Compare the vocal melody that Chris Martin sings (starting with the line "If we've only got this life") in the outro of Adventure of a Lifetime (released November 6, 2015) with the guitar/vocal melody of Neil Young's Like a Hurricane (released August 8, 1977).
Adventure of a Lifetime (2:38) VS Like a Hurricane (:16)
The verse to Ingrid Michaelson's Girls Chase Boys (released December 8, 1979) resembles to the bridge to Cody Simpson's Pretty Brown Eyes (released April 23, 2013). Both songs share a common chord progression (I-IV-vi-V or 1-4-minor6-5) in the same key: Ab, and each chord occupies a half-note per measure. Vocal melodies also have similar rhythmic values and play with the lyric "little" (GCB: "I'm a little let down, but I'm not dead"; PBE: "Spend a little bit of time with you"). Girls Chase Boys (:40) VS Pretty Brown Eyes (1:37).
The bridge melody for American Authors' song Best Day of My Life (released March 19, 2013) bears resemblance to verse melody for The Beach Boys' classic In My Room (released October 28, 1963). While recorded in different keys (BDoML: D major; IMR: B major), vocal melodies for both songs share a similar rhythm (BDoML: one-two-and-three-four; IMR: one-two-three-four), and pitch contour (expressed in relative scale degrees, BDoML's diatonic melody: 1-1-1-2-1-3-3-3-4-3-5-5-5-6-5-3-2-1; IMR's diatonic melody: 1-1-2-1-3-3-4-3-5-5-6-4-5), as well as vocal harmonies. BDoML's production is also reminiscent of Imagine Dragons' It's Time (tempo, vocal effect, banjo and handclaps), and The Lumineers' Hey Ho. Best Day of My Life (2:06) VS In My Room (:35).
So Far Away (released February 10, 1971) appears on legendary singer-songwriter Carole King's seminal blockbuster Tapestry (over 25 million albums sold, four Grammys, and most consecutive weeks at No. 1 for a female solo artist on Billboard's 200 Chart). Invisible (released January 26, 2014) is the lead single from country artist Hunter Hayes' sophomore effort, which he debuted live at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards. The choruses for Invisible (key: C#) and So Far Away (key: D) share a similar chord progression (Invisible: I-IV-ii-IV-V; SFA: I-IV-ii-IV/V) and both melodies emphasize the second step of the root scale and move mostly between the tonic, second and third degrees. The rhythm of the chorus melody (i.e. vocal line) is also similar: "Far A-way" and "Trust The One" (long notes followed by two short ones). [Thanks to Steve Cohen for suggesting this one!]. So Far Away (:13) VS Invisible (:55).
Springsteen's wistful single Girls in Their Summer Clothes (released January 15, 2008) won a 2009 Grammy for Best Rock Song, and features Beach Boys-inspired arrangments/production. The bridge for GiTSC also bears some similarity to the pre-chorus of Beck's 2005 single Girl (released July 4, 2005). Specifically, both songs feature a descending lydian melody over the subtonic (major bVII) chord. Girl (key: Bb major) starting with the line: "And I know I'm gonna steal her eye/She doesn't even know what's wrong," and GiTSC (key: C major) starting with the line: "Frankie's Diner, an old friend on the edge of town." Other similarities include -- lyrics: summer, girls, sun, beach; chord progressions: Girls uses a V-bVII-IV (or 5-b7-4) progression for the pre-chorus, while GiTSC uses a V-bVII-IV-vi-V (or 5-b7-4-minor6-5) progression in the bridge. The subtonic was used often in early 60s pop music, so it's conceivable that in addition to the Beach Boys, the Boss was drawing inspiration from The Shadows' Wonderful Land and others.
Girl (:39) vs GiTSC (1:57)
For music theorists wishing to dive deeper on use of the subtonic in popular music, check out this google group.
English indie rock band Arctic Monkeys' track Knee Socks (released September 9, 2013) bears some resemblance to hip hop artist/fashion designer Kanye West's Gorgeous (released November 22, 2010). Both songs feature a prominent electric guitar riff and melodies that utilize a pentatonic minor scale in ascending order 1-b3-4-5 (Knee Socks in E minor: E, G, A, B; Gorgeous in C# minor: C#, E, F#, G#). Gorgeous actually utilizes elements of the 1969 Turtles' single You Showed Me, which was written by Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark of the Byrds. Compare Gorgeous (:47) and Knee Socks (1:58). [Thanks to Alphabet Omnimedia Group for suggesting this comparison!]
In 1977, the Starland Vocal Band won a Grammy Award for "Best Arrangement for Voices" for its sexually-suggestive number-one single Afternoon Delight (released April 1976). SVB hailed from Washington, D.C. That same year, singer-songwriter Jason Mraz was born in nearby Virginia. Coincidence? The bridge to Mraz's love song I Won't Give Up (released January 3, 2012) features the same chord progression (2-5 or F#min7->Bmaj for IWGU, and Gmin7->Cmaj for AD), vocal melody, and harmony as the pre-chorus to Afternoon Delight. Compare IWGU (around 2:16) starting with the lines "I don't wanna be someone who walks away so easily, I'm here to stay and make the difference I can make", to AD (around :27) with the line "When everything's a little clearer in the light of day." Hard not to picture Ron Burgundy's news team singing it!
Brazilian artist Jorge Ben (now known as Jorge Ben Jor) released his composition Taj Mahal in 1972. Rod Stewart released his disco come-on Da Ya Think I'm Sexy? in 1978. Ben claimed infringment of his song, and brought a lawsuit against Stewart, which was settled with Stewart donating all of the royalties for Da Ya Think I'm Sexy? to Unicef. Stewart recalled in his 2012 autobiography, "I held my hand up straight away. Not that I'd stood in the studio and said, 'Here, I know we'll use that tune from Taj Mahal as the chorus. The writer lives in Brazil, so he'll never find out.' Clearly the melody had lodged itself in my memory and then resurfaced. Unconscious plagiarism, plain and simple.". Check out the vocal melody in Taj Mahal (around :54) and the chorus melody in Da Ya Think I'm Sexy? (around :51). [Thanks to Maria Marin for this one.]
Ryan Adams pulls off a subtle tribute to a song he would go on to cover, Oasis' "Wonderwall". Not only does Adams sing "I'm too scared to know how I feel about you now", but the vocal melody when he sings this line sounds just like "There are many things that I, would like to say to you..."
La Cienega Just Smiled (1:10) VS Wonderwall (1:33)