You know you're getting old when a song comes on the radio (or when a music video shows up on cable) and you figure it's some new artist's cover of a famous song from your bygone youth. Then you realize, it's not. This has happened way too often for me now. An entirely new song and lyrics makes its way into your ears and head. And all you say to yourself is, "Wait a minute! They lifted that from so-and-so!" Yeah, I know artists and producers will sample from other older, great(er) tunes. I don't know if it's suppose to be an homage or not, but it happens too often for my thoughts. I suspect it's less than tribute-filled and more that they hope you don't notice while your kids think it great and spend your money to buy it. Will Smith's '97 Men in Black title song lifted freely from Forget Me Nots from 1987 by Patrice Rushen (who just happens to be another native Angeleno that's the same age as me, just way more talented). I remember I just about did what my friends Pop Culture Nerd and Christine refer to as a spit-take when I first heard Changes by Tupac Shakur (since 1986's The Way It Is by Bruce Hornsby and The Range is among my favorites). What did it to me tonight was catching the 2006 song Save Room by John Legend:
Image via Wikipedia
Image via Wikipedia
It is a good song and has interesting lyrics. But, those of us with long memories will instantly pick up on the chords and recognize them from the 1968 track Stormy by the Classics IV (and featuring the late Dennis Yost):
To be clear, I don't have problems with other artists covering these songs. In fact, Santana did a wonderful update of this song that I really admire from 1978. It's the so-called sampling that's been going on that I have issue with. In another ten years, I'm pretty damn sure label producers will be thrilled that folks my age will be hard-pressed to recall the old tunes that they'll continue to lift for their music sales while barely giving lip service toward the original -- but at least I'm putting a thought down on this today. Do you have any beloved songs that have been rip-offed?