in the late '90s, was actually pioneered by ElvisPresley's original bass player Bill Black. The method was retired after the band found a drummer.
  • The swing rhythm of jazz did not actually originate in the 20th century. Rather, swing rhythm was used as far back as the Baroque era as "notes inégales", a performance practice where notes with the same time value are played with unequal durations. J.S. Bach famously wrote in a swing rhythm in several parts of the Art of Fugue.
    • Some jazz musicians have revered Bach as "the first jazz composer". There is even a Benny Goodman composition called "Bach Goes to Town" which although a jazz/swing number, is also fugal in structure.
  • Most people seem to believe the East vs. West Coast Hip Hop feud started with Tupac & Biggie. But the fact of the matter is it started long before them thanks to a east coast rapper by the name of Tim Dog firing disses at a lot of California emcees, even Snoop Dogg. Long before Tupac, and especially before Biggie was even on the scene.
  • Bass wobble (aka "wubs") was certainly popularized by Dubstep, but the technique existed well before dubstep itself did. The other wiki posits 1998 as the origin of dubstep. The techno duo Orbital used wobble bass on their 1996 EP, The Box. Drum-n-bass DJ Alex Reece used it on his 1995 track "Pulp Fiction". And the Italo disco duo Amin Peck dropped some mad wubs in 1984, on their remix of "Running Straight".
  • A teenager with questionable singing talent releases a song via an obscure music label. Because of its So Bad, It's Good and Earworm qualities, the song goes viral and almost overnight becomes a sensation...nearly six decades before Rebecca Black and "Friday", Don Howard created a very similar stir with his song "Oh Happy Day".
  • Twerking existed long before Miley Cyrus's infamous VMA performance; and even before it took off through Vine months before the VMAs; this is a Critical Research Failure. In fact, Sophie Ellis Bextor was doing it all the way back in 2001, and "butt dancing" has been around since 4 CE and has even been referenced in The Bible!
  • When somebody mentions the jukebox, most will think of The Fifties and the early rock & roll era. They'll think of a Malt Shop with 1950s teens listening to Nothing But Hits. Actually, jukeboxes are much older than that! They were quite popular in the 1940s too, playing swing music and even classical music along with opera. And they're still older than that. While the jukebox we know of today originated around 1928, coin operated music players date back at least to the 1890s.
  • CDs and dynamic range compression took the practice of mastering music at high volume levels for a perceived advantage in the market to a whole new level, but the practice itself dates back to the 1920s when records were made loud to take advantage of gramophones that didn't have volume dials. The phrase "put a sock in it" comes from the trick of doing exactly that in order to reduce the volume.
    • Speaking of Audio CD, many believe Bruce Springsteen was the first to have an album to be in this format. While that’s true but it’s in the United States, not overseas where The Visitors from ABBA was released in 1981, three years before Born In The USA, the Springsteen album. Sony and Phillips were working the technology since 1974.
  • Despite its stigma as a youth-driven genre, many rappers don't become popular or even release their first album until they are in their late-20's or early-30's. 50 Cent recorded and released his debut album "Get Rich Or Die Tryin'" when he was 27 years old. Eminem recorded and released The Marshall Mathers LP when he was that same age. Jay-Z recorded and released The Blueprint when he was 31. More recently, Kanye West recorded and released his Magnum Opus ("My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy") when he was 33. And so on.
    • On that note, the 36 year old Pusha T has just started getting mainstream recognition and success as a solo rapper with the release of "My Name Is My Name".
  • The Moonwalk, linked to Michael Jackson, was used in 1932 by Cab Calloway, 49 years before Jackson used it in the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever .
  • Many younger Millennials often mistook “All Through The Night” by Cyndi Lauper as a sample of “Sugar Rush” by Swedish band, A Teens due to the similar with the beat when they heard it in 2001 despite the fact the song was released on July 14 1984 and “Sugar Rush” was released on July 31, 2001.
    • Lauper's "All Through The Night" was in fact a Covered Up version of a song by folksy singer-songwriter Jules Shear, who recorded it in 1983.
  • Brooks & Dunn's "Only in America" tends to get lumped in with the big wave of patriotic country songs released after 9/11, such as "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)". However, "Only in America" was released in June.
    • Also lumped into the 9/11 songs are Diamond Rio's "One More Day" and Tammy Cochran's "Angels in Waiting", which were respectively released in October 2000 and April 2001. In fact, the former had been off the charts for several months, even if it did get a major airplay and sales boost after 9/11.
      • What is particularly grating is that "One More Day" was written about a lover and Diamond Rio are actually not too fond of the mixes found of that song with 9-11 news reels playing. The same can be said about The Calling with "Wherever You Will Go", though they did ride the money train for a little while before that.
  • On a similar note, many country music fans would tell you that Dixie Chicks were the first "major" left-wing country act. They forget that Dwight Yoakam doesn't talk about his views as often as he used to for the same reason. There's even Hank Williams III and the many people that came before him.
    • Billy Ray Cyrus, even with all of the "Some Gave All" flag-waving of 1992, was the son of a prominent Kentucky Democratic Party senator (and Kentucky Colonel), Ron Cyrus, and he and his family are clearly politically liberal/left wing, if one knows where to look. Billy Ray's daughter is best friends with the Obama family, and endorsed him on Twitter in the 2008 elections.
  • While Anamanaguchi are definitely pioneers of Chiptune rock, they were not the first to do it. If you think they are, then Ratatat, Horse the Band and The Protomen would like to have a word with you.
  • Imagine Dragons started performing music four years before "It's Time" and "Radioactive" became mainstream hits. Indeed, "It's Time" originally came from one of the EPs the band recorded independently prior to signing on with Interscope.
  • Ask your average listener to pinpoint the first use of the infamous "double bass" percussion technique that's become commonplace in Heavy Metal and similar genres, and they'll probably mention the first two tracks on Metallica's 1984 album Ride the Lightning. Double bass was actually used by Judas Priest several years earlier, as far back as their Sad Wings of Destiny album.
  • Old-school Hip Hop fans like to lament "Bling rap" taking the popular stage in the wake of Gangsta Rap's fall. What they might not know is that the style and many of its tropes go back to the mid-1980s when the genre first became mainstream. One such act was the now critically-renowned Run-D.M.C..

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