The Eagles have maintained that their hit The Long Run (released November 27, 1979, and the title track of their 1979 album) is a tribute to the Stax/Memphis R&B sound. However, one listen to Otis Clay's track Trying to Live My Life Without You (released 1972) and one tends to agree with rock critic Dave Marsh's assessment from his book, The Heart of Rock & Soul:
Having done my share of railing against the idea that white rock and roll is just a rip-off of rhythm and blues, it would be foolish not to acknowledge one of the most outrageous examples in which it was. In 1979, the Eagles took "Trying to Live My Life Without You" Top Ten as a song they "wrote," "The Long Run," the title song of their final multiplatinum LP.
Similarities include: chord progression (while in different keys--TLR in C and TtLMLWY in Eb--both songs follow a I-IV-I-IV-vi-V-I pattern), bass line, drum pattern (Henley even copies the Motown snare on all fours over the pre-chorus), lyrics (TLR: "I used to hurry a lot, I used to worry a lot"; TtLMLWY: "I used to smoke five packs of cigarettes a day"), pre-chorus vocal melody, and production/arrangment (Walsh's deft slide guitar substituted for the Memphis horns, same fat snare sound).
The Long Run (:00) VS Trying To Live My Life Without You (:00)
The pre-chorus vocal melody to Maroon 5's This Summer's Gonna Hurt Like a MotherF****r (released May 15, 2015) is similar to the chorus vocal melody to Rose Royce's R&B classic Wishing on a Star (released 1978). Essentially, Maroon 5 lowered the key a half-step (from Ab to G) and reversed the chord progression (from vi-ii to ii-vi).
This Summer's Gonna Hurt (:51) VS Wishing on a Star (:22)
This Summer's Gonna Hurt
Key: G major
A minor, E minor (ii-vi)
Vocal Melody (pre-chorus relative to root):
3-1-7-6-7-1-2-3 ("I see her dancing in the streets")
1-7-6-7-1-2-3 ("Sipping champagne on the beach")
Wishing on a Star
Key: Ab major
F minor, Bb minor (vi-ii)
Vocal Melody (chorus relative to root):
3-6-7-1-2-3 ("I'm wishing on a star")
3-6-7-1-2-3-2-1 ("To find out where you are")
The pre-chorus vocal melody to Taylor Swift's Bad Blood (released May 17, 2015), which features Kendrick Lamar, echoes the chorus vocal melody to Iggy Azalea's Fancy (released February 17, 2014), which features Charli XCX. Compare the lines, Bad Blood: "It's so sad to think about the good times," with Fancy: "I'm so fancy, you already know. In addition, the bridge vocal melody to Bad Blood (2:40), starting with the line "band-aids don't fix bullet holes" is reminiscent of Swift's own We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (:54) and the lines "You go talk to your friends, talk to my friends, talk to me."
The pre-chorus vocal melody to Tori Kelly's Nobody Love (released June 23, 2015) is very similar to the chorus vocal melody to Charles & Eddie's Would I Lie To You? (released August 4, 1992). Compare the vocal lines, Nobody Love: "I should be more cynical [...]" and Would I Lie To You?: "Look into my eyes, can't you see them open wide." While Nobody Love is in the key of E major, and WILTY is in the key of G major, both melodies feature ascending diatonic eighth notes that repeat twice each step (with one exception, WILTY plays the third step only once).
Nobody Love (:29) VS Would I Lie To You? (:23)
Hit Me With Your Best Shot (Pat Benatar) - identical verse chord progression
These Words (Natasha Bedingfield) - similar verse
No One (Alicia Keys) - similar verse
One Less Problem - Ariana Grande - similar chorus, SEE Whisper Song (Yin Yang Twins)
The chorus vocal melody to Selena Gomez's The Heart Wants What it Wants (released November 6, 2014) is reminiscent of the pre-chorus vocal melody to Guns N' Roses symphonic power ballad November Rain (released February 18, 1992). Compare melodies for the lines, THWWIW: "The bed's getting cold and you're not here/The future that we hold is so unclear," with November Rain: "But lovers always come and lovers always go/And no one's really sure who's lettin' go today." Other similarities include: key (THWWIW in Bb major, and NV in B major--a half-step apart), and chord progression (THWWIW: IV-ii-vi-I; NV: IV-ii-I).
The Heart Wants What It Wants (1:21) VS November Rain (2:30)
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."
The pre-chorus vocal melody to Demi Lovato's Dance Pop single Really Don't Care (released May 20, 2014) is tonally/rhythmically similar to the intro/chorus vocal melody to Pat Benatar's 80s smash Shadows of the Night (released September 30, 1982). Compare melodies starting with the lyrics: "But even if the stars and moon collide" (RDC) VS "We're running with the shadows of the night" (SotN). Both diatonic melodies--only a half-step apart--feature a descending run followed by a single ascending note, then doubled ascending notes of the same scale (RDC in G: 1-4-3-2-1-1-2-2-3-3; and SotN in F#: 4-4-3-2-1-2-3-3-4-4).
Really Don't Care (:34) VS Shadows of the Night (:00).