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Suspiciously Similar Song: Western Animation
  • The Simpsons hangs a lampshade on the trope when, at the opening ceremonies of a nationwide Spelling Bee, celebrity moderator George Plimpton announces, "And now, our unlicensed knockoff of the Olympic anthem."
    • It also played this one straight, in quite a lot of episodes. Who can forget "Springfield, Springfield," or the whole of the episode "Simpsoncalifragalisticexpiali(annoyed grunt)tious"? The latter was a parody of Mary Poppins, and had some of the best of these you're likely to see anywhere - particularly Barney's version of "Feed the Birds" ("Buy Me a Beer") and the family's version of "Spoonful of Sugar' ('Cut Every Corner").
      • And "The President Wore Pearls," an Whole Plot Reference of Evita. Also lampshaded in the closing subtitles, which insist the producers (as advised by their lawyers) "have never heard of a musical based on the life of Eva Peron."
    • The end of "Life on the Fast Lane" parodies the end of An Officer and a Gentleman; you have to listen very carefully to the BGM to notice it isn't really "Up Where We Belong".
    • The rambling song Homer sang in hopes of becoming a food critic was based around West Side Story's "I Feel Pretty".
    • Then there's "See My Vest", Mr. Burns' PETA-unfriendly ripoff of Beauty and the Beast's "Be Our Guest".
      • In turn, "Be Our Guest" resembles the titular song from Me and My Girl, and the Screen-to-Stage Adaptation version has an interlude similar to Jacques Offenbach's "Can Can".
    • Lampshaded again during a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs parody with a song called "Ho Hi" ("this song's not like any song you know...if Disney sues we'll claim fair use").
    • Some earlier episodes repeatedly underscored action sequences with a pastiche of the "Axel F" theme from Beverly Hills Cop. In fact, they had at least two distinct versions of it.
    • Sideshow Bob's personal theme music is a reworked version of Bernard Herrmann's Cape Fear theme.
    • "Lady Bouvier's Lover" closes with "The Sound of Grandpa", a knockoff of Simon & Garfunkel's "The Sounds of Silence".
    • "Flaming Moe's" has a very funny parody of the Cheers theme.
    • The James Bond parody couch gag uses an obvious knock-off of its famous opening theme.
    • The episode where Homer becomes a hippy replaces the end theme with the bass and drums from Tomorrow Never Knows, with a sitar playing the Simpsons theme on top - several years before Giles Martin played the vocals and sitar of Within You Without You over the same, causing the Simpsons version to sound like a Suspiciously Similar Song version of that.
    • Several early episodes had a bit of incidental music that was a tweaked version of Edvard Grieg's "Morning Mood" from Peer Gynt; it was used to in the same manner as Grieg's original, to denote the dawning of a new day. Since the composition was in the public domain when those episodes were produced, it remains unclear why they didn't use the Grieg original. Even more confusingly, the 8th Season episode "Bart Carny" does actually use the original, untweaked "Morning Mood".
    • "They'll Never Stop The Simpsons", the closing song from the Clip Show "Gump Roast", lyrically parodies Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire" but uses a different melody.
    • "Thank God, It's Doomsday" has "Who Got Their Haircut?", a parody of the Baha Men's "Who Let the Dogs Out"
  • The Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers theme song was probably intended as a spoof of the MacGyver vignette.
  • It is blatantly obvious that "I See the Light" from Tangled was based on "A Whole New World" from Aladdin. Both songs even include the line "It's Crystal Clear" with practically the same notation.
  • Histeria, an educational cartoon about history, parodied a lot of songs with similar, but original, melodies. In the episode on Teddy Roosevelt, adapted versions of "Wooly Bully" (as "Bully Bully") and "Ghostbusters" (as "Trustbuster") were both used, altered enough to be free of royalties.
  • Family Guy used to do this in its early seasons — e.g. "Give it Up" from the toad-licking one, which was a pastiche of "You're the One That I Want" from Grease. Lately, however, they've been going with straight lyrical parodies.
    • The apotheosis: Peter singing about his Diplomatic Immunity with "Can't Touch Me!", which includes the line "so Hammer you can't sue!" while talking to an animated MC Hammer.
      • "Can't Touch Me" used a Suspiciously Similar Version of the music. However, the show has more recently been able to get the rights to almost any music they want; one aversion occurred when they couldn't get the rights to the 1967 Spider-Man cartoon theme, so they had Peter sing the Batman TV show theme (owned by Fox), replacing "Batman" with "Spider-Man". It was actually much funnier that way.
      • The original MC Hammer song also uses the same bass line as "Superfreak".
