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Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants
October 7, 2008 5:41 AM   Subscribe

Oasis have been accused of plagiarizing Cliff Richard. Does 'The Turning' have a certain resemblance to 'Devil Woman'? If so, it would not the first time...

Neil Innes successfully sued Oasis over lifting part of the melody from 'How Sweet To Be An Idiot' for the song 'Whatever'. And The New Seekers received half a million dollars when it was proved that the song 'Shakermaker' took its melody from 'I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing'.
posted by fearfulsymmetry (65 comments total)

 
You forgot the storm and teacup tags ;)
posted by nthdegx at 5:50 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I hope the Beatles don't hear about this, for Liam Gallagher's sake.
posted by stavrogin at 5:54 AM on October 7, 2008 [6 favorites]


Lazy songwriting, intentional or otherwise. I was amazed Oasis didn't make it into Rob Paravonian's Pachelbel rant - they used that chord sequence for "Whatever" and then managed to rip themselves off by using it again for "Don't Look Back In Anger."
posted by creeky at 6:16 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


All great artists borrow ... and Oasis too, it seems.

Ha! Awesome.

That picture in the Guardian article sums up the Gallaghers for me - scowly, self important twats with an overinflated sense of self-worth.

If they weren't such complete cocks, I'd probably acknowledge their music is half reasonable and seems to be considered catchy by quite a few people. But being as they are, I can't bring myself to do it. But, being as an awful lot of it seems to be *cough*heavily inspired by past popular hits*cough*, it's not really any wonder.
posted by Brockles at 6:17 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


They've been nothing but plagiarists for their entire career. Everything they've ever done is a retread of Revolver-era Beatles with a dash of The Smiths (especially their look and image, lifted pretty much wholesale from The Smiths on their last tour), brewed together and boiled down to its dumbest, most base elements. Their lame, jive-ass, three chord repeat-the-chorus-over-and-over crap wouldn't even be so bad if they weren't such total self-important pretentious twats. On top of making terrible music they are also terrible people. They are pretty much the worst thing to ever come out of Britain, and I'm including colonialism.
posted by DecemberBoy at 6:29 AM on October 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


Makes me hate those uni-browed dickbags even more.
posted by sharksandwich at 6:32 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


My Sweet Lord!
posted by punkfloyd at 6:35 AM on October 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


I hear it now that it is pointed out, but I don't think I'd have noticed otherwise. Maybe the Oasis song is a bit like a killed version of the Devil Woman virus: listen to it once a year and it might make you a little ill, but then you won't catch the Devil Woman earworm.
posted by pracowity at 6:36 AM on October 7, 2008


Just another step on the path to Peak Melody, as Mandal linked yesterday.
posted by echo target at 6:36 AM on October 7, 2008


Okay, so Oasis lifted the first half of the verse, which they repeat what, 32 times? (I skipped around a bit.) I don't want to excuse them for this--they are, as everyone has noted, insufferable as people, and the rest of the song is sort of shit--but it's not as if they lifted the entire song, or even its defining moments (as with Shakermaker).

Plus, She's Electric is one of the greatest songs of all time. Ever. Period.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:39 AM on October 7, 2008


Wait, Oasis is still around? huh.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 6:43 AM on October 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Vaguely similar, I suppose, but nothing compared to the New Seekers steal.

If they weren't such complete cocks

I don't know why I'm defending him (can't stand his music), but Noel Gallagher as always struck me as far from being a complete cock - in every interview with him I've seen, he comes across as very funny, clever, scathing about his halfwit brother, and perfectly happy to admit to writing unoriginal but popular tunes. Admittedly, he also thinks Oasis are brilliant, which is a bit silly, but it is his band, after all.
posted by jack_mo at 6:47 AM on October 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


I actually like Oasis, well their first two albums at least. But, yeah, is that because they are just 'channeling' the good that has come before?

