Conversely, The Cure's "The Walk" is similar to New Order's "Blue Monday."
Ditto for "A Honest Mistake" by The Bravery.
Billy Joel's "My Life" takes its melody from Johnny Rodriguez' "Love Put a Song in My Heart."
His "This Night" has almost exactly the same tune as Louise Tucker's "Midnight Blue." But he's not ripping off "Midnight Blue," they're both borrowing from Beethoven (Sonata No. 8). Billy Joel gave Beethoven writing credit.
Ditto for Four Non-Blondes' "What's Up?", from Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy."
The fade-in to "Money for Nothing", with Terry Williams's improvised drum solo, is remarkably similar to end of the middle part of "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who.
Safetysuit's "Stay" sounds incredibly similar to Switchfoot's "Meant to Live." They sound enough alike that most people seem to initially think that "Stay" is a cover of "Meant to Live."
Both The Killers' "Mr. Brightside" and My Chemical Romance's "Bulletproof Heart" are reminiscent of Placebo's "Special K". MCR even sings "gravity" in the same way; this may have been done intentionally.
Then there's also Muse's "Time is Running Out." It doesn't sound like "Special K," but "Mr. Brightside" and "Bulletproof Heart" sound a lot like it.
Aiden's entire discography is this to AFI's, but "I Set My Friends on Fire" and "The Despair Factor" deserves a special mention.
Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It" is derived from the Christmas hymn "O Come All Ye Faithful". Lampshaded when the band did an album with rock covers of Christmas songs, where "O Come All Ye Faithful" is performed exactly like "We're Not Gonna Take It".
"I Missed Us" by SWV samples a Suspiciously Similar Version of the Fairy Fountain theme from The Legend of Zelda.
Manson has done this more than once: "I Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)" (taken from the heavily David Bowie-influenced Concept AlbumMechanical Animals) is a dead ringer for Bowie's own "Fame."
"The Fight Song" is quite similar to Blur's "Song 2."
In a more odd example of this, former guitarist Daisy Berkowitz claimed that the song "1996" stole and sped up his "She's Not My Girlfriend", an earlier Marilyn Manson song (back when it was Marilyn Manson and The Spooky Kids), from when Manson wrote only the lyrics, and Daisy wrote the music. The likelihood of this is reduced when you remember that Marilyn Manson (the person) considers "She's Not My Girlfriend" to be the worst song he ever wrote.
The riff to "Irresistible" is basically copied from part of Rhapsody of Fire's "Dawn of Victory".
"Uma Thurman" predominantly features samples from the Munsters theme music.
Speaking of Get Scared, their song "(Setting Yourself Up For) Sarcasm" is extremely similar to "Paralyzed" by The Used. Get Scared, another Post-Hardcore band from Utah, are huge fans of The Used and have cited them as a major influence on their music.
In fact, Get Scared have very much modeled themselves directly on The Used, right down to Nicholas Matthews imitating Bert McCracken's every mannerism and vocal tic. Their first album, Best Kind of Mess, is in fact a Suspiciously Similar Album to The Used's Lies for the Liars. However, they've been quite open about this, and are as such praised as an homage or throwback rather than condemned.
David Hasselhoff actually made Suspiciously Similar versions of multiple songs... His song "Looking for Freedom" sounds like very much like "Rivers of Babylon" by Boney M. But actually, David Hasselhoff's 1989 version of it isn't the original one... It was originally done by Marc Seaberg who released it back in 1978 when "Rivers of Babylon" was still in the charts. Other sound-alike songs by David Hasselhoff are "Do the Limbo Dance" (sounding like Boney M's "Hooray! Hooray! It's a Holi-Holiday") and "Hands Up for Rock'n'Roll" (similar to Pia Zadora's "Let's Dance Tonight.")
Taiwanese pop singer Cyndi Wang's "Honey" is also another "YMCA" ripoff.
"YMCA" itself was clearly influenced by The Trammps' "Disco Inferno."
Brinck's Eurovision 2013 entry was "Human." Having the exact same structure and guitar notes as Plain White T's "Hey There Delilah."
Abba did this with the follow-up to "Waterloo," "So Long," which was intentionally done to ensure another hit. It wasn't as successful.
In turn, the title song to Phantom of the Opera nicks its opening melody from Pink Floyd's "Echoes." Roger Waters was pissed off at this ("I couldn't believe it when I heard it. It's the same time signature — it's 12/8 — and it's the same structure and it's the same notes and it's the same everything.") but commented that "I think life's too long to bother with suing Andrew fucking Lloyd Webber."
Scooter's Roll Baby Roll featured a sample of ABBA's Arrival which it turned out the band hadn't asked to use. As a result, the rerelease of the album it was on (The Stadium Techno Experience) features a remix of the song called Swinging In The Jungle, which has a Suspiciously Similar version of the Arrival sample.
Scooter have done this so much that it has become a sort of trademark to expect certain songs in a particular style on each album. Maria (I Like It Loud) and One (Always Hardcore) are the most notorious and there is one song like them on every album since. Similarly, Break It Up and Leave In Silence are both techno ballads and have pretty much the same chord progression and laid back feel.
David Bowie tried to do a lyrically less-than-faithful glam rock version of "Comme d'Habitude," but Paul Anka took the rights from under him for "My Way." Bowie made some small changes to the tune and chord progression, and the result was "Life on Mars."note Some people think that "My Way" and "Life on Mars" have the same chords, but they don't: they depart from each other at the sixth/seventh line of the verse, where "But more, much more than this" goes in a different direction from "To the seat with the clearest view". "Life on Mars" also has a chorus, while "My Way" doesn't (it has the "Yes there were times" section instead of one.) Note that on the back cover of the album the song is parenthetically noted as being "Inspired by Frankie" — as in Sinatra, who made "My Way" famous.
Similarily a few of their songs' intros do this. on The X Factor, "Fortunes of War" and "Look for the Truth have a very similar chord progression. "Blood Brothers" from Brave New World and "Face in the Sand" from Dance of Death'' open with the same four chord progression, with the latter being slightly more upbeat.
Also; The Pilgrim's intro and When The Wild Wind Blows middle section have a similar Celtic sounding part, Brighter Than A Thousand Sunsmiddle section and The Legacy's exunt have similar four chord progressions.
The opening riff of No Doubt's "Hella Good" sounds strikingly similar to Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean".
Australian musical comedy group Tripod have, on occasion, included a version of the M*A*S*H theme in their concerts. When the concert was being recorded to be put on DVD, the song had to be changed - the last note of every phrase goes in a different direction (the final note in the first line, for example, goes up rather than down.)
This was incredibly amusing on the DVD- they sang it properly (crowd joining in) then stopped and said that if it was going to make it on the dvd they'd have to change it, so Scod gets the audience to sing said 'revised' version, which he's improvising, leading to a very confused chorus.
Apparently they did get the rights for the song anyway- a later performance has them telling the audience that the final stage was sending their version off to the guy who wrote it for his approval, so they wrote a song about him. Here it is, folks.
Linkin Park's "Shadow of the Day" was rather heavily criticized for its uncanny resemblence to U2's "With or Without You".
The sheer similarity between the intro of "No More Sorrow" and the last 30 seconds of Megadeth's "Silent Scorn". They even use similar 'military' drums. Of course, they may well have sampled it up, rather than outright copied it, but it still sounds like a Suspiciously Similar version.
Trivium is often reviled by metal fans for making songs that allegedly copy the notes from other metal bands' songs, primarily Metallica. In fact, most people see them as trying to "copy" Metallica.
