6 “Not so famous” unintentional acts of Plagiarism by popular bands

Before I begin, I’d like to say that this is my first article on Medium, and I've enjoyed reading a lot of the other articles on this website.

So, I'm going to start off with a topic that I'm really comfortable with : Rock and Heavy metal music. It’s become increasingly hard for a band/artist to lend their own touch of uniqueness and originality. With multiple formulaic approaches to song-writing, and marketing strategies playing a larger role than ever before, song-writing is slowly but surely losing it’s status as a criteria in being successful in the business.

And this is where factors like lazy song writing, focusing on hooks and repetition contribute to plagiarism in the industry. Some of it is unintentional, and the rest are defended terribly by plagiarists. Here are 6 unintentional acts that I've come across in my own music collection. A video clip comparing the similarities is also included.

6. Papa Roach = Keane with Guitars?

Keane is a moderately popular British alternative band that has had its fair share of international fame with their debut album spawning a single called “Everybody’s Changing” that made it to the The Sun’s “Top 100 songs of all time”. Living in a “broken home” however, is Papa Roach, one of the many bands that had to abandon the short-lived ‘nu-metal’ tag of the 2000s, and are more famous for influencing teenage brats to cut their lives into pieces in their signature track, “Last Resort”. In their 2009 album, Metamorphosis, the band realizes that the aforementioned life-cutting is insane, and decide to look for a “Lifeline”, while borrowing the intro from the Keane song.


5. Gotye is somebody that Red used to know

For those of you who don’t (choose to) listen to Pop music, the name Gotye is synonymous with the song “Somebody I Used to Know” , a song made more popular by Canadian outfit “Walk off the Earth”, when all 5 of their members covered the song by crowding themselves around a single acoustic guitar.

Far away on the other side of the meadow, Red is a Christian rock-band that follows the same formula that their peers in Skillet have followed, structuring their albums and their songs in a radio friendly genre, with occasional harsh vocals here and there. With a good enough fan base, you’d expect them to churn out something fresh with every release, but for the sake of including a terrible pun, let this clip be a message to the band titled “Gotye!”


4. Switchfoot loved Savage Garden back in the day.

Remember Savage Garden? They were one of those pop-rock duos that embraced the mainstream coverage by MTV and others in the late 90’s. With their own catalogue of love ballads and not so metaphorical lyrics, they released songs like “Two Beds and a Coffee Machine” and “Truly Madly Deeply”, and while they aren't all that bad, you’d hope that they could've named their songs better.

Switchfoot are yet another alternative-punk rock band that made it to the big leagues with their anthems, but like all other bands in their genre, they are slowly fading into obscurity (thanks to their international fan base however, they’re one of the top 25 in Kerrang’s list of biggest bands in the world right now). And so when I chanced upon their latest compilation album, I find the track “Meant to Live” reminding me of the insatiable Darren Hayes.


3. Brand New Stars

The old saying “What goes around comes around” goes hand in hand with Switchfoot’s career. Female-fronted Fireflight are another avatar of Skillet in the same genre, with male-female vocal interplays playing a key role in some of their music. A song from their 2008 disc “Unbreakable”, titled “Brand New Day” not only robs the signature lyrics of Chris Daughtry’s first ballad “Home”, but also borrows some of Switchfoot’s harmonies from their song “Stars”.


2. Billie Joe – Adams?

As long as you have not lived under a rock, you might have heard about one of the biggest albums of 2004, Green Day’s “American Idiot”. Notable track “Jesus of Suburbia” is an instant crowd pleaser, and proof lies in all of their concert videos you could watch on YouTube. Unfortunately, while listening to it, you can’t help but make the connection to Bryan Adams’ biggest single, “Summer of ‘69”.

For a band that continually plagiarizes itself, this is a breath of fresh air.


1. Linkin Park has an ear for the tiniest detail

Any sane friend of mine would be surprised to see me list my top favourite band at the top of this list. Regardless, this comes from one of their most critically acclaimed and popularly despised album titled “A Thousand Suns” (influenced by a quote from the Bhagavad Gita). The lead single from the album “The Catalyst” is the one that shares the honor of being on the top of this list. The main keyboard-harmony of this track borrows from the background harmonies of a song titled “Bleeding Me”, by heavy metal legends Metallica.


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