About The Use Of A LICK

By Russ:

A very brief post for music buffs – It’s not a new thing that one piece of music may have a similar sequence of notes or chords or rhythm to another. You might even be inclined to say “Oh, they must have stolen that [lick] from another song“.

A bit of one song in another?

A classic example is a recognizable Lick you may hear in these songs:

Good for you if you noticed in each case a kind of rhythmic “musical signature” that was being played in the background by a keyboard instrument! That’s all this is about. Sometimes the nasty words Plagiarism and Rip-Off my even come to mind.

Below is the audio clip of an interview with Robbie Dupree, in which he unapologetically explains how similarities in songs can arise. He makes some good points:

  1. The Doobies never tried to sue me.
  2. A “quintessential figure” (lick) is often used in a number of other songs.
  3. You don’t want to defend yourself about it because the more you protest, the more you seem suspect.
  4. “Lyrically, topically, melodically, musically” the Doobie’s song was more sophisticated. Mine was more simplistic.
  5. Influential songs can leak over into other people’s writing.

Interview with Dupree (3-minute clip)

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I think it is somewhat ironic that Robbie’s song is called “STEAL Away”.

Ten Rip-Off Songs / 15 minutes / watchmojo.com


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