    • The Season 3 episode "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein" has Peter crooning a song called "I Need a Jew", which sounds suspiciously like "When You Wish Upon a Star", from Disney's Pinocchio. The publishers of the Disney song apparently thought so, too, as they unsuccessfully sued Family Guy producer Seth MacFarlane and composer Walter Murphy for copyright infringement.
    • In the episode "Love Blactually", Brian dresses up as Snoopy for a costume party. When Peter demands that he "do the dance", Brian complies, accompanied by a Suspiciously Similar Version of Vince Guaraldi's "Linus and Lucy", the famous Peanuts Bootstrapped Theme.
    • In "Saving Private Brian", the music in the US Army commercial is The suspiciously similar version of the intro to Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me".
    • The "I'm A Tumor" song in "Petarded" is a suspiciously similar version of Falco's "Rock Me Amadeus". Of course, The Simpsons did it first, using the same tune as the basis for "Dr. Zaius" in "A Fish Called Selma".
  • Doug's theme song sounds a lot like 'Little Bitty Pretty One' by Thurston Harris.
    • Doug also used suspiciously similar versions of the Raiders March from Raiders of the Lost Ark, for Race Canyon, Superman's Theme Tune for Quailman, the James Bond theme for Smash Adams, the Mission Impossible theme (in Doug's Secret Song when Porkchop is sneaking into Bebe's house) and a knockoff of "U Can't Touch This" in "Doug Can't Dance" (starts after Mr. Dink stubs his toe), among others.
  • Jimmy Neutron does this all the time with their montage sequences. One notable one is a couple notes off from "Hey Ya" by Outkast.
    • Another notable, and rather obscure, one is a knock-off of Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse" (heard in a number of classic Looney Tunes cartoons) in the episode "Return of the Nanobots," during a montage where the Nanobots delete everyone in Retroville (and we even briefly cut away a couple of times to the robots dancing to the music!)
  • Phineas and Ferb, episode "Ladies and Gentlemen, Meet Max Modem!": Mr. Fletcher, practicing as Max Modem, plays a riff on a synthesizer that sounds a lot like the intro to "Bloody Tears" from the Castlevania series.
    • The Perry the Platypus theme sounds an awful lot like the song "Secret Agent Man."
    • "Meatloaf Surprise" features a song that starts off sounding a lot like "Wonderwall" by Oasis, except it's about the singer's love of meatloaf.
    • In "Meapless in Seattle", the brothers and friends go to Seattle, where they're greeted by a guitar riff that's suspiciously similar to Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit.
      • The 2012 syndicated version of this show uses a theme sounding suspiciously similar to the Disney Channel version but instrumental.
  • Chowder has done this twice so far. In the episode "Grubble Gum", where Chowder's gigantic, all-consuming wad of gum starts picking up everything in its path: the background music, appropriately enough, is a lawyer-friendly version of the Katamari Damacy theme. The episode "Sniffle Ball" also has one scene blatantly parodying the classic Super Mario Bros. fight with Bowser, to the tune of a variant on the classic underground theme.
    • The sleepeating episode uses the first few notes of "Thriller".
    • Another episode involving Schnitzel's obvious Bruce Lee parody used an equally-obvious and suspiciously similar version of the song "Eye of the Tiger".
    • And in "Sing Beans", when Schnitzel is playing the steel drum, it sounds EXACTLY like Target's (Australia) "Make Me Happy" aka 100% Happy ad campaign jingle.
    • There is a recurring theme that often plays when a character is sneaking around, that sounds like the Pink Panther theme. It reuses the first same ten notes.
  • An early sketch in Robot Chicken features Voltron in a dance-off against a Robeast to "Work It Out On The Floor", an obvious parody of DMX's "Get It On The Floor". On the DVD version and all future airing, the song is replaced with a horribly generic, lawyer-friendly take on the song.
    • During their "Greatest American Hero" parody, the theme song is "Believe it or don't I'm flying around."
    • Used in-series when a sketch about the Libertarian Party have them needing to use the suspiciously similar version of various songs because they can't afford the real ones. Such as "Airborn mini-dirt" (Dust in the Wind) and "We are the Victors" (We are the Champions). They still got sued for "Friend choo-choo" (Love Train).
    • A sketch about the Kraken from Clash of the Titans featured a suspiciously similar version of "Memory".
      • A large amount of the music used for Robot Chicken are suspiciously similar versions of many popular tunes from movies, television shows, and even video games. This makes sense as parodies are a big part of Robot Chicken.
