The chorus vocal melody and chord progression for Hozier's Take Me To Church (released September 16, 2013) are similar to the chorus vocal melody and chord progression for Joe Cocker's signature 1974 hit You Are So Beautiful (written by Billy Preston, Bruce Fisher, and an uncredited Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys). Compare the lines TMTC: "I'll worship like a dog at the shrine of your life," and YASB: "You're everything I've hoped for." Since C# major 7 contains an F minor chord, the C#M-C7 chord progression in You Are So Beautiful's chorus is essentially the same as Take Me To Church's Emin-B7, only a half-step higher (i.e. Fmin-C7). Take Me To Church's descending chromatic guitar riff is also identical to one found in Pink Floyd's Have a Cigar.
Take Me To Church (1:00) VS You Are So Beautiful (:52)
Irish recording artist Hozier's single Take Me to Church (released September 16, 2013) is reminiscent of seminal British rockers Pink Floyd's Have a Cigar (released November 15 1975). Both songs are in the key of Eminor, and feature somewhat similar progressions (TMtC: i-iv-i-iv-III-iv-i; HaC: i-VI-VII-i)--Have a Cigar uses C major rather than TMtC's relative A minor. However, there is no mistaking TMtC's descending chromatic guitar riff starting on the G note: G-F#-F#-F-E, as being a direct copy of David Gilmour's original from Have a Cigar. Gilmour's riff is also imitated in Coldplay's Violet Hill (released May 9, 2008), though it has been shifted a half step lower (i.e. starting on the F# note). The chorus vocal melody/progression for Take Me to Church is also similar to the chorus vocal melody/progression for Joe Cocker's You Are So Beautiful.
Meghan Trainor's All About That Bass (released June 2, 2014) uses a similar chord progression to 4 Non Blondes' '90s hit What's Up (released June 23, 1993). While both songs are in A major, AATB follows a I-ii-V-I (1-minor 2-5-1), while What's Up follows a I-ii-IV-I (1-minor 2-4-1) progression. Madonna's Take A Bow and Bobby McFerrin's Don't Worry Be Happy also have similar progressions. Melodically, All About That Bass' spoken-sung verse vocals are reminiscent of the spoken-sung verse vocals to Robin Thicke's controversial Blurred Lines (released March 26, 2013).
The verse vocal melody to Taylor Swift's Shake It Off (released August 18, 2014) is reminiscent of the chorus vocal melody to Jennifer Lopez's Love Don't Cost a Thing (released January 8, 2001). Shake It Off's verse vocal melody also bears some resemblance to the vocal verse melodies to CSN's Helplessly Hoping (released May 29, 1969) and the Beatles' Don't Let Me Down (released April 11, 1969), while SIO's rhythm and horn arrangements echo those found in Pharrell Williams' Happy (released June 18, 2013), David Bowie's Modern Love (2:37), and Billy Joel's Keeping The Faith (1:17).
Shake It Off (:05) VS Love Don't Cost A Thing (:45)
The chorus vocal melody to American country duo Sugarland's song All I Want to Do (released May 19, 2008) strongly resembles the verse vocal melody to the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main St. classic Tumbling Dice (released April 4, 1972). Compare the melody for the lines "[All I want to] do ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh" with TD's "Women think I'm tasty, but they're always tryin' to waste me/And make me burn the candle right down." Mick and Keith's song also seems to have inspired the chorus to Tony! Toni! Tone!'s June 1, 1993 single If I Had No Loot (1:03): "You ca-all me your friend, but you only want my gifts/And I'll never see you if I had no loot". Finally, the Eagles echoed Tumbling Dice's end guitar riff (around the line "You've got to roll me") for the post-guitar-solo breakdown to Life in the Fast Lane (2:38) (released May 3, 1977).
All I Want to Do (:34) VS Tumbling Dice (:11)
If I Had No Loot (1:03) VS Tumbling Dice (:11)
Life In The Fast Lane (2:38) VS Tumbling Dice (2:39)
The pre-chorus to Meghan Trainor's self-acceptance chart-topper All About That Bass (released June 2, 2014) echoes melodies and chord progressions found in several earlier songs including Snowbird by Anne Murray (whose version was released in June 1970, the song was also recorded by Elvis Presley and Bing Crosby), Please Mister Please (released 1975) by Olivia Newton John, Contact (released August 26, 1992) by Phish, and Happy Mode (released 2006) by South Korean artists Koyote. All of the aforementioned songs follow some variation of a I-IM7-ii-V7-IM7 chord progression (the classic ii-V-I turnaround can be found in almost every genre of music), and they also all contain descending diatonic melodies that begin on the root note. AATB, Snowbird, and Koyote are all in A major, while Contact is in C major and Please Mister Please is in F major. Compare lines from AATB "Yeah my momma she told me 'Don't worry about your size/She says 'Boys like a little more booty to hold at night'," with Snowbird's "Beneath it's snowy mantle cold and clean/The unborn grass lies waiting for it's coat to turn to green," and Please Mister Please's "In the corner of the bar there stands a jukebox/With the best of country music old and new."
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.