Are You A Rip-Off Artist?
By Johnny Dwinell
Are you a rip-off artist?
Yeah, man, John Lennon wasn’t the first to say, “Good artists borrow, great artists steal.”
Beethoven took from:
- Mozart (they arguably met and Mozart arguably gave Beethoven lessons)
Tom Petty took from:
Bob Dylan took from:
David Lee Roth took from:
- Black Oak Arkansas front man Jim “Dandy” Mangrum (Circa 1974)
The Beatles took from:
- Little Richard
- Chuck Berry
Elvis took from (his live show was so based on this vibe):
Chuck Berry took from:
- T-Bone Walker
- The Fiddlin’ Powers Family – Maybellene (his 1st #1 circa 1955) was inspired by “Ida Red” circa 1924 (this was covered and used quite often with many artists btw.)
Led Zeppelin literally PLAGIARIZED (and settled out of court…we DON’T recommend this BTW):
- Howlin Wolf
- Muddy Waters
- Jake Holmes
- Willie Dixon
- Plagiarism Mash Up 1
- Plagiarism Mash Up 2
Willie Dixon took from:
Little Brother Montgomery took from:
Eric Clapton took from:
Muddy Waters took from:
Robert Johnson took from:
- Blind Blake
- Peetie Wheatstraw
Joan Baez took from:
- Pete Seeger (RIP)
Pete Seeger took from:
You get it?
Anyone who is talking about how another artist “ripped off” this artist or that artist … is right. Something had to inspire the artist. Most artists try to emulate something that resonates with them. As a result, they end up with their own style.
So what? Shut up and own up to it!
Make good music. Grow from your influences! USE your influences as a muse!
I submit to all you writers and artists that you are unique. So aside from actually plagiarizing (again, we DON’T condone this behavior), setting out to write your favorite artist’s song will lead you to your own twisted version that is quite exceptional and distinctive. Not for nothing, but it’s a pretty good writing exercise!
Rick Rubin loves to hand out writing assignments to his artists, typically right before they are about to begin recording, so the pressure is really on. Rick told Rivers Cuomo from Weezer to write a song with the beat from Def Leppard’s Pour Some Sugar On Me and that assignment ended up being the inspiration for Beverly Hills. Rick also told Tom Petty to do the same exact thing and that was the inspiration for It’s Good To Be King.
Now go play pretty for the world.
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Thanks again, Johnny! Keep nailing these awesome blogs! I have sometimes felt guilty when I pull Inspiration from other artists! My theory: listen to what you love, write songs, the songs will sound like 10% of your influence and 90% you. I call that the Song Machine. Put something in…get a blended product exiting. You’re bomb diggity and other overly used hip terms. 🙂
LOL Bomb Diggity? I LOVE THAT! Thanks Carey! I am so happy that these are helping you! You are ONLY a product of the input you receive! Ya know I remember trying to write a song that was exactly like the Beatles’ “Don’t Bring Me Down” b/c it had that same chord change in the beginning (Which I LOVE) and it ended being this twisted, crazy, cool song that sounded NOTHING like “Don’t Bring Me Down” but it was def one of my best songs. 🙂
As I lyricist I’m always conscious of what other artists have to say. I often use that as inspiration to write. I hear something and react to it, either positively or negatively. It still ends up being me because nobody has my exact voice just as I have nobody else’s voice.
EXACTLY! Thanks for the comment Willa!