  • The Teletoon-animated seasons of Johnny Test use their own theme song, which is a Suspiciously Similar Song version of... the original Johnny Test theme song (from when the series was animated by Warner Bros.). The "same franchise as the original music" deal strikes again!
    • Also occurs on the Cartoon Network broadcast version.
    • And the Netflix Watch Instantly releases.
    • Incidentally, while the original Johnny Test theme sounds highly styled after your average top 40 rock band, the second series theme song is actually a suspiciously similar Version of "American Idiot".
  • The eighth episode of Samurai Jack opens with a jukebox playing the suspiciously similar Version of Quincy Jones's "Soul Bossa Nova" (which you may recognize from Austin Powers).
    • Or, for those Canadians playing at home, Definition.
  • The Flapjack Christmas Episode begins with "It's the Most Marvelous Time of the Year", which is a several notes-off version of (of course) "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year".
  • In an episode of The Angry Beavers, "You Promised", Norbert and Daggett race around their dam on bikes to the suspiciously similar, yet instrumental, version of "I'm A Believer" by The Monkees.
    • "In Search of Big Byoo-tox" featured Dag trying to avoid being seen by Norb to The Suspiciously Similar Version of "Hush" by Deep Purple.
    • Also, one of the instrumentals used frequently in episodes of The Angry Beavers sounds a lot like the beginning of Andy Williams' song, "Can't Get Used to Losing You". In fact, the show's soundtrack is practically a "Best of".
    • One episode of the Angry Beavers featured a suspiciously similar version of "Say You'll Be There" by the Spice Girls.
  • Futurama does some almost indistinguishable please-don't-sue-us versions of songs like "Happy Birthday To You" and "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" - the latter has to be listened to very, very closely. The excuse in the director's commentary was 'we thought it'd be alright because the songs would have changed over the years'.
    • Fry lampshades this during the former by singing "And you smell like one, too!", out of context from the Captain Ersatz version, but in the style of the real song. Of course, that line is not an official part of the song, so there's no copyright violation.
  • The Adventures of Sam & Max: Freelance Police loved throwing in suspiciously similar versions of appropriate background music.
  • Listen to the theme song of Teen Titans, then listen to Johnny Rivers' "Secret Agent Man". Tell me they don't sound similar.
    • "When there's trouble you know who to call! Secret... Agent Man! Secret... Agent Man!"
  • In Drawn Together the ukulele riff that sometimes accompanies Wooldoor is an obvious pastiche of a similar one from Sponge Bob Square Pants.
    • Drawn Together had some songs like this, both on the show, and some on the DVD releases to clear royalties. One DVD example was in the episode "Dirty Pranking Number 2", with the song "This Is Our Version", a song that sounds like "(I've Had) The Time of My Life", the original song that was on the TV broadcast. Another example that occurred on the show was in the episode, "Foxy vs. The Board of Education" with the song "Board of Education", a song that sounds like "I'm Just a Bill" from School House Rock.
  • Superjail—as explicitly pointed out by the bumps on [adult swim]—could not get the rights to "Love Shack", so the Warden sings the royalty-free, lawyer-friendly, not-gonna-get-sued-for-it "Party Bar" during the episode where they build a bar in the jail.
    • The episode "Combaticus" features parodies of both "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's theme, as well as the song "Shenhua" from the video game Shenmue.
  • For The Little Rascals' Christmas Special, a 1979 animated holiday special featuring Our Gang, the producers didn't get the rights to use Leroy Shields' classic theme music, so the special's music composer wrote a suspiciously similar Version of it.
  • The Main Theme to The Amazing World of Gumball sounds a suspicious lot like "December, 1963" by The Four Seasons.
    • In "The Job", we several times hear background music that sounds like the theme from The Omen, except with the lyrics replaced with pizza toppings in dog Latin.
    • Gumball's song from "The Refund" is one to "We Are The World".
    • "The Tag" features an off-key sound alike of "Baby" by Justin Bieber played for all of one second by Gumball and Darwin to threaten Mr. Robinson, who had engaged an Escalating War with Richard.
  • A dance scene in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Jellyfish Jam" uses a techno song called "Stadium Rave A" that sounded a lot like "Get Ready For This" (A.K.A. "NBA Jam") by 2 Unlimited.
    • The Krusty Krab Training Video uses a soundalike for Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" called "Quest for the Best".
    • Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy's official Leitmotif is The Lineman, an all-too-obvious (and very fitting) similar song to the Adam West Batman theme.
    • Joked about it once: A Krusty Krab customer listened to a song and said (perhaps not exact quote) "I hated the REAL version of this song."
    • Best Day Ever takes a cue from Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline".
