The verse to Justin Bieber's hit Love Yourself (released November 9, 2015, and co-penned by Ed Sheeran and Benjamin Levin) uses a variation on a standard blues/ragtime chord progression first popularized by Bessie Smith in Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out (released September 13, 1929), versions of which have been recorded by Eric Clapton, The Allman Brothers, Janis Joplin et al.
Love Yourself (:10) VS Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out (:11)
E, B/D#, C#min (I-V-vi)
F# min, E, B/D# (ii-I-V)
Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out
C, E7, A7 (I-III7-VI7)
D min, A7, D min (ii-VI7-ii)
Singer-songwriter Dan Fogelberg's hit Heart Hotels (released 1980) seems to borrow it's verse vocal melody and piano intro/arrangement from America's hit Daisy Jane (released July, 1975). Oh, and Daisy Jane was from America's album Hearts.
The groove, and chorus vocal melody to Don Henley's hit All She Wants to Do is Dance (released February 1985, and penned by Danny Kortchmar) is reminiscent of Eruption's disco version of I Can't Stand The Rain (released January 23, 1978).
All She Wants to Do is Dance (1:24) VS I Can't Stand The Rain (:53)
The intro/chorus piano melody to Flo Rida's My House (released October 15, 2015) owes a musical debt to the intro/bass melody to the Four Tops chestnut It's the Same Old Song (released July 9, 1965), while My House's chord changes are similar to those found in Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions' People Get Ready (also released in 1965). Allegedly, writer Lamont Dozier created Same Old Song's progression by reversing the changes to his preceding Tops' hit, I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch).
Part of the verse vocal melody to Sam Smith's 2016 Golden Globe-winning song Writing's on the Wall (released September 25, 2015), which served as the theme to the James Bond film Spectre, is similar to the verse vocal melody to Canadian singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes' top-ten hit Stitches (released May 5, 2015). Compare the melodies for the lines for WotW's "I've been here before," with Stitches' "[I thought that] I've been hurt before." Whereas WotW's ascending pre-chorus vocal melody has been compared with the ascending pre-chorus vocal melodies in both Michael Jackson's Earth Song (released November 27, 1995), and One Night Only from the 1981 Broadway musical Dreamgirls. Compare the relative melodies (all harmonic minor scales, beginning on the seventh degree) for the lines from WotW ("This is something I gotta face") with those from Earth Song ("The crying Earth/The weeping shores"), and One Night Only ("You really don't have the time"). Finally, WotW's dramatic orchestral arrangment (a la original Bond composer John Barry) has been compared to Austrian drag artist Conchita Wurst's Rise Like a Phoenix (released March 18, 2014).
Writing's on the Wall (:16) VS Stitches (:29) [VERSE]
Writing's on the Wall (1:00) VS Earth Song (2:30) [PRE-CHORUS]
Writing's on the Wall (1:00) VS One Night Only (:39) [PRE-CHORUS]
As a musician and composer, I’m often struck by similarities between pop songs. If you’ve ever listened to a tune on the radio and thought to yourself, “this sounds really familiar,” or “what does this melody remind me of,” (or more bluntly, “this song is a rip-off of …”) then you have shared in the experience.