Metallica's "The Four Horsemen" and Megadeth's "Mechanix" bear a massive resemblance. The reason? Dave Mustaine, while a member of Metallica, wrote the song "The Mechanix" which is included in some of their early demos. However when he was kicked from the band's roster they kept the song and rewrote the lyrics and some parts and made "The Four Horsemen". Later when Mustaine formed Megadeth he dropped the "The" in the same and sped up the main riff and included the track on his debut album.
There's a YouTube series called "Metal that sounds like other metal" based all around this trope, pointing out the similarities between songs intentional or not.
A techno song called "E" included the melody from a popular Eminem song. However, when that techno song got popular and got released in a larger scale, they changed the melody to the Suspiciously Similar Version. The funny thing was that Eminem mocked techno in this song.
A few of Japanese singer Gackt's songs are Suspiciously Similar versions of other songs; "Another World" is very similar to the Josie and the Pussycats song "Three Small Words", "Vanilla" is very reminiscent of Ricky Martin's "Livin' la Vida Loca", and "Emu~for my dear~" sounds very much like U2's "With or Without You".
The signature guitar riff for "I Feel Fine" by The Beatles is a more folk-rockish, less fuzzed-up version of the riff for Bobby Parker's minor 1960 hit "Watch Your Step". The drums on the two songs are also very similar. However, John Lennon himself freely admitted that he borrowed the riff. The riff was also adapted by Jimmy Page for the Led Zeppelin instrumental "Moby Dick".
The same riff was then borrowed more-or-less untouched for Sugarloaf's "Don't Call Us, We'll Call You."
Sugarloaf's first hit "Green-Eyed Lady" sounds a lot like "25 or 6 to 4" by Music/Chicago, which was popular around the same time.
The Beatles more or less admittedly used this technique to craft the song "Come Together" out of Chuck Berry's "You Can't Catch Me", even taking one of the lines ("Here come ol' flat top"). Berry tried to sue them; they settled out of court. The same thing is often alleged to have been done by George Harrison's solo hit "My Sweet Lord", which sounds a lot like "He's So Fine". That one wasn't settled out of court. Harrison was successfully sued: the court accepted his claim that if he had plagiarized, it was unintentional and unconscious, but they ruled that unintentional plagiarism is still plagiarism. Bright Tunes Music vs Harrisongs became a landmark decision in American copyright law. He later wrote "This Song" to rebut the lawsuit.
When the Beatles' press officer started working for The Byrds, Harrison asked him to tell the band's guitarist that he created the Beatles' "If I Needed Someone" out of twoof their songsnote Though the former is a cover.
In a similar vein, The Beach Boys' song "Surfin' U.S.A." inadvertently copied Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen" and in re-issues is credited to Berry. Meanwhile, some people have noticed a resemblance between "Sweet Little Sixteen" and Clarence Garlow's 1953 Listing Cities song "Route 90".
It wasn't Chuck Berry who tried to sue, actually. Morris Levy had snapped up the publishing rights to a score of songs from the 1950s and 60s, including "You Can't Catch Me", and jumped at the opportunity to extort a dollar from Lennon (and, eventually, an album - "Rock 'n Roll"). Lennon remained in good stead with Berry and performed with him on occasion.
Keith Richards has claimed that the guitar riff for The Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" came to him in a dream in a Florida hotel room. But listen to Martha and the Vandellas' "Nowhere to Run" and tell me if that notion holds water.
Neil Young then swiped the same riff for Buffalo Springfield's "Mr. Soul" a couple years later.
The chorus of The Rolling Stones' "Anybody Seen My Baby?" sounds a lot like kd lang's "Constant Craving": It's reportedly a coincidence, and since this came to the band's attention before Bridges to Babylon was released, they actually credited lang (and her co-writer, Ben Mink) as co-writing the song to help prevent any kind of lawsuit.
One of The Residents' songs share the bass line of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean". Which one? Their cover of Kaw-Liga. Funnily enough, The Residents usually avert this so their covers usually only share the lyrics and the basic rhythm of the original song.
And then there was the time that John Fogerty got sued for "The Old Man Down The Road" ripping off Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Run Through The Jungle", a song written by... John Fogerty. (There's a lesson here about reading the fine print in your record contract.)
The power metal band Dragonforce's music drew much inspiration from computer and video games, including the synths, complete with occasional SID-style arpeggios, ala Machinae Supremacy. In fact, the solo section from "Black Fire" contains the beginning of the Double Dragon theme verbatim.
The opening riff to "Evening Star" is taken from the solo of "Mr. Crowley" by Ozzy Osbourne.
Afrika Bambaataa used a slightly altered version of the main riff from Kraftwerk's "Trans Europe Express" in his popular song "Planet Rock"(you may know the Paul Oakenfold remix from the Swordfish soundtrack), and needless to say, got sued over it.
He didn't help his cause by using the beats from "Numbers" in the very same song. Eventually the case was settled out of court.
Lenny Kravitz's "It Ain't Over Til It's Over" has a strong resemblance to "That's the Way of the World" by Earth, Wind & Fire (mostly in the arrangement and chorus).
The opening of Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale" is clearly... ahem, inspired by Bach's "Air On A G-String", aka "The Hamlet cigar music" in the UK. Ironically, the authorship of the song (and thus the royalties) is now disputed between the band members...
The Village People's "Go West" has a somewhat similar tune to the hymn "Give Thanks", released a year earlier, as many have noted.
"Go West" also sounds a lot like Pachelbel's "Canon in D". The Pet Shop Boys' cover sounds even more like "Canon in D", as Neil Tennant was a huge classical music fan. The cover of "Go West" also heavily interpolates the Soviet national anthem.
Pachelbel's Canon has seen Suspiciously Similar versions produced countless times, of course, even by classical musicians.
The main guitar riff of Weezer's "Take Control" is almost the same as that of "Children of the Revolution" by T Rex.
Another odd Weezer example: their single "Troublemaker" has been reviled by their fanbase as just a rehashing of the song "The Good Life" despite only having a vague resemblance. This is mostly a case of an incredibly Broken Base, though.
Nine Inch Nails' "A Warm Place" has a very similar keyboard melody to "Crystal Japan" by David Bowie, as well as the same overall ambient feel. Reznor himself admitted inspiration from Bowie (link), but specifically cited the album Low, which doesn't include the song (it was added to Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) as a bonus track much later on), so it seems to be a bizarre coincidence.
Before that, his very first single, "Down In It", was very admittedly a rip off of "Dig It" from Skinny Puppy.
This video tells us about how Nirvana (with "Come As You Are") ripped off Killing Joke ("Eighties"), who ripped off The Damned ("Life Goes On"), Who ripped off The Beatles ("Day Tripper", though this one is debatable).
Also from Nirvana, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was considered similar to Boston's "More Than a Feeling", "Debaser" and "U-Mass" by The Pixies, and "Godzilla" by Blue Öyster Cult. Kurt Cobain himself agreed: "It was such a clichéd riff. It was so close to a Boston riff or [The Kingsmen's] 'Louie Louie'", but admitted only that he was "trying to write a Pixies song". So it's more likely he was doing a Suspiciously Similar version of the Pixies track rather than Boston.
In turn, Diamond Dallas Page's WCW theme music "Self High-Five" is a Suspiciously Similar version of "Smells Like Teen Spirit".
Likewise for The Breeders' "Cannonball".
Journey's song "Faithfully" sounds awfully similar to "Working Class Man" - with good reason. They were both written by Jonathan Cain, keyboardist for Journey.
Asher Roth's "I Love College" was originally based around a sample of "Say It Ain't So" by Weezer. Once it got an official release, he couldn't get the sample cleared, so it became a Suspiciously Similar version... which accidentally made it sound a little like "Waiting On The World To Change" by John Mayer instead.
