15. James Blunt, “Heart to Heart,” vs. Five for Fighting, “100 Years”
Little has been made of this, as far as we can tell, but it’s impossible (for us, at least) to listen to James Blunt’s 2013 track “Heart to Heart” without hearing another song: Five for Fighting’s 2003 single “100 Years.” Although Blunt may have only sampled the melody and riff, it’s such a distinctive sound that it casts a pall over “Heart to Heart” that is difficult to overlook. No lawsuit for this one.
16. Bruno Mars, “Treasure,” vs. Breakbot, “Baby I’m Yours”
Could Bruno Mars have stolen his hit single “Treasure” from a lesser known musician? If you believe Breakbot (and your ears), then yes, absolutely. In 2012, Mars was put on blast by the musician Breakbot for the fact that “Treasure” sounded an awful lot like Breakbot’s “Baby I’m Yours.” Truth be told, we can totally hear it. Mars, what say you?
17. Oasis, “Whatever,” vs. Neil Innes, “How Sweet to Be an Idiot”
In full disclosure, this kind of seems like a stretch to us. However, since Oasis had a bit of a reputation for oversampling other artists, perhaps the similarities between the band’s “Whatever” and Neil Innes’ “How Sweet to Be an Idiot” are there and we just aren’t hearing them. After all, there had to be some merit to Innes’ claim that Oasis lifted his melody, since a lawsuit landed him cowriting credit.
18. Simple Plan, “Your Love Is a Lie,” vs. Green Day, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”
Sometimes, you just really love a band. Sometimes, that band inspires you. In the case of Simple Plan’s “Your Love Is a Lie,” that seems to be exactly what happened. Simple Plan unabashedly admires Green Day, calling the rock group their Ramones. So, when “Your Love Is a Lie” was released in 2007, many people claimed that perhaps Simple Plan’s fixation on Green Day led them to copy chord progressions from their idol’s 2004 hit “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.”
19. Katy Perry, “Roar,” vs. Sara Bareilles, “Brave”
The dispute over whether or not Katy Perry’s “Roar” was a rip-off of Sara Bareilles’ “Brave” might have been a bigger debacle had Bareilles not stepped in to assure the world that she and Perry were friends and that things were all good. Still, you’ve gotta admit the two do sound (and look) similar.
20. Led Zeppelin, “Stairway to Heaven,” vs. Spirit, “Taurus”
Led Zeppelin fans, you may want to avert your eyes. The iconic band is mired in controversy where copyright infringement is concerned. Earlier this year, as they promoted the re-release of their first three albums, the band was hit hard by claims that they lifted the intro for their famous song “Stairway to Heaven” from fellow rock band Spirit’s song “Taurus,” released three years prior. For Led Zeppelin’s part, Jimmy Page told French magazine Liberation that the claims are “ridiculous.”
21. Led Zeppelin, “Whole Lotta Love,” vs. Muddy Waters, “You Need Love”
Again, if you’re a hard-core Zeppelin listener, this might sting a bit. In 1969, when the band recorded their classic hit “Whole Lotta Love,” they sampled the sound and even a few lyrics from Muddy Waters’ “You Need Love.” Only they didn’t actually credit Willie Dixon, who wrote the latter. In 1972, Dixon did end up suing Led Zeppelin for copyright infringement and again in 1985 over writing credits. Both were settled out of court for an unknown amount of money, and Dixon successfully earned cowriting credit.