Oh and Liam, wearing John Lennon glasses does not actually make you John Lennon...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:48 AM on October 7, 2008


Metafilter: scowly, self important twats with an overinflated sense of self-worth
posted by Krrrlson at 7:19 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Further inevitable plundering of The Beatles:
At least he can console himself that he's never going to get sued under the Trade Descriptions Act: Oasis's seventh album arrives bearing Helter Skelter drum fills, a sample from John Lennon's final radio interview, a coda to The Turning stolen from Dear Prudence and lyrical references to Lennon's Gimme Some Truth and Ian MacDonald's Fabs book Revolution in the Head.
posted by ninebelow at 7:32 AM on October 7, 2008


I love that Cliff Richard is virtually unknown in the US. If only I could say the same for Oasis.
posted by Eideteker at 7:39 AM on October 7, 2008


they used that chord sequence for "Whatever" and then managed to rip themselves off by using it again for "Don't Look Back In Anger."

Half of all pop music uses the same 3 chord sequences.
posted by Tlogmer at 7:45 AM on October 7, 2008


It was the early 90s, the wall was down, it seemed like the threat of nuclear destruction had faded. Things were feeling a bit safe.

You can't really blame anyone. Back then we just needed to, you know, have a glass of champage supernova, spend the night with a bit of rough, get it out of our system. It was only for the night; the lack of wit, charm, original conversation – none of that seemed to matter at the time. Truth to tell, with the e-hangover and everything, we didn't even notice the repetive gibberish they were talking.

We never considered that they'd think differently about it, that they'd want something more, wouldn't just slip away early the next morning. We never thought they'd actually believe all that stuff we'd said the night before.

We tried ignoring them for a while – well, years actually – but they wouldn't take the hint. We'd moved on, made new friends, found more interesting people to hang out with. Yet still, there they were. Occasionally, out of sympathy, we'd let them stay on the sofa for the night and they'd tell us the same old stories over and over again.



One day we're just going to have to move and not tell them we're going.
posted by mandal at 7:48 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Plus, She's Electric is one of the greatest songs of all time. Ever. Period.

Man, I heard that song in a store the other day and had to run out covering my face from giggling so much at the shitty lyrics. Poppy tune, sure. Earworm, sure. But man, I just could never bring myself to sing along to it.

At least there was no lyric about going to find a rainbow, since there's nothing to do.
posted by piratebowling at 8:03 AM on October 7, 2008


So my favorite band sucks and steals. Still like 'em.
posted by stargell at 8:18 AM on October 7, 2008


Poppy tune, sure. Earworm, sure. But man, I just could never bring myself to sing along to it.

Yeah, I'm startlingly easy to please, lyric-wise. But you can't say that, "she's got one in the oven, but it's nothing to do with me" isn't a little satisfying.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:21 AM on October 7, 2008


I was living in backwater Japan in the mid-90s, pre-Internet. The local "international center" received English newspapers, but from the previous day. Although I could buy a copy of NME, I could buy any of the music that was in it. I was effectively cut off from Western pop culture, but I could listen to Oasis. I knew it was wrong at the time; it was kind of like drinking a six-pack of Coke a day. It felt good, but left me nauseous.

I was re-listening to Oasis the other day, and the songs really (and even as I write this post) triggered memories. It's disconcerting when Noel Gallagher's ridiculous doggerel evokes memories of gigantic cypress trees in front of a Zen monastery, or Japanese fishing boats in a north coast harbour.

And: it should NOT be a news flash (or an FPP) that these jokers plagiarize from bona fide artists.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:37 AM on October 7, 2008


Plagiarism aside, Cliff Richard has some MAJOR male cameltoe in that video. I really wish I could unsee that right now.
posted by deadmessenger at 8:38 AM on October 7, 2008


meh, I listened to both and, as much as I don't like Oasis, I don't hear really the ripoff...

I've heard much more blatant ripoffs than this one...