"Weird Al" Yankovic used to do this early in his career, especially with non-vocal orchestrations. But as he got famous enough to ask direct permission from artists, these got closer and closer to the originals. He also continues to do "style parodies" that sound a lot like a specific song or artist, but are not actually the same. For example, "Dare to be Stupid" riffs on the style of Devo, while "Germs" parodies the style of Nine Inch Nails.
On occasion, Al's "style parodies" have been so close to actual songs that fans began to consider them as true parodies. The most obvious examples are "Traffic Jam" (Prince's "Let's Go Crazy"), "I Remember Larry" (They Might Be Giants' "See the Constellation"), "The Night Santa Went Crazy" (Soul Asylum's "Black Gold" - in fact, a mash-up exists to prove that the songs are nearly identical), and "Albuquerque" (The Rugburns' "Dick's Automotive"). "Albuquerque" comes so close to its source, in fact, that a handful of fans accused Al of flat-out plagiarism. After this occurred, Al began crediting style parody inspirations in his CD booklets.
Also, compare the choruses of "Young, Dumb & Ugly" and AC/DC's "For Those About To Rock (We Salute You.)"
Al's soundalike skills actually landed him in legal trouble once - the incidental music for the 'Gandhi II' scene in UHF is a spoof of the Shaft theme; and the copyright owners for that song weren't amused.
A strange example is "Buckingham Blues," the lyrics of which seem to fit perfectly with John Mellencamp's "Jack and Diane." In fact, the song was written as a Mellencamp parody, but legal issues prevented Al from recording it this way. For the final version, he matched the lyrics to a completely different tune that in no way resembles Mellencamp's song.
"I'm So Sick of You" not only parodies the style of Elvis Costello, but also has similar chorus patterns to that of "I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone" by The Monkees.
Jim Steinman, the songwriter-producer most commonly associated with Meat Loaf, tends to recycle certain musical hooks in songs written for different artists. Compare the intro to the song "Stark Raving Love" off his solo album, Bad For Good, to the intro of Bonnie Tyler's "Holding Out For a Hero", which he wrote, and you'll note that aside from the drum track the two are note-for-note identical.
The choruses to Bonnie Tyler's "If You Were a Woman (and I Was a Man)" and Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name" are Suspiciously Similar versions of each other. Probably because they were written by the same guy...
The tune for the chorus of "Bump in the Night" by Allstars also sounds very similar to "You Give Love a Bad Name".
Justin Timberlake's "Nothin' Else" sounds like a Suspiciously Similar Version of the Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black." "Rock Your Body" has a similar sounding beat to "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen.
The beginning of Sublime's "What I Got" is an acoustic "Lady Madonna" with different lyrics and a note changed here and there.
Sublime has an entire laundry list of this, as demonstrated here.
The chorus of Belinda Carlisle's "Heaven Is a Place on Earth" is Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name" reset in a major key.
Also Bon Jovi's "Livin' On A Prayer" chorus.
That's Desmond Child at it again (albeit not for Belinda Carlisle), and he does it yet again with FM's Bad Luck.
In another "You Give Love A Bad Name" soundalike case, the bassline for "Comedown" by Bush sounds like the guitar riff of the former.
Which is itself extremely similar to that of the Stones' own "Brown Sugar" from Exile on Main St.. It's a very regularly recycled riff in Classic Rock.
The vocal melody sounds strikingly similar to that of the Duran Duran song "Hungry Like The Wolf".
It actually sounds a lot more like the riff to John Mellencamp's "Hurts So Good". In fact, some listeners born after about 1980 might hear "Hurts So Good" nowadays and think, "Hey, 'Black or White'!"
But then, there was an old Mountain Dew commercial (The "doing it country cool" one) that resembled "Hurts So Good."
An intentional, parodic example is The Offspring's "Why Don't You Get a Job?", which is patterned after "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da."
The riff to "Hammerhead" sounds ridiculously reminiscent of "Ace of Spades" by Motörhead.
The song "She's got Issues" appears to borrow heavily from 38 Special's "Hold on Loosely".
MOD/demoscene example: Purple Motion's "Fracture In Space", one of his earliest songs, was a Suspiciously Similar version of Dr. Awesome's "Space Deleria".
Three 6 Mafia's "Late Night Tip" song sounds an awful lot like Lisa Fischer's "How Can I Ease The Pain". They never mention whether it was sampled or not.
Many cheaper compilations during the nineties were full of Suspiciously Similar versions. One label (Mecado) is credited with killing an entire genre of music by oversaturating the market with subpar copies in the Netherlands and was succesfully sued over misleading customers.
Older Than Television: The tune most commonly used in the U.S. for the Christmas song "Away in a Manger," typically called "Mueller", was written by James R. Murray. Most other countries use "Cradle Song" (1895) by William J. Kirkpatrick, which sounds much like a Suspiciously Similar version of "Mueller". (Both tunes are in F major and 3/4 time with virtually identical phrasing, and both even end on the same four notes.) And "Mueller" itself is itself an example, according to The Other Wiki: "The first half of the melody is identical to the beginning of the second theme of Waltz #4, transposed down a fourth, in G'schichten aus dem Wienerwald, Op. 325 by Johann Strauss Jr., composed 19 years earlier."
Bedrich Smetana's Die Moldau (the melody in question begins about a minute in) is a tweaked version of the Italian song La Mantovana, which is best known as the tune for Hatikva, the Israeli national anthem (about thirty seconds in on that video).
Calixa Lavallée, in composing a national anthem for Canada, borrowed very heavily from a march in The Magic Flute.
Conversely, Leo Arnaud's "Bugler's Dream" (the 1958 fanfare most commonly associated with the Olympics) shares the same first six notes as "O Canada".
The Mexican national anthem sounds almost like a mashup of the US Marines' Hymn ("From the halls of Montezuma") and the US Air Force song ("Off we go into the wild blue yonder"). But it actually predates both of them: the anthem was composed in 1853, while the Marine song got its melody from an 1867 Jacques Offenbach piece and the Air Force song was composed in 1937.
The main riff from Green Day's "Warning" is a Suspiciously Similar Version of the main riff of The Kinks' 1968 song "Picture Book". The melodies are different but the verses of the two songs also have some structural similarities.
The Kinks' "Catch Me Now I'm Falling" has a guitar riff similar to The Rolling Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash", while the ending of "U.K. Jive" recalls The Who's "My Generation".
The Who's "I Can't Explain" has a similar feel and guitar tone to The Kinks' "You Really Got Me". Both were produced by Shel Talmy. Townshend himself pretty much admitted that he just churned out a Kinks copy with that song.
The main melody of Solar Stone's "Solarcoaster" is a faster tweaked version of "Marwood Walks" from Withnail & I.
Tom Lehrer's "That's Mathematics" was originally intended to use the tune from "That's Entertainment" but it had to be changed. Still pretty much the same rhythms though.
Velvet Acid Christ's "Fun With Drugs" copies Purple Motion's "Second Reality" almost verbatim.
Tenth Planet's "Ghosts"(original mix), Darude's "Music"(original mix), and Aura's "Project Soar" also bear resemblences to Second Reality.
Mariah Carey's "Emotions" sounds very similar to "The Best of My Love", a song by... The Emotions... as well as "Got To Be Real" by Cheryl Lynn.
As of April 1st 2010, the PPCA AKA Phonographic Performance Company of Australia, a group organisation representing the interests of record labels and recording artists, will force places such as fitness centres to either pay a large licence fee to play any original music or be only allowed to play Suspiciously Similar Songs. Any club caught playing the original stuff will be fined.
