You should never ignore how hard it is to find a song. Besides being able to play your instruments properly, rock bands can try to make the magic happen all day and come away with no finished song no matter how hard they try. It is therefore logical that we find them a little too immersed in their inspirations.
At all levels of rock music, everyone is influenced by what came before it and has no intention of hiding it. Whether it’s just the opening lines or copying an entire piece of a song, these artists aren’t even subtle at recontextualizing their record collection. There is nothing wrong with that though, is there?
Rock has always been about passing the legacy on to the next generation, so why would it be any different? Arguably that is not the case, but it changes things when the courts intervene. In the most egregious cases, artists have been pursued by their inspiration and had to empty their pockets to give credit where it was due in the first place. While it’s always fair to wear your influences on your sleeve, you might want to look over your shoulder to make sure no one is trying to steal them either.
By the end of the 90s, we had gotten quite used to sampling in music. I mean, when you have a record like Paul’s Boutique that becomes one of the biggest music records, you know there is a way to make the samples original. The Verve might have had the right idea with Bittersweet Symphony … it’s just a shame the top ranks haven’t thought about it.
Although most of the song is attributed to Richard Ashcroft, the lawyers came to call when they found out where the orchestral backing track was coming from. Once it reached the top of the charts, the managers behind the Rolling Stones claimed they had “stolen” the strings from the Stones’ orchestral arrangement of their song The Last Time. Yes, you heard right. They wanted to sue them based on a cover of a rock and roll song.
Apparently these lawyers had the tongue of silver, with most of the publishing rights going to Stone’s estate. Maybe that’s what made Verve a hit in the US, with millions of people blasting the song up everywhere they went. Even though The Verve has become one of the defining acts of the Britpop era, it must sting that you have to pay your idols every time you play your biggest hit.