...by Oasis
posted by weezy at 8:42 AM on October 7, 2008


I wouldn't even know who Cliff Richard was if it weren't for The Young Ones.

As far as Oasis sucking, yes. Agreed. Noel Gallagher's not so awful on his own, though.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:57 AM on October 7, 2008


The first thirty seconds are a complete "Devil Woman" rip-off. I like "Devil Woman" and I don't like Oasis. These prats are going to get taken to the cleaners again.

Ode to Cliff (Richard)
Cliff, Cliff
Sometimes its as if
You really are a cliff
And fascists keep trying to
Push you over it!

posted by porn in the woods at 8:59 AM on October 7, 2008


Plagiarism aside, Cliff Richard has some MAJOR male cameltoe in that video. I really wish I could unsee that right now.

Don't worry, most likely it's his colostomy bag.

You're welcome.
posted by mandal at 9:08 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Don't listen hip hop- your head will explode.
posted by Zambrano at 9:12 AM on October 7, 2008


Hey, who wants to watch that video of Noel Gallagher being shoved offstage again? I know I do!
posted by Cantdosleepy at 9:17 AM on October 7, 2008


Cliff Richard didn't write Devil Woman - it was written by Terry Britten and Christine Holmes, so they are the ones possibly being plagiarized.
posted by w0mbat at 9:38 AM on October 7, 2008


In defense of Oasis (whose first album was brilliant, whose second album was too popular for anyone's good, whose subsequent efforts I have no opinion on because I haven't heard them):

- if you don't like their attitude, you don't get the class divide in Britain; they come from the wrong side of the tracks of a downtrodden no-hope industrial city (Manchester) and as such had earned their bad attitude long before the world ever heard music

- at their best, they get pop music in a way that 99.9 percent of bands never will; as Pop Will Eat Itself proudly proclaimed, "Pop is stealing"

- the original version of Shakermaker (released on the first pressing of the first album then quickly "fixed") actually included the full chorus of "I'd like to teach the world to sing" (and that's also how they performed it live on their first tours); they were in no way trying to fool anybody with it, just delivering the goods ...
posted by philip-random at 9:58 AM on October 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


Hey, who wants to watch that video of Noel Gallagher being shoved offstage again? I know I do!

Thank you for this. If you want my vision of the future, imagine Noel Gallagher being pushed offstage - forever.
posted by Dr-Baa at 10:18 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Oasis semi-hit "Cigarettes and Alcohol" contains an almost note for note rip off of the main riff of T.Rex's "Get it on (Bang a gong)".
posted by dobie at 10:20 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you want my vision of the future, imagine Noel Gallagher being pushed offstage - forever.

Agreed. Oasis must go down the stairs.
posted by rokusan at 10:32 AM on October 7, 2008


Ruttles more like.
posted by Artw at 10:39 AM on October 7, 2008


if you don't like their attitude, you don't get the class divide in Britain

I call bullshit on that one. Complete bullshit, in fact. Their attitude sucks because they are cocks. It is not an inevitable result of living in a place like Manchester, and no upbringing explains or excuses how far they have their heads up their own arses.
posted by Brockles at 10:45 AM on October 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Plenty of musicians from Manchester that aren’t cocks.

To pick a random counter example the more I find out about Ian Curtis the more I think he probably WAS a bit of a cock, though I still fucking love that band. Somehow the Gallagher cock-ness is all pervasive and affects the listening experience too.
posted by Artw at 10:49 AM on October 7, 2008


as Pop Will Eat Itself proudly proclaimed, "Pop is stealing"

Also, if you do a nice arrangement of something a bit classical it will me used in movie trailers FOREVER.
posted by Artw at 10:50 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


>>All great artists borrow ... and Oasis too, it seems.

They aren't great artists.
posted by SaintCynr at 11:04 AM on October 7, 2008


Er, yes. That is precisely what that sentence says...
posted by Brockles at 11:07 AM on October 7, 2008


>>All great artists borrow ... and Oasis too, it seems.