"Viva La Vida" by Coldplay was accused of ripping off other songs. Most notably, Joe Satriani sued the band, as the song resembled his track "If I Could Fly". Both parties settled out of court.
So many songs copy the chord progression (or variations thereof) of "Louie Louie" that it's not even funny. An exhaustive list would be insanely long, but just to mention a few notables: "Wild Thing," "The Joker," "Get Off Of My Cloud," "Good Lovin'," "Hang On Sloopy," "Back 2 Back" from the Sonic Rush soundtrack, "Walking on Sunshine", Boston's "More Than A Feeling" (and by extension from that, Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" ...
It's highly unlikely that I IV v IV repeated ad nauseam originated with "Louie Louie." The quite similar I IV V I is possibly the most common chord progression in western music.
Opeth has listed the 70s prog-rock band Camel among their inspirations, which would explain why "Benighted" sounds extremely similar to "Never Let Go".
"Maneater" owes much to "You Can't Hurry Love" by The Supremes. Interestingly enough, a cover of "You Can't Hurry Love" by Phil Collins was also making the charts that same year (1982).
Also of note Stevie Wonder's song "Part-Time Lover" has an almost identical rhythm and melody to the song "Maneater."
The trance tunes Green Court - Moonflight, and Digital Plexus - Into The Blue, are both Suspiciously Similar versions of System F - Out of the Blue.
"Clint Eastwood" by Gorillaz from the album Gorillaz. is a subtle one because the entire arrangement was changed, but it got its name from its melody being a variant on the theme from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
"Heaven" (no relation to the Bryan Adams song) by Dune was a tweaked version of "Piece of Heaven" by A7 (later remade by Akira). They didn't get away with it, as its release (and in effect, that of the entire album it was supposed to be on) was blocked by a plagiarism injunction.
Ironically, "Piece of Heaven" was a (less obvious) version of Dune's early hit "I Can't Stop Raving", as well as using the instrumentation of Alice Deejay's "Better Off Alone", which the lyrics contain a Shout-Out to.
"Escape Velocity" by Anders Lundqvist, another space-synth artist, copies Ice Cap Zone from STH 3. The synth brass intro of "Escape Velocity" also resembles the Epic Riff of Europe's "The Final Countdown", which the title may be a reference to.
"The Search for Otherland" rips off Laserdance's "The Challenge".
Common practice by a number of classical composers, for a variety of reasons. Many borrowed heavily from themselves, others stole from whatever sources were available - folk tunes, other composers' works, ideas brought to them from afar... George Frederic Handel was a master of the art, to the point that movements from his early works sound like versions of his later works.
As Händel lived before the notion of the 'repertory' had caught on (a set of classic works that, as today, were almost continually in performance somewhere, with which professionals are expected to at least have a working knowledge and audiences expect to go to several versions over their lifetime- Don Giovanni was probably the first to have this status from birth), every opera he wrote would be practically tossed aside to gather dust once its run closed, never expecting a revival. If he thought a tune from even a partial flop was worth recycling until it was famous, he would reuse it in hope that the next show was a hit. (He wasn't the only one to do this, either.)
Händel also is said to have replied, when someone pointed out to him how many tunes by other composers he had used in compositions of his own: "But those swine don't know what to do with a good tune!"
This also happened frequently when great works would become popular, inspiring whole droves of Follow the Leader-type works. Many of those composers aren't even mentioned any more except in relation to the leader that they followed - Sigismund Thalberg, for example, is never talked about except as having done this to Franz Liszt, much to Liszt's dismay.
Many of a composer's early repertoire, before they find their own "voice," sounds like the Suspiciously Similar version of another composer. Early Mozart sounds like weak Haydn; early Bach like his lesser-known predecessors (and slightly later Bach like his lesser-known teachers), Dvorak like Brahms, Holst like Elgar; even more modern composers aren't immune, with the "second Viennese school" composers (Schoenberg, Webern, and Berg) pre-atonality sounding a lot like Brahms and Wagner.
In oratorios and other religious musical works familiar chorales and hymns were freely used by most composers.
A synth riff similar to the Doctor Who theme can be found in the breakdown to Pink Floyd's "One Of These Days" from Meddle as a throwaway joke.
The Pogues' instrumental "Wild Cats of Kilkenny" sounds suspiciously like the Doctor Who theme Irishised and played on acoustic instruments.
"Doctorin' the Tardis" by The Timelords is a mash-up of the Doctor Who theme with "Rock and Roll Part 2" by Gary Glitter, "Block Buster!" by Sweet, and "Let's Get Together" by Steve Walsh. The group didn't even try to hide their plagiarism, and when Glitter heard about it he wanted in on it and contributed to a remake called "Gary in the Tardis".
The piano riff from "Resistance" closely resembles that of "Hero" by Mariah Carey.
The backbeat to The Black Keys song "Howlin' For You" also sounds a lot like that of "Rock and Roll Part 2".
"Dreamin'" by KISS compared to "I'm Eighteen" by Alice Cooper. It went to court when Cooper's old record label with the rights to the song sued with KISS settling out of court. This might have also been yet another point of argument against those who claim KISS copied Alice Cooper's makeup, too.
First, PM Dawn sampled Spandau Ballet's "True" in "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss", then later, did a self-plagiarism of that titled "Faith in You".
Compare Lady Gaga's "Born this Way" to the Dusty Springfield song also titled "Born This Way". It was even being passed around the internet right before Gaga's "Born This Way" was to be released claiming to be the new single. The song also has a strong resemblance to "Express Yourself" by Madonna, which itself resembles other songs (see below).
Lady Gaga's "Alejandro" bears some resemblance to a song named "Don't Turn Around", originally made by Tina Turner.
Also, "Bloody Mary, Heavy Metal Lover" and "Electric Chapel" sound a lot like most of Madonna's Confessions On A Dancefloor album, "Isaac" and "Get Together" is particular.
Other Gaga examples include "I Like It Rough" with the instrumental from Rockwell's "Somebody's Watching Me" - which itself was a disguised cover of the synthesizer instrumental of Pigs from Pink Floyd's Animals - "Bad Romance", which comes melodically close to "Don't Bring Me Down" by ELO, and "You And I" which shares similar chord progressions to 4 Non Blondes' "What's Up".
Part of Danity Kane's "Damaged" also sounds a little like "Somebody's Watching Me."
Speaking of Madonna herself, her song "Has To Be", which was released as a B-side track to the "Ray Of Light" single, sounds suspiciously similar to Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" but at a slower tempo.
And part of the synthesizer melody of "Material Girl" is based on the vocal melody from "The Name Game" by Shirley Ellis.
Likewise, for all of her complaining about "Born This Way", "Express Yourself" is a rather blatant copy of "Respect Yourself" by The Staple Singers, to the point of it being accused of direct sampling. Don't believe me? Listen for yourself!
The intro to Madonna's "Borderline" is very similar to the intro of "Never Knew Love Like This Before" by Stephanie Mills. Of course both songs were produced by Reggie Lucas so this isn't too surprising.
The bridge of Katy Perry's "Firework" sound similar to the bridge of Erasure's "Always".
And "The One That Got Away" sounds strangely similar to the melody of Thrice's "Music Box". Not a lot of people realize this because Thrice's song memorably uses a music box (hence the title). But their choruses are surprisingly alike.
Meanwhile, "Paralyzer's" vocal melody and rhythm strongly suggest "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy" (see below). Not to mention, and quite possibly more blatantly, "Take Me Out" by Franz Ferdinand, to the point where the latter has been played in conjunction with "Paralyzer" in concert.
T.I. & Rihanna's "Live Your Life", in addition to interpolating/ripping off "Dragostea din Tei"'s refrain, has a strings riff similar to Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise"—which itself took from Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise".
