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All Posts Tagged Production/Arrangment

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Lady Madonna (The Beatles) | Sounds Like | Bad Penny Blues (Humphrey Lyttelton And His Band)

Lady Madonna by The Beatles Bad Penny Blues by Humphrey Lyttelton And His Band

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The Beatles' Lady Madonna (released March 15, 1968) was "inspired" by Humphrey Lyttelton's trad jazz hit Bad Penny Blues (released 1956). Per Wikipedia:

According to musicologist Walter Everett, "Lady Madonna" is a raucous rock and roll song. Paul McCartney based his piano part for the song on Humphrey Lyttelton's 1956 trad jazz rendition of "Bad Penny Blues" which had been recorded by George Martin in the 1950s. According to Ringo Starr in Recording the Beatles, "We asked George how they got the sound on Bad Penny Blues." McCartney said of writing the song in a 1994 interview, "'Lady Madonna' was me sitting down at the piano trying to write a bluesy boogie-woogie thing ... It reminded me of Fats Domino for some reason, so I started singing a Fats Domino impression. It took my other voice to a very odd place." Domino himself covered the song later in 1968. The Fats Domino hit "Blue Monday" from 1956 tracks the feelings of a hard working man over each day of the week. "Lady Madonna" imagines the situation from a woman's perspective.

Lady Madonna (:00) VS Bad Penny Blues (:00)



Love Me (The 1975) | Sounds Like | Fame (David Bowie)

Love Me by The 1975 Fame by David Bowie

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While British rock band The 1975 seems to be taking a nostalgic turn with their sophomore album, their lead single "Love Me", though brand new, sounds like something we've heard before. Right from the start, the opening riff and music are nearly identical to David Bowie's celebrated hit "Fame". And though it's possible (undeniable, really) that the indie band was attempting to channel the glam rock legend, the entire arrangement is just too "poppy" (and pink!) from what we're used to hearing. I mean, come on, it's like "Fame" debuted in 1975 and then was re-released forty years later by The 1975!



Hotline Bling (Drake) | Sounds Like | The Hills (The Weeknd)

Hotline Bling by Drake The Hills by The Weeknd

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Canadian rapper Drake's song Hotline Bling (released July 31, 2015) is reminiscent of the Weeknd's The Hills (released May 27, 2015). While keys are a half-step apart (HB: F; TH: Eb), similarities include vocal melodies with the same rhythmic scansion (compare the rhythm of HB's verse melody to TH's chorus melody), lyrics (HB: "You used to call me on my cell phone" VS TH: "I only call you when it's half-past five"), and drum track (especially the hi-hat patterns). [Thanks to AJ Halliwell for suggesting this one!]

Hotline Bling (:32) VS The Hills (:42)

Hotline Bling
Key: F/Dmin
Verse Chord Progression:
Dmin, Amin (vi, iii)
Verse Vocal Melody:
6-6-5-1-7-6-5-7-5 ("You used to call me on my cell phone")

The Hills
Key: Eb/Cmin
Chorus Chord Progression:
Cmin, Ab, Fmin, Ab (vi-IV-ii-IV)
Verse Vocal Melody:
3-3-3-5-3-1-1-2-6 ("I only call you when it's half-past five")



The Long Run (Eagles) | Sounds Like | Trying to Live My Life Without You (Otis Clay)

The Long Run by Eagles Trying to Live My Life Without You by Otis Clay

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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)



One Last Time (Ariana Grande) | Sounds Like | Human (The Human League)

One Last Time by Ariana Grande Human by The Human League

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Ariana Grande's One Last Time (released February 10, 2015) is reminiscent of The Human League's Human (released August 11, 1986), as well as Janet Jackson's Come Back to Me (:28) (released June 18, 1990--nearly 25 years ago today). Both of the aforementioned songs that preceded One Last Time, were written and produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the Minneapolis, Minnesota production duo that owned the Billboard Pop/R&B charts in the late 80s/early 90s. Similarities include: key (both songs are in Ab major), verse chord progression (both songs feature F minor-Eb/G-Ab-Db movement), and production arrangement (ethereal synth/rhodes keys, muted drum/kick).