They aren't great artists.

You didn't see what he did there.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:09 AM on October 7, 2008


And: it should NOT be a news flash (or an FPP) that these jokers plagiarize from bona fide artists.

LOL Cliff Richard as a bona fide artist.
posted by dydecker at 11:13 AM on October 7, 2008


The best thing about Cliff Richard is this David Hockney painting, which was inspired by a headline in a newspaper that read 'Two boys cling to cliff all night' that he read back in 1961 when Cliff was at the height of his homoerotic power.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:16 AM on October 7, 2008


LOL Cliff Richard as a bona fide artist.

He's the British Elvis!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:23 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


i'm surprised at all the heavy oasis bashing... I like them - besides, it's just rock and rolll
posted by mrmarley at 11:26 AM on October 7, 2008


He's the British Elvis!

Ha! At least the Welsh Elvis is known internationally.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:29 AM on October 7, 2008


Brockles calls them "cocks" and Decemberboy says they're "twats."

All that's left is to tell them to go fuck themselves.
posted by papercake at 12:20 PM on October 7, 2008


Well, that's not fair. The Welsh Elvis has some serious pipes.
posted by rokusan at 12:21 PM on October 7, 2008


Brockles calls them "cocks" and Decemberboy says they're "twats."

All that's left is to tell them to go fuck themselves.


It’s like you just discovered swearing or something. However, yes, they definitely are wankers.
posted by Artw at 12:29 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Brockles calls them "cocks" and Decemberboy says they're "twats."

You got your cock in my twat! You got your twat on my cock!

Hey! They taste great together!

New Cock/Twat CupsTM from Reese's.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:42 PM on October 7, 2008


That was brilliant! Shame about Cliff Richard.
posted by BeerFilter at 12:42 PM on October 7, 2008


This is going to blow your mind, but in the context they’re practically synonyms.

Also I’d go beyond that and say that Liam Gallagher is a right mouthy cunt.
posted by Artw at 12:54 PM on October 7, 2008


While there has not been a lawsuit, Andrew Lloyd Webber has been accused of ripping off Pink Floyd for Phantom of the Opera. Here's a video comparing the notes in question.
posted by schlaager at 12:57 PM on October 7, 2008


Artw: my mind, she is blown.

You, sir, are the dogs bollocks.
posted by papercake at 1:19 PM on October 7, 2008


if you don't like their attitude, you don't get the class divide in Britain; they come from the wrong side of the tracks of a downtrodden no-hope industrial city (Manchester) and as such had earned their bad attitude long before the world ever heard music

Bullshit. So did Joy Division/New Order, The Smiths/Morrissey and his band, The Fall, Stone Roses, James, and every other great band to come out of Manchester, and none of them are complete insufferable dicks save Happy Mondays. They are assholes because they are assholes. Not everything can be blamed on class.
posted by DecemberBoy at 2:02 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


To pick a random counter example the more I find out about Ian Curtis the more I think he probably WAS a bit of a cock

Yeah, maybe a bit, but you try having a crippling disease and pretty much knowing for sure you're going to die young for about half your life and being all chipper and how-d'ya-do. For one thing, he was really terrible to his wife Deborah.
posted by DecemberBoy at 2:11 PM on October 7, 2008


Well, Ian brown does have that whole threatening-to-chop-peoples-hands-off thing going on. That's a bit cockish.
posted by Artw at 2:14 PM on October 7, 2008


For one thing, he was really terrible to his wife Deborah.

Just a tad.
posted by Artw at 2:19 PM on October 7, 2008


For one thing, he was really terrible to his wife Deborah.

Although I should note that they were much like John and Cynthia Lennon in that he married her very young, didn't really love her, and had an unplanned child with her and was thus stuck. He never hit her like John did, though. Although none of that gives him the excuse to cheat on her with a Belgian scenester and then kill himself and leave her to find the body.