Persecution, from Judas Priests's 2 CD album Nostradamus has a section which sounds a bit like one of the songs from Revolutionary Girl Utena.
Megadeth's cover version of the Duke Nukem 3D "Grabbag" theme is supposed to be a straight cover, and is on a Duke Nukem soundtrack CD, but so many notes were changed that it sounds like a suspiciously similar song.
Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2" has some instrumental stylings reminiscent of the disco era, specifically the Bee Gees. It's not gone unnoticed. Bob Ezrin, the album's producer, was mainly responsible for pushing the band to use a disco rhythm on the song, much to David Gilmour's initial chagrin.
Some listeners have pointed out that their 1987 song "Yet Another Movie" has some similarities with the 1986 Madonna hit "Live To Tell", mainly with the main synthesizer line played during the verses sounding a bit similar. Both songs were written by the same guy, Patrick Leonard, and he plays the keyboard parts on both songs.
Milk Inc's "Sunrise" and Justin Bieber's "Somebody to Love" both rip off September's "Cry For You", which itself is a pastiche of the riff from Bronski Beat's "Small Town Boy" with the chords and vocal melody of Chris Isaak's aforementioned "Wicked Game". Several SoundCloud artists have produced mashups of "Wicked Game" and "Cry For You".
The American version of The Beatles' Help! album (as well as the title track when it appeared on American issues of "1962-1966") began with a brief, unlisted orchestral piece, universally credited as "The James Bond Theme" by Monty Norman - even though it's just a vague soundalike.
The end credits theme from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 bears a startling resemblance to Michael Jackson's "Stranger In Moscow," which led gamers to speculate that the tune may have been a MJ composition. Brad Buxer, who collaborated with Michael around this time, revealed after Michael's death that the speculation was correct.
The instrumental is mostly Joe Cocker's "Woman To Woman", although it sounds more like the redone version from Tupac Shakur's "California Love". Even so, it's one note off and the musician seems to improvise it a bit.
The chorus of Alexandra Burke's "All Night Long" and the bridge of Survivor's "The Search Is Over" (the particular section starts about 3:10). They might not be exact, but the similarity between the two is noticeable.
Chuck Berry's 1959 song "Broken Arrow" is "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" with new lyrics (replacing "E-I-E-I-O" with "I'll never do that again.")
The Cars borrows many parts of "Let's Go (Pony)" by the Routers for their single, "Let's Go".
The riff of "My Best Friend's Girl" alludes to "I Will" by The Beatles (itself nicked from Eddie Cochran), while the intro refers to "Wild Weekend" by the Rebels.
The Intro to "Just What I Needed" sounds similar to "Yummy Yummy Yummy" by the 1910 Fruitgum Co.
And, as noted above, "Moving In Stereo" is a slower version of Golden Earring's "Mad Love's Coming"
The chorus riff to "Hey Man Nice Shot" by Filter is exactly the same as the chorus riff of Stabbing Westward's "Ungod". However, this is because guitarist Stuart Zechman was working with both bands at the same time and used the same riff twice for some reason. "Ungod" was the first of the two songs to be released, but according to Filter's Richard Patrick, "Hey Man Nice Shot" was written years earlier note Patrick wrote "Hey Man Nice Shot" a couple of years before working with Stuart Zechman, but Zechman was apparently the one who added that riff to the chorus. The bands mutually agreed not to sue over it, and Stabbing Westward pretty much stopped playing "Ungod" live after "Hey Man Nice Shot" became a hit single.
"Can't Help Falling in Love" has a similar melody to the French folk song "Plaisir d'Amour", but the rhythm is slowed down and syncopated. The tune was sped up and slightly tweaked for the happy hardcore song "Techno Wonderland".
Joss Stone's "You Had Me" was heavily inspired by Stevie Wonder's "Superstition".
Also, "Superstition" itself sounds similar to Wild Cherry's "Play That Funky Music."
"Superstition" was released in 1972, predating PTFM by a few years.
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 film is kinda unthinkable.
Albert King's Love Shock is essentially a more upbeat rendition of Peggy Lee's Fever.
"Posthumus Zone" by E.S. Posthumus Zone, which have been used as a theme song for the NFL on CBS, sounded similar to some piece of background music from Dexter's Laboratory.
Compare Drops Of Jupiter by Train to Drift Away by Dobie Gray. Ironically, Uncle Kracker had a hit version of "Drift Away" only two years after "Drops of Jupiter" was a hit.
Helalyn Flowers' "Your Killer Toy", particularly the chorus, is similar to P!nk's "U & Ur Hand", and "Crystal Bullet" is this to Duran Duran's "Rio" and "Sunrise".
Jessie J's "Price Tag" resembles Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours", and to a lesser extent Jimmy Eat World's "The Middle".
"I'm Yours" itself resembles Israel Kamakawiwoʻole's arrangement of "Over the Rainbow" and "What A Wonderful World". Straight No Chaser produced a mashup of the first two songs, which actor Dane Stokinger also sang at the closing of Seattle Children's Theatre's 2012 run of The Wizard of Oz, in which he played the Tin Man.
"Laserlight" is similar to KP's "Firework", which Jessie also legitly covered.
The song to celebrate the release of OpenBSD 5.1 is a parody of the "Ghostbusters" theme with the melody slightly altered. It even switches in briefly at the end to "I Want a New Drug," which pokes fun at the controversy that "Ghostbusters" was a Suspiciously Similar version of the former.
Then again, Ray Parker Jr.'s "Ghostbusters" also has a similar riff to the Bar-Kays' "Soul Finger", which made things rather confusing when the commercials for the movie Spies Like Us aired on TV a year after Ghostbusters featuring that particular song.
After Miranda Lambert was told that her 2005 single "Kerosene" sounded an awful lot like Steve Earle's "I Feel Alright", she told CMT, "I didn't purposefully plagiarize his song — but unconsciously I copied it almost exactly." She willingly added Earle's name to the song as a result.
Alan Jackson's "I'll Go On Loving You" has an intro very similar to the Mash theme. A few notes are downright identical, just in a different key.
The verse in Gwen Stefani's "What You Waiting For?" is sung in an almost identical melody to the one in Weezer's "Hash Pipe".
Kris Kardashian (now Jenner)'s "I Love My Friends" is a remake of Randy Newman's "I Love LA"...but the bass- and drum-heavy production (unlike that of the original) makes it sound more like a combination of Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" and The Cars's "Magic."
As admitted by the band themselves, Lostprophets' "Burn Burn" is very similar to Adamski's "Killer".
Venom's, "Welcome to Hell," Dio's, "Stand Up and Shout," Accept's, "Flash Rocking Man," Iron Maiden's, "2 Minutes to Midnight," Mercyful Fate's, "Curse of the Pharaohs," Riot's "Swords and Tequila," Anvil's "Tease Me, Please Me," Puta's "Extremodurta," Midnight Chaser's "White Spirit," Def Leppard's "Wasted," Saxon's "the Power and the Glory," Judas Priest's "Hell Bent For Leather," Nitro's "Freight Train," Grim Reaper's "the Wrath of the Ripper," Helloween's "Phantom of Death," and Rory Gallagher's "Moonchild," all sound like Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold"
The verses in "Words As Weapons" are almost identical to those of TearsForFears' "Mad World". The fact that it's in the same key as the Gary Jules cover (the one most people recognize) does not help.
The opening lines of "Whatever" by Oasis are very similar to "How Sweet To Be An Idiot" by Neil Innes. This was settled out of court, with Innes getting royalties and a writing credit. Innes later took a potshot at "Whatever" in the song "Shangri-La" by The Rutles.