  • Done frequently on South Park.
    • For instance, there's one episode where the adults put on some Cher. The song on the stereo sounds a lot like Cher's "Believe."
    • When Stan's grandfather wanted Stan to understand how awful it is being old, his grandfather puts on a song that sounds a lot like Enya's "Orinoco Flow".
    • In "Cartman's Mom is a Dirty Slut", a soundalike of "My Heart Will Go On" played during Liane's flashbacks whenever someone caught her eye.
    • When Randy is incapacitated from being "served" and Stan visits him in the hospital, a tune almost identical to Eminem's "Lose Yourself" starts playing.
    • Subverted in the episode "Canada on Strike." The Star Wars Kid is shown, but instead of John Williams' Star Wars theme, it seems to be a knockoff. It's actually John Williams' Superman theme.
    • In "Christian Rock Hard", Cartman plays one song that is kinda similar to the Delfonics' "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time).
    • DVDA's "Now You're a Man" is basically "You Give Love a Bad Name" with different lyrics.
    • The Princess Kenny song from the Black Friday Trilogy sounds like a Japanese version of the Nelly and Kelly Rowland song "Dilemma".
  • Pretty much the entire soundtrack to the The Powerpuff Girls episode "Meet the Beat-Alls" is suspiciously similar versions of (you guessed it) songs by The Beatles, including "A Hard Day's Night", "Eleanor Rigby", "Across the Universe", "I Want You (She's So Heavy)", "Strawberry Fields Forever", and "The Ballad of John and Yoko".
  • The finish of "Part of That World" in The Little Mermaid ("Out of the sea/Wish I could be/Part of that world") is Ashman and Menken copying one of their own songs, "Somewhere that's Green" from Little Shop of Horrors ("Far from Skid Row/I dream we'll go/Somewhere that's green").
  • The episode "Sentries of the Lost Cosmos" from Batman Beyond is full of simulated Star Wars music.
  • The end theme for Captain Planet and the Planeteers is a suspiciously similar version of "Step By Step" by New Kids on the Block.
  • The long-awaited Daria DVD set occasionally opts for suspiciously similar versions in place of the more generic cues that comprise the majority of the music. Technically averted with Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" - MTV had apparently tried to license the original recording due to how important it was to the episode it appeared in, but Lauper no longer allows the song to be licensed and they were forced record a cover version (since Mr. DeMartino actually sings the official lyrics).
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic of all things has a not-quite version of "Yakety Sax". There have been many others, both with and without lyrics, ranging from Aaron Copeland's Rodeo to Sondheim showtunes to... "The Hokey-Pokey."
  • Sym-Bionic Titan has an interesting version of this trope in the episode "Roar of the White Dragon". When Mike Chan/White Dragon shows up at the school, we hear some music that sounds suspiciously like the song by the Teriyaki Boyz called "Tokyo Drift (Fast and the Furious)". Compare the two here and here. Fitting, but still weird.
  • In Billy And Mandy's Big Boogie Adventure, music that sounds almost like the Monkey Island theme can be heard playing during the race.
  • Animaniacs did this frequently with their numerous song parodies. For example, "Yakko's Universe" is a similar song to "The Galaxy Song".
  • The song "If You Can Dream" by the Disney Princesses is actually a suspiciously similar version of Mya's "Where the Dream Takes You." Guess which animated Disney movie that song is from!
    • Perhaps a reverse instance of Take That, anyone?
  • The song "I'm Gonna Make It" from Total Drama World Tour is a simulated version of Tom Cochrane's "Life is a Highway".
  • The Gabble Sisters' theme from The Aristocats is a simulated version of Henry Mancini's "Baby Elephant Walk."
  • Thomas the Tank Engine:
  • The song "Let Me Be Your Wings" from Don Bluth's Thumbelina is actually a simulated version of the song "A Whole New World" from Aladdin.
  • The title theme to The Mask is a suspiciously similar song to one of the songs from the movie
  • Some of the music from Monsters, Inc. are similar songs to "Sing, Sing, Sing."
  • In The Boondocks, there's a recurring tuba motif for Uncle Ruckus that sounds a lot like Jabba the Hutt's theme.
  • A weird sort of cross-media-type example with the opening to the German dub of the Ruby-Spears Mega Man cartoon, which bears some similarities to, of all things, the Cheetahmen theme from the deplorable Action 52 collection.
  • An episode of Tiny Toon Adventures featured a parody of Super Mario Bros. called Super Pluckio Bros. which played over a suspiciously similar version of the overworld theme of the original Super Mario Bros. game. Adding to this was the fact that sound effects from the actual game were actually used in the episode.