Their daughter is my age. She's a photographer and stays pretty low-key, although she hung around the set a lot during the filming of Control. I've always wanted to meet her, but she probably doesn't want to meet strange Joy Division fans.
posted by DecemberBoy at 2:25 PM on October 7, 2008


It probably doesn’t help my opinion of him that I was reading about all this just after the birth of my daughter. Still, if you’re going to be an utter shit to loved ones and yourself for the sake of art it at least helps that it was good at.

(From wikipedia: Wilson later said, "I'd been warned on a train to London two weeks earlier by Annik [Honoré, Curtis' lover]. I asked her, 'What do you think of the new album.' She goes, 'I'm terrified.' I said, 'What are you terrified of?' She replies, 'Don't you understand? He means it.' And I go, 'No, he doesn't mean it - it's art.' And guess what? He fucking meant it.")

The Galaghers, on the other hand aren’t really being cocks for the art of it, their just being cocks because their coked up monkey brained fools with vast egos and a bit of talent and success. It’s a little harder to reconcile.
posted by Artw at 2:46 PM on October 7, 2008


The Galaghers, on the other hand aren’t really being cocks for the art of it, their just being cocks because their coked up monkey brained fools with vast egos

Plus it sells records.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:06 PM on October 7, 2008


I love Oasis and I'm not afraid to say so. And while Liam and Noel can both be giant cocks, they are also both often amazingly funny, especially Noel, who can be incredibly witty and amusing. He has done some of the funniest interviews I've ever seen/read.

Vast egos? Yeah, they've got those. But I think Noel is one of the best writers of pop songs around, and I don't care who doesn't agree with me.

I also have a soft spot in my heart for Bono, though, so feel free to be dismissive of my opinion.
posted by OolooKitty at 3:06 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


i'm surprised at all the heavy oasis bashing...

I don't read music magazines or spend a lot of time hanging out in the kind of second-hand record stores frequented by the people who do, so I generally have little or no idea who's hot and who's not, beyond what I may hear on the radio or see on TV.

The first time I encountered Oasis was watching a music show on TV; I turned to my flatmate of the time and asked, "Why the fuck are a bunch of Beatles cover artists in the charts?" I honestly wasn't trying to be a smart-arse or anything; I'd just watched "Roll With It" and, not being terribly familiar with the finer points of the early Beatles, I assumed they were covering them, or such a close rip-off as to be practically the same thing.

When I did catch up with some NME-reading friends I was stunned to discover Oasis were being hailed as the saviours of Britpop, kings of gritty Manchester autenticity and so on. They had huge, huge hype. That, combined with the fact one of the Gallagher brothers it such a dislikable, mouthy individual who delights in trash-talking other artists, leaves me completely unsurprised that many people react so very negatively to them.
posted by rodgerd at 3:31 PM on October 7, 2008


Maybe that's why I like them. There was never nearly the same Oasis hype here in the States, and honestly I couldn't care less about the personalities of the band members. They make big, guitar-heavy hook-laden songs. And they sound like the Beatles; since when is that a bad thing?
posted by stargell at 7:28 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've never owned an Oasis album, but I've always found them (esp. Noel) to be a very fascinating group of guys. Massive success (Wonderwall was #1 in 32 countries), classic rags to riches story, and a sound and style that works for them.

In the 15 years they've been around, there has been an enourmous amount of crap music trends: boy bands, nu-metal, faux punk, emo, various Idols, Spice Girl descendants, rockin' country, crunk, etc. etc. etc. And yet I'm sure the new album fits right into their catalogue as well as the first one. That's not necessarily a good thing, depending on your perspective, but for me it is an oddly comforting thing.

The recent issue of Uncut has an excellent article on Oasis by Alan McGee (of Creation Records). Great read.
posted by Paid In Full at 12:50 PM on October 8, 2008


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