Not the first example of plagiarism on Oasis' part: their song "Step Out" sounds a lot like Stevie Wonder's classic song "Uptight," to the point the song became a B-side and Wonder got a writing credit.
"Shakermaker" is suspiciously similar to the Coca-Cola jingle "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing", and the band was forced to pay $500 thousand. Noel Gallagher commented that "Now we all drink Pepsi."
"Cigarettes and Alcohol"'s main riff sounds a lot like T Rex's "Get It On".
Psy's "Gangnam Style" is suspiciously similar to "Pump Up the Jam" by Technotronic, which is quite ironic considering these two songs are pretty much the only ones the artists are known for. There's also a mashup remix.
Speaking of Gangnam Style, there is an uncanny similarity with Afrojack's "Take Over Control" and LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem."
The beginning of The Black Eyed Peas' "Let's Get It Started" sounds like the beginning of Alicia Key's "Fallin'"
Korn's "Justin", Decyfer Down's "Never Lost", and Disturbed's "The Animal" all have uncannily similar riffs.
The intro guitar riff of "Blind" is also similar to that of Fear Factory's "Scapegoat". The latter song even contains the lyrics “You can’t see / too damn blind". Dino Cazares himself noted the similarities.
Former drummer Mike Portnoy pointed out that "Build Me Up, Break Me Down" (off of their first album with the new drummer) is this to Red's "Feed the Machine", and that several other songs on that album approach this territory in comparison to songs from their 1992 breakthrough album Images and Words (e.g. "On the Backs of Angels" to "Pull Me Under", "Lost, Not Forgotten" to "Under a Glass Moon").
"The Looking Glass" off their self-titled album is a very clear homage to Rush's "Limelight".
The "Overture" part of "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" borrows a riff from "The Wall" by Kansas, and the "Solitary Shell" part's intro sounds like the intro to "Solsbury Hill" by Peter Gabriel (they even have similar names).
Part of "Panic Attack" sounds very similar to "VS Ridley" from the Metroid games.
Compare the neoclassical shredding that opens "Forever is a Long Time" by Yngwie Malmsteen and "8th Commandment" by Sonata Arctica. Also, the verse melody of "Destruction Preventer" is very reminiscent of "Black Diamond" by Stratovarius.
Jordin Sparks' "Tattoo" and Taylor Swift's "Back to December".
The riff to Steve Miller Band's "Jet Airliner" (wriitten by Paul Peña) sounds similar to Cream's "Crossroads" (based on Robert Johnson's "Cross Road Blues"), while "Rock'n Me" has a similar riff to Free's "All Right Now".
Kesha's "Die Young" and Flo Rida's "Good Feeling".
To say nothing of "Good Feeling" getting its chord progression and vocal hook from Avicii's "Levels", which itself is sampled from Etta James' "Something's Got a Hold On Me".
The main riff for the "Monsters" section of Rush's elaborate instrumental "La Villa Strangiato" - which Alex Lifeson has said was based on his dreams - sounds suspiciously like music from Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons called Powerhouse by Raymond Scott. By the time they were notified of the issue, the statute of limitations for Scott to sue had expired, but Rush agreed to a settlement nonetheless, believing it to be the ethical thing to do. The terms were not disclosed, but the band was not required to add a credit for Scott to the song and it has been said that all parties were pleased with the outcome.
Meshuggah, Ill Will, Textures, and Gojira has some very similar rhythm pattern as seen here. This rhythm pattern is popular among Technical Metal bands.
So, we've been going like: "Ooooh we have re-written Wicked Games" and then "No, the chords scheme is different, we don't have to worry. And it's a written song!" (laughs) "Yay!".
The Flaming Lips' "Fight Test" has a similar vocal melody to Cat Stevens' 1970 hit "Father and Son". The band eventually admitted that, while they hadn't deliberately set out to mimic "Father And Son", they had realized the similarity while recording the song, and had tried in vain to change things enough to make it less obvious. Cat Stevens (now known as Yusuf Islam) successfully sued, and reportedly now gets 75 percent of the royalties for the song.
The band themselves have also noted that "Take Meta Mars" borrowed heavily from "Mushroom" from Tago Mago by Can, and that the verse section of "Chrome-Plated Suicide" came about when Wayne Coyne was trying to learn "Sweet Child O' Mine" on guitar.
The Escape Club's "Wild Wild West" borrows almost all of its arrangement ideas (including the singing style) from Elvis Costello's "Pump It Up".
Krisiun's "Bloodcraft" has a riff in it that sounds basically identical to the opening riff to Six Feet Under's "Killed in Your Sleep".
U2's "Van Diemen's Land" (sung by The Edge) has a verse structure and vocal delivery similar to Leon Payne's "Lost Highway", which was covered live by U2 a few times... and was sung by The Edge whenever they played it.
And The Edge's signature repeating guitar style, as in "Where The Streets Have No Name" and some other songs? Listen to David Gilmour's guitar come forth in the epic reprisal before the third verse of Pink Floyd's opus "Echoes". Or even better, "Run Like Hell".
The intro to Soundgarden's "Fell On Black Days" sounds a lot like the intro to Cream's "Badge".
There's a similar riff in Heart's "Heartless" and Blue Öyster Cult's "O.D.'d on Life Itself", with The Hollies' "Long Cool Woman". (The Hollies were first, B.O.C. followed with theirs a year later, Heart about 5 years after that.)
Compare The Police's "Canary In a Coalmine" with Bob Seger's "Get Out Of Denver"—mainly the very unusual metering of the vocals found in both.
"Get Out of Denver" itself is a blatant Chuck Berry pastiche ("Johnny B. Goode" crossed with "Nadine" crossed with "Tulane", basically).
The Strokes' "Hard to Explain" has an opening drum machine riff not unlike that of the Saturday Night Live song "I Wish It Was Christmas Today" that debuted the preceding Christmas. Amusingly enough, Julian Casablancas turned out to be such a big fan he did his own cover of the latter, which he debuted on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, performing alongside one of the original performers, Fallon himself. (Julian hasn't touched on any similarities between the two songs as of yet though.)
Culture Club's "Church Of The Poison Mind's" melody is similar to that of Stevie Wonder's "Uptight".
George Benson's "Greatest Love of All", later covered by Whitney Houston, is a ripoff of Gordon Lightfoot's "If You Could Read My Mind", to the point that Lightfoot filed a lawsuit over it in the wake of Houston's cover becoming a hit.
There is also a long-standing accusation that a large chunk of Metallica's earlier work was stolen wholesale from the unfinished Jerry Only post-Misfits band Kryst The Conqueror- supposedly, Jerry attended a Metallica concert and lent the band a demo tape, and Metallica copied it wholesale. KTC ultimately never came to fruition largely due to this.
A hilarious example: LMFAO's hit "Sexy and I Know It" sounds a lot like the song the paraplegic DJ plays in Jon Lajoie's Drug Commercial video. One could easily mistake the latter as being a parody of the former, but the former came out several months after the latter!
Aerosmith's Crazy sounds a lot like their earlier hit Cryin', not least because both song titles start with a "cr".
"The Other Side" sounds similar to the Motown standard "Standing in the Shadows of Love", to the point where the Holland-Dozier-Holland writing trio threatened to sue the band over the similarity (it was settled out of court, and the trio were given a writing credit for the song).
"Human", by Danish rock band Carpark North, has a guitar riff that sounds very similar to the one in The Knack's "My Sharona".
"What Makes You Beautiful" by One Direction has a guitar riff that sounds just a bit too much like the riff in "Summer Nights" from Grease. On the other side of the spectrum, "Say Somethin'" by Austin Mahone and, more recently, "Cake By The Ocean" by DNCE both bear a strong resemblance the boy band hit.