One Last Time (:51) VS Human (:32)

One Last Time
Key: Ab
Verse Chord Progression:
F minor, Eb/G, Ab (vi-V6-I)
Db, F minor, Eb (IV-vi-V)

Human
Key: Ab
Verse Chord Progression:
Db major 9, Eb (IVM7-V)
F minor, Eb/G, Ab (vi-V6-I)
Db major 9 (IVM7)



Weight of Love (The Black Keys) | Sounds Like | Down by the River (Neil Young)

Weight of Love by The Black Keys Down by the River by Neil Young

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The Black Keys' Weight of Love (released January 27, 2015) from their eighth studio album Turn Blue is reminiscent of Neil Young's Down by the River (released May 14, 1969). Both songs begin in the key of D major, and feature staccato guitar rhythms that repeatedly move from E minor to A major (ii-V). This same intro progression can be found in Pink Floyd's Breathe (released March 1, 1973), which also seemingly appropriates the first half of Down by the River's chorus chord progression (Cmajor7-Bminor). Thanks to Justin Schack for suggesting this comparison!

Weight of Love (:00) VS Down by the River (:00)



Love Me like You Do (Ellie Goulding) | Sounds Like | The Power of Love (Celine Dion)

Love Me like You Do by Ellie Goulding The Power of Love by Celine Dion

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Ellie Goulding's single Love Me like You Do (released January 7, 2015, and featured on the Fifty Shades of Grey Soundtrack) is reminiscent of Celine Dion's The Power of Love (released November 1993). LMlYD shares the same key (Ab major), ethereal synth production, and first-half verse chord progression (emphasis on the I-vi change) as PoL. The first three notes of LMLYD's and PoL's verse melody (around :20) are also identical (LMlYD: "You're the light [, you're the night]"; PoL: "The whispers [in the morning]").

Love Me Like You Do (:00) VS The Power Of Love (:00)

Love Me Like You Do
Key: Ab
Chord Changes/Progression (Verse):
I-iii-vi-vi
IV-V-vi-vi
Melody (Verse):
3-5-5 | 3-5-5 | 3-5-5-4-4-3-2-1-3

The Power Of Love
Key: Ab
Chord Changes/Progression (Verse):
I-I-vi-vi
I-I-V-V
I-I-vi-vi
IV-I-V-V
Melody (Verse):
3-5-5 | 4-3-5-5

Honorable mention:

LMlYD (chorus around 1:01) VS Wham's Last Christmas (chorus)



Budapest (George Ezra) | Sounds Like | Suspicious Minds (Elvis Presley)

Budapest by George Ezra Suspicious Minds by Elvis Presley

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British singer-songwriter George Ezra’s Budapest (released December 13, 2013) is reminiscent of several songs including the verse chord progression and production/arrangement to Elvis Presley’s Suspicious Minds (released 1968), the bridge vocal melody to Frank Sinatra’s Strangers in the Night (released 1966), the intro keyboard melody to Mariah Carey's Dreamlover (released July 27, 1993), and the chorus vocal melody to Cornelius Bros and Sister Rose’s Too Late to Turn Back Now (released 1972).

Budapest (:25) VS Suspicious Minds (:00)

Budapest
Key: F major
Chord Progression (Verse):
F, Bb, F, C, Bb, F (I-IV-I-V-IV-I)

Suspicious Minds
Key: G major
Chord Progression (Verse):
G, C, D, C, G (I-IV-V-IV-I)


Budapest (:12) verse vocal melody VS Freddie Mercury's intro vocal melody (scatting) from Queen's Under Pressure (:22)

Budapest (:49) bridge vocal melody VS bridge vocal melody from Strangers in the Night (1:10)

Budapest (:11) verse vocal melody VS intro keyboard melody from Dreamlover (:01)

Budapest (:12) verse vocal melody VS guitar melody from XTC’s Generals and Majors



Superheroes (The Script) | Sounds Like | Paradise (Coldplay)

Superheroes by The Script Paradise by Coldplay

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Additional notes/observations: 

Irish pop rock band The Script's song Superheroes (released July 22, 2014) appears to have been heavily inspired by Coldplay's Paradise (released September 12, 2011).

Superheroes (:34) VS Paradise (:41)



Dear Future Husband (Meghan Trainor) | Sounds Like | Runaround Sue (Dion)

Dear Future Husband by Meghan Trainor Runaround Sue by Dion

Meghan Trainor - Dear Future Husband (Audio)

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American singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor's track Dear Future Husband (released September 9, 2014) is patterned directly after Dion DiMucci's doo-wop classic Runaround Sue (released September 1961). Similarities include: spoken intro over whole note strummed chords, tempo (80 bpm), background vocal parts (same male group vocal "ahh" glissando at the breaks and "hey" accents during the verses), production/arrangement (e.g. handclaps, saxophone part, bass line, drum beat, etc.), and same classic 50s chord progression (I-vi-IV-V or 1-minor 6-4-5), keys (half step apart--Runaround Sue in D major, Dear Future Husband in C# major).

Dear Future Husband (:00) VS Runaround Sue (:00)

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