Talent Imitates, Genius Steals

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Every so often I get very strange cravings for music – I’ll suddenly feel the need to download tracks by artists I haven’t listened to for years, or groups that most people would never admit to liking. Like the time I suddenly decided that I needed more 80s blue-eyed soul in my life and went on a download spree that took in Hue & Cry, Deacon Blue & Curiosity Killed The Cat. More recently I suddenly got an urge to listen to soft, accoustic rock and ended up buying tracks by Travis, the band that should have been bigger than Coldplay, and 70s cheese-meisters Bread.

Because I was listening to both of these bands at the same time I noticed something that had occurred to me years ago but which I’d forgotten: namely that if Travis weren’t listening to Bread’s Look What You’ve Done To Me when they wrote Flowers In The Window, then my name’s Chris Martin. You can see the Travis video above whilst the Bread song is below.

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They both have the same gentle guitar refrain, and you could pretty easily sing the lyrics to Flowers In The Window over the music of Look What You’ve Done To Me and vice versa. Admittedly Bread’s tracks is slightly slower, at least until it goes (by Bread’s standards) a bit rocky towards the end, but other than that the resemblance is amazing. I don’t blame Travis for taking this ‘inspiration’ (which may well have been unwitting) – it certainly puts them in good company.

Noel Gallagher has made a career out of recycling other people’s music, only being caught out when Stevie Wonder demanded a credit on Step Out due to the blatant pilfering of his song Uptight (the legal wranglings that accomapnied this demand were the reasons that the track wasn’t included on Morning Glory, instead being released as the b-side of Don’t Look Back In Anger). Noel probably took his inspiration for creative borrowing from Paul Weller who liked The Beatles so much he lifted the riff from Taxman for The Jam’s early single Start.

And whatever you think of the way that these artists use other’s work as a basis for their own (personally I don’t have a problem with it as long as they add something to it: it’s like sampling) at least they never stooped as low as walking cliche Bobby Gillespie who has raped the Rolling Stones’ back-catalogue so thoroughly that he’s been forced to nicking tunes from The Bluebells.

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2 comments

  1. Raechel

    I know this blog is really old, but I was just listening to Bread myself and thought the resemblance between ‘Look what you’ve done to me’ and ‘Flowers in the Window’ is uncanny, I had to Google it to see if anyone else had thought this, and I was very pleased I was not the only one (no other search results came up other than this).
    Good work on having a great musical ear! I hope you still man this blog to hear my praise haha!
    Raechel

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