The Epic Riff of "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash is copied very unsubtly in "Live While We're Young".
"Best Song Ever" blatantly copies the opening of The Who's "Baba O'Riley", enough that it was rumored that it was going into court. Directioners were not happy about this. The Who's fans could care less.
And then you have "Midnight Memories" and Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me."
In a more obscure example, the opening ukelele of "Story of My Life" is very similar to "Sweet Troubled Soul" by stellastarr*.
In the piano's tone and riff, "Steal My Girl" resembles Journey's "Faithfully".
The breakdown and ending of Ylvis's "The Fox" resemble Inna's "In Your Eyes". Although the latter's video was released second, the song itself was released six months prior to "The Fox". The verse and overall melody is even more similar to Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive" and to some extent David Guetta's "Titanium", to the point that it was temporarily pulled from circulation due to plagiarism accusations.
One can argue that it's a deliberate parody of modern "electronic dance music" (referring to the specific mainstream use of the term to refer to the particular classes of house music made popular by acts like Guetta)
And yes, there's a resemblance to Gangnam Style as well.
The "Pachelbel Rant" routine by comedian Rob Paravonian features him playing the chord progression used in "Pachelbel's Canon in D" on his guitar while singing the lyrics to many, many different contemporary songs.
Some have noted that "Das Lamm, das erwürget ist", the last movement of Johann Sebastian Bach's cantata Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis, is very similar to "Worthy is the Lamb", the last movement of George Frederic Handel's Messiah. The two share a very similar structure and are even based on the same Bible verses!
Eluveitie's "A Rose for Epona" copies its intro almost note-for-note from Blood Stain Child's earlier "Metropolice", released approximately five years before Eluveitie's song. Some say that the intro is lifted from an earlier Irish/Scottish folk song, but so far not many people have been able to verify that origin (or what the base song is, for that matter) and it leaves one questioning how a Japanese trance/metal band would have heard an obscure Celtic folk song in the first place (slightly more understandable for Eluveitie, being a Celtic metal band themselves).
Eluveitie has several songs based on folk songs, which makes them sound very similar to other songs based on the same source material. If you don't know this, you might be forgiven for thinking Inis Mona and Luxtos were pirated from French folk hip hop band Manau's La Tribu De Dana and Qui Est La Belette or the other way round.
Neil Young's "Borrowed Tune" outright admits the melody is lifted from a Rolling Stones song (specifically, "Lady Jane") - it's right there in the title.
Dragonforce's "Cry Thunder" sounds like a ripoff of a couple of Sabaton songs, particularly "Union (Slopes of St. Benedict)."
Swedish singer Ted Gärdestad's 1979 Eurovision Song Contest entry "Satellit" is infamously similar to Toto's breakthrough hit "Hold The Line". Gärdestad's guitarist had jammed with the then-unknown Toto in Los Angeles, and unaware that they'd just started climbing the charts, figured he'd get away with borrowing the most striking bits.
"All By Myself" was a cover of an Eric Carmen hit from 1975, which pre-dates NSG by 11 years. Jon Bon Jovi himself, however, states that the song was inspired by Southside Johnny And The Asbury Jukes' "Hearts Of Stone".
American Authors' "Best Day of My Life" sounds an awfully lot like Imagine Dragons' "It's Time."
And BOTH were accused of ripping off Matt & Kim's "Daylight.
When many people first heard "Latch" by Disclosure & Sam Smith, they thought it was a rehash of Sam Sparro's "Black & Gold."
Seether's "Country Song" is eerily similar to Black Stone Cherry's "White Trash Millionaire", except played in a minor key with more of a steel-guitar focus. Otherwise, the two songs sound more or less the same. It's worth noting both were released in 2011, BSC succeeding Seether by about a month.
Hearing "Low" by Cracker and Spacehog's "In the Meantime" back-to-back can be very disorienting. The later sounds like a slightly happier version of the former, which is a stoner's love anthem. "In the Meantime" was kinda creepy to begin with, but this disparity and obvious similarities make it all the more disturbing.
Try listening to "In The Meantime" without thinking of "Where Is My Mind" by the Pixies.
The intro to Switchfoot's "Dark Horses" is cut-and-paste from Lenny Kravitz's "Fly Away".
Six Feet Under's "Nonexistence" and Obituary's "By the Light" sound incredibly similar. Which isn't surprising since the latter band's guitarist was in the former band during the recording of the former song.
Swiss rock band Gotthard's biggest hit, the ballad "Heaven", bears an uncanny resemblance to Savage Garden's "Truly, Madly, Deeply."
KingSpartaX37's "Eurobeat Boss Battle: Eurobeat Pegasister" almost directly cribs the intro, synth hook, and bridge melody from DJ Command & 3L's "Think of You", a Eurobeat arrangement of the Touhou song "Bad Apple". Although the organ intro in those two seems to resemble that of Eurobeat Brony's "Discord" (which is actually taken from Bach's "Toccata & Fugue in D Minor"), "Think of You" predates said song by several months, and the original "Bad Apple" is more than a decade older than all of those.
The A-section of "Eurobeat Pegasister" is a pastiche of "Lost Dream"'s A-section with the first half of Fluttershy's "So Many Wonders".
Another brony music piece possibly inspired by Touhou is Makkon's "Deae Lunae", which sounds like a slow version of the climax of "Vanishing Dream~Lost Dream" from Phantasmagoria of Dimensional Dream.
The hook of Ne-Yo's "She Knows" reminds one of Kirko Bangz's "Drank In My Cup".
A Christian blogger pointed out that Dan Schutte's mass setting "Mass of Christ the Savior", in particular the "Glory to God" part, sounds just like the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic theme. Read here and here.
"Time of the Season" itself was interpolated in Melanie Fiona's 2009 single "Give It To Me Right". The latter was about to sample up the former, at least in Fiona's native Canada, but quickly faded into obscurity.
Many Homestar Runner viewers, upon listening to the Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars song "Uptown Funk" for the first time, noted a striking similarity between that and the Homestar Runner original song "To The Limit". The resemblance was so uncanny that an epic mashup has been created.
It's also similar to Was (Not Was)'s "Walk the Dinosaur". Behold.
Elastica got into trouble over the glaring similarities of their early single "Connection" to Wire's "Three-Girl Rumba", and the album track "Waking Up" to The Stranglers' "No More Heroes". Money was reportedly handed over to settle lawsuits.
Apparently a total coincidence- Tay admitted early on that his parents had never let him play video games as a child so he'd have been unlikely to have heard either.
Justin Moore's "'Til My Last Day" has both an opening similar to Hollerado's "Americanarama", and a chorus eerily similar to Melissa Etheridge's "If I Wanted To".
Avenged Sevenfold's "This Means War" and Metallica's "Sad But True" sound so similar that the former song is considered by some to be a ripoff.
Rotting Christ's "Sorrowful Farewell" has a riff much like Nightwish's "Slaying the Dreamer", though the former song came first.
The refrain of the Christian hymn "Alas! Did My Savior Bleed" borrows from France's national anthem, "La Marseillaise," with the later twentieth-century children's song "If You're Happy and You Know It" borrowing from the rest of the hymn's refrain.
The synth/guitar riff in Hotblade's "Plastic" is all but copied from the bridge section of the A-Teamtheme.
"Free Your Mind" by En Vogue sounds quite similar to "Feed My Frankenstein" by Alice Cooper - less so in the instrumental and moreso in the lyrical style and overall progression of the song- both begin with a spoken opening followed by the title drop, some lyrics could practically be switched between songs and both have a similar instrumental break in the middle.
