Sheppard's hit Geronimo (released February 28, 2014) is reminiscent of several tunes including Phillip Phillips' Raging Fire (released March 3, 2014), Adam Ant's Strip (released November 1983), Simple Minds' Alive and Kicking (released September 20, 1985), and The Cars' Shake It Up (released November 9, 1981). Similarities between the verses to Geronimo, Raging Fire, Alive and Kicking and Strip are: same key (G major), vocal/guitar melodies that mainly utilize the first four notes of the G pentatonic major scale, similar tempos (Geronomo and Raging Fire), and similar rhythms (latin/rumba feel of the bass/drum part).
The verse to Green Day's Grammy-nominated song 21 Guns (released May 25, 2009) bears a strong resemblance to the verse to Heart's power ballad What About Love (released June 1, 1985). Similarities include: same key (Dminor/F), same chord progression (Dminor-Bb-F-C or vi-IV-I-V), close melodies (compare lines 21 Guns: "what's worth fighting for?" with WAL: "ain't makin' it through to your heart." The chorus to 21 Guns also bears some resemblance to the chorus to Mott the Hoople's classic All the Young Dudes (released July 1972 and written by David Bowie).
The 2-5-1 progression is ubiquitous and serves many melodies but the opening 3 bars of Ochs's Changes (which certainly predates Arthur's Theme) seems the apparent progenitor of the Moon Song, also in its sentimental wistfulness (though not much in evidence in the Ochs rendition offered here). Karen O's melody, though sparer and more delicate, owes unmistakable debt to the Ochs.
The Moon Song was written and performed by Karen Lee Orzolek (a.k.a. Karen O of New York band the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) for Spike Jonze's 2013 movie Her. The track has received a 2014 Oscar nomination for Best Original Song, and bears resemblance to 1981's Oscar and Golden Globe winner for Best Original Song, Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do), which was penned by Christopher Cross, Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager, and Peter Allen, for the Dudley Moore picture of the same name. Similarities include: chord structure (verses for TMS follow Dmin-G7-C-C, while verses for AT follow Dmin-G7-Cmaj7-F and continue), and melody (both feature a descending tritone interval, F to B (or b7 to major third), which emphasizes the G7 chord).
The Moon Song (:15) VS Arthur's Theme (:00)
The verse melody for British pianist/composer Joe Jackson's 1982 release, Breaking Us in Two (key: F# major), is nearly identical to the intro/verse melody for Beatles' proteges and tragic heroes Badfinger's 1971 hit Day After Day (key: F major), which features performances by George Harrison on slide guitar and Leon Russell on piano. Musically, the first five notes of both melodies follow the same pattern (3-4-5-1-b7), albeit a half-step apart. Compare DAD's opening riff and line "I remember finding out about you" to BUiT's "Don't you feel like trying something new?"
Train's country/folk-pop duet Bruises featuring Ashley Monroe (released November 9, 2012) bears resemblance to both Madonna's Crazy for You (released March 1985) and John Denver's 1966 composition Leaving On A Jet Plane. Verses for both Bruises (key: D major) and Crazy for You (key: E major) share a I-IV-V (or major 1-4-5) chord progression (though a whole step apart), and verse melodies for both songs hew to a similar major pentatonic scale (compare CFY's line "Two-by-two their bodies become one" with B's line "Haven't seen you since high school"). Likewise, the chorus melody for Bruises and verse melody for Denver's Leaving On A Jet Place (key: G major) follow a similar fifth to major third movement in the root scale (LOAJP's line "So kiss me and smile for me [...] and B's "These bruises make for better conversation [...]"). Check out Crazy for You (:27) and Bruises (:10).
British singer-songwriter Jessie J released her track Price Tag on January 28, 2011. Artist and actress Miley Cyrus released her track We Can't Stop on June 3, 2013. The two previously collaborated on Miley's hit Party in the U.S.A., which Jessie co-wrote with Dr. Luke and Claude Kelly. We Can't Stop (at 80 bpm) and Price Tag (at 93 bpm) have the exact same 1-3-6-4 chord progression only a half-step apart (WCS in the key of E major: E major, G# minor, C# minor, A major; and PT in the key of F major: F major, A minor, D minor, Bb major). Compare Price Tag (:16) to We Can't Stop (:11).
Singer-songwriter and Harvard alum Rivers Cuomo of the alt rock group Weezer has been known to keep notebooks full of popular songs in an attempt to discern the "formula" for a hit. It's unclear whether or not Supertramp's It's Raining Again, which was released in October 1982, was ever contained in those notebooks, but the verse melody for Weezer's Island In The Sun, which was released on October 29, 2001 definitely bears a strong resemblance to the tune (compare both songs around :18). Likewise, Island In The Sun's familiar chord progression (E minor, A minor, D, G OR 6-2-5-1) can be found in the chorus of Talk Talk's It's My Life (though the latter is in the key of C instead of G).