  • The music that plays during the credits for Action League NOW! is a pretty obvious take on the James Bond theme.
  • The Looney Tunes Show
    • In "To Bowl or Not to Bowl", the song "Let's Bowl" is a parody of "Far From Over" by Frank Stallone.
  • In Catscratch, there's a point in the show where a song very similar to "Zelda's Lullaby" plays...No, really.
  • Just Missed: Sonic Sat AM almost had this theme, which sounds a lot like INXS's "The One Thing."
  • The theme to The Critic was done in the style of Rhapsody in Blue.
  • The theme song of Inspector Gadget is based on Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King.
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series featured a lot of pieces and cues that are suspiciously similar to ones from Star Trek: The Original Series (most noticeable in the theme tune: TAS, TOS).
  • Superman: The Animated Series - its Awesome Music theme bears a striking resemblance to a sped-up version the Aaron Copland masterpiece "Fanfare for the Common Man" melded with bits the John Williams theme from Superman: The Movie. Given that the series was heavily influenced by the John Byrne era Superman (Clark is the real person, Superman is his disguise, and Clark sees himself as a perfectly normal person who happens to have extraordinary powers), this probably wasn't unintentional.
  • The opening theme for Sabrina's Secret Life sounds a lot like the P!nk song "Get the Party Started".
  • The main theme of Transformers Prime sounds a lot like the theme of another sci-fi epic.
  • From the 1939 animated film of Gulliver's Travels; the song "It's A Hap-Hap-Happy Day" is extremely similar in melody to the Snow White song "Whistle While You Work." Compare them both; Hap Hap Happy Day and Whistle While You Work.
  • "Laughing Place" from Song of the South and Splash Mountain is similar to the minstrel folk song "Jimmy Crack Corn (Blue Tail Fly)".
  • In the Motorcity episode "Off the Rack" when Julie is sneaking around KaneCo, the music playing in the background is similar to the theme from Mission: Impossible. Notably Julie dives and hangs from the ceiling in a similar fassion.
  • Some folks on YouTube noticed the similarity between The Smurfs theme song and the scatting melody of the J. Geils Band's "Centerfold", both of which came out in 1981.
    • The episode "Smurfing For Ghosts" uses a tune that sounds very similar to Ray Parker Jr.'s "Ghostbusters", while the cartoon special "The Smurfic Games" uses one that's similar to Vangelis' Chariots of Fire theme tune.
  • The theme song to the 2012 Littlest Pet Shop sounds similar to Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)".
  • A tune that played during action scenes in She-Ra: Princess of Power contains a 7-note segment that sounds like the theme to Popeye.
  • The theme to The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries sounds very suspiciously similar to Michael Jackson's "Thriller".
  • The "This is It!" theme from The Bugs Bunny Show and other television broadcasts of the Looney Tunes shorts sounds similar to the first theme tune from The Flintstones.
  • There's a background song on Rugrats that sounds a lot like Colonel Bogey March.
  • The theme to Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures is performed a cappella in a manner silimar to the original Mighty Mouse Playhouse theme, only duplicating the note structure of the line "Here I come to save the day."
  • In the Ben 10: Omniverse episode "Jolt from the Past", when Ben challenges Rook to find him some opportunities for heroics, the resulting On Patrol Montage is to a tune that sounds a lot like the intro to "Holding Out For A Hero" by Bonnie Tyler.
  • Largely averted by Regular Show, where the creators typically manage to secure song clearances. In one such notable exception, a soundalike of "Subdivisions" by Rush plays while Mordecai, Rigby and Skips are on a car trip.
  • The chorus of the theme song to Lilo & Stitch: The Series, "Aloha E Komo Mai", sounds similar to the one of the Mardi Gras song "Iko Iko", except it is a bit sped up and is at a higher pitch.
  • A rare example of this used with a song in a show itself-the beginning of the song "I'm Skating" from Magic Adventures Of Mumfie sounds like a slowed and pitched down version of "The Beginning of Things"!
  • The theme to X-Men sounds like Whitney Houston's "I'm Your Baby Tonight".
  • The theme to Silverhawks sounds like "The Edge of a Dream" by Steven McClintock. Both even have an awesome-sounding guitar solo.
  • There's some debate as to whether "Let It Go" from Disney's Frozen is most similar to "Defying Gravity" or "No Good Deed", both from Wicked (also starring Idina Menzel, who was the original Elphaba).
  • The CBeebies cartoon Boj has its theme based on, of all things, C.W. Mc Call's Convoy.

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