"Hot Fun in the Summertime" by Sly and the Family Stone, "Sail On, Sailor" by The Beach Boys, "Hold the Line" by Toto, and "Misunderstanding" by Genesis all sound very similar to one another. Toto cited "Hot Fun" as an inspiration for "Hold The Line". In the case of "Misunderstanding", songwriter Phil Collins has said that the resemblance to the others was intentional. And The Beach Boys did a Cover Version of "Hot Fun" many years later.
"Insane in the Brain" totally sounds like "Jump Around". Proof. They did share a producer, though.
"Trampled Under Foot" by Led Zeppelin has been long debated about what it copied- it was stated by Robert Plant to have been inspired by Robert Johnson's "Terraplane Blues" in that they both use cars as a metaphor for sex, but they sound little alike. Some have also suspected it copied Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" due to the organ, but those parts sound distinct. But many have noted that it sounds a lot like "Long Train Runnin'" by the Doobie Brothers due to similar sounding riffs and the choruses, not to mention that the lyrics to one could be sung to the tune of the other. It has inspired this mix. It's worth pointing out that the Doobie Brothers had played their song live in concert for 3 years before it was released as a studio cut, and not only does it predate "Trampled" by several years, it also predates "Superstition".
And "Long Train Runnin'" is itself likely a take on Bachman Turner Overdrive's "Let it Ride". Randy Bachman says they were sharing a dressing room with the Doobies while they were working on the opening riff, and when he heard "Long Train Runnin'", he realized right away where they'd gotten the idea for beginning with those stuttering acoustic chords.
The Gin Blossom's "Til I Hear It From You" sounds a lot like Marshall Crenshaw's "Some Day Some Way," though this could be intentional since Crenshaw was one of the writers of the former.
The intro to Asia's "Countdown To Zero" is similar to the theme music used for THX in the theaters.
The verses of "Heat of the Moment" musically resemble the verses of The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" (and even lyrically, in some cases, like with "And now you find yourself in 82" vs. "And now we meet in an abandoned studio", at the start of their respective second verses). Since Geoff Downes contributed to the writing on both songs, this probably wasn't a total coincidence.
Sam Smith's "Stay With Me" sounds a lot like Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down". Smith said this was a complete coincidence as he'd never heard the latter song before, but nevertheless, Petty and Jeff Lynne ended up getting co-writer status on "Stay With Me".
"Crash and Burn" sounds very similar to "Chain Gang". Same rhythm and grunts.
Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud" became a huge hit in the beginning of 2015. Rhett's "Die a Happy Man" has become a country hit in the latter half of 2015 with very similar guitar chords, as well as similar messages of "you are all I'll need for the rest of my life."
"Vacation" has a similar bassline to "Low Rider" by War, so the writers and producers of that song, as well as the members of War themselves, were credited as songwriters.
Queens of the Stone Age's song "Sick Sick Sick" has some parts of it sound an awful lot like Foo Fighters "All My Life." Though, considering Josh Homme and Dave Grohl have worked together in the past and the guitars used in both music videos are clear glass guitars, this may have been intentional on Josh's end.
P.D.Q. Bach's music is full of this trope, even not counting themes directly lifted from other composers (which Peter Schickele attributes to the composer's penchant for plagiarism):
"1712 Overture" is obviously a takeoff on Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture," with the patriotic Standard Snippets facetiously replaced with ones more familiar to American audiences: "God Preserve Thy People" becomes "Yankee Doodle" (with one chord repeated an excessive number of times), "La Marseillaise" becomes "Pop Goes the Weasel," and "God Save the Tsar" becomes the finale theme from Antonín Dvořŕk's "New World" Symphony.
"You're So Cool" by Nicole Dollanganger closely resembles "Robbers" by The 1975. One could dismiss it as a coincidence (since both songs fall under the Indie Pop genre) if the final line of "Robbers" wasn't "you look so cool".
The drum patterns and main riff of The Sweet's big 1970s hit "Ballroom Blitz" are suspiciously similar to those of Bobby Comstock's early-'60s song "Let's Stomp". And in between those two songs, The Rolling Stones used a similar riff and drum beats in the song "Surprise, Surprise."
Salt Ashes' 2016 single "Save It" sounds suspiciously like Shakedown's 2001 house hit "At Night".
And speaking of songs named "Afterglow", Genesis has admitted that they based their song of that name on the chords of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."
The riff to Iggy Azelia's "Fancy" is a simplified version of the main riff to Tool's "Schism".
MC Miker G & DJ Sven's "Holiday Rap" was originally intended to be a Sampled Up version of Madonna's "Holiday". However, rather than actually use the samples, the producer decided to use nearly-identical instrumentation to get around it instead.
According to R.E.M. in interviews, they only realised the extreme musical similarity of "Hope" from Up to Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne" after completing recording. Rather than lose all the work, they decided to release the song anyway and give Cohen a co-writing credit.
Wham!'s "Last Christmas" sounds like a mashup of Barry Manilow's "Can't Smile Without You" and Kool & The Gang's "Joanna". In fact, the writers of the Manilow song sued George Michael and settled out of court.
The hymn tunes "Lyons" (attributed to Joseph Haydn and most often used for "O Worship the King") and "Hanover" (composed by William Croft, most often used for "Ye Servants of God") are very similar. Their first stanzas are almost note for note the same, and they have an almost entirely identical rhythm. Some hymnals even swap these tunes.
My Chemical Romance's iconic song "Welcome to the Black Parade" clearly takes a lot of influence from both Pachelbel's Canon in D Major (the chord progression is similar, as far as I can tell even identical, aside from being in the key of G major) and the first act finale from Les Miserables (with which it shares not only the chord progression - which is also based on Pachelbel's - but also the lyrical themes of oppression, uprising, death/sacrifice, and perseverance/defiance, AND the style and call-response dynamic set up during the conclusion). MCR were obviously at least fans of musical theater, and very likely were also inspired by some of the more influential classical pieces.
Kelly Clarkson's "Heartbeat Song" is nearly isomorphic to Jimmy Eat World's "The Middle," which has led to some epic mashups. Clarkson admits listening to "The Middle" a lot on the bus on the way to school.
The riff in the first part of Betamaxx's "Restless" is blatantly ripped from "Gloria" by Umberto Tozzi/Laura Branigan.
Maxine Nightingale's "Right Back Where We Started From" is pretty obviously based on the British hit "Goodbye Nothin' to Say" by Nosmo King and The Javells, which came out a year earlier. The writers of "Goodbye Nothin' to Say" sued and got an out-of-court settlement. But "Goodbye" itself is pretty close to the 1966 hit "Black is Black" by Los Bravos.
Sash!'s Life is a Beach album has two particularly flagrant examples:
"Rise and Shine", the instrumental theme song for The Flintstones for its first two seasons has musical passages that are very similar to "This is It", the vocal theme for The Bugs Bunny Road Runner Show. The similarity is most likely a coincidence given the two programs debuted only two weeks apart in 1960. Whether the similarity had anything to do with The Flintstones later dropping "Rise and Shine" in favor of the song "Meet the Flintstones" - and the decision to remove "Rise and Shine" from syndicated versions of the first two seasons for more than 30 years - is unknown.
Cappella's "U Got 2 Know" has a more-or-less identical melody to "Happy House" by Siouxsie and the Banshees, a similarity that led to a lawsuit.
The Isley Brothers famously sued Michael Bolton and won over accusations that his "Love is a Wonderful Thing" plagiarized their earlier song of the same title. But there's another soft rock hit that's much more similar to an Isley song than Bolton's was: "Ride Like the Wind" by Christopher Cross (1980) resembles 1974's "Live it Up". The Epic Riff for both songs is almost identical, and the choruses are close as well.