Should Toby Keith Sue Sebastian Mikael?


Should Toby Keith sue Sebastian Mikael?  Have you heard Toby Keith’s 2011 song, “Red Solo Cup?”  Have you heard Sebastian Mikael’s 2013 song, “Red Solo Cup?”

Toby Keith – Red Solo Cup (2011)

Sebastian Mikael – Last Night ft. Wale (2013)

Toby Keith’s Red Solo Cup features the lyrics, “red solo cup, I fill you up” and “red solo cup, I lift you up” always sung to the same melody, an ascending four-note pattern that is the hook:  -3-4-5-8.

The 3-4-5-8 melody is heard sixteen (16) times in Red Solo Cup.

Sebastian Mikael’s Last Night features the lyric, “four shots ago,” always sung to the same four-note pattern as heard in Red Solo Cup, used in all four (4) choruses, and in a similar prominent manner as well:  3-4-5-8.

The 3-4-5-8 melody is heard four (4) times in Last Night.

If both songs use the same pitches but one was recorded and released earlier, shouldn’t the publisher(s) of Toby Keith’s Red Solo Cup sue the publisher(s) of Sebastian Mikael’s Last Night ?

The sixteen (16) statements of 3-4-5-8 in Toby Keith’s Red Solo Cup:

0.32  red solo cup

0.35  I fill you up

0.44  red solo cup

0.47  I lift you up

1.19  red solo cup

1.22  I fill you up

1.31  red solo cup

1.33  I lift you up

2.21  red solo cup

2.24  I fill you up

2.32  red solo cup

2.35  I lift you up

2.44  red solo cup

2.47  I fill you up

2.56  red solo cup

2.59  I lift you up

The four (4) statements of 3-4-5-8 in Sebastian Mikael’s Last Night:

0.46  four shots ago

1.54  four shots ago

2.37  four shots ago

3.40  four shots ago 


To reiterate some of the similarities between Red Solo Cup and Last Night:

Toby Keith sings 3-4-5-8 sixteen (16) times throughout Red Solo Cup.

3-4-5-8 is the hook.

Sebastian Mikael sings 3-4-5-8 four (4) times throughout Last Night.

3-4-5-8 is always an important part of each chorus.

Both songs feature the same four (4) notes –  3-4-5-8.

Toby Keith recorded and released Red Solo Cup well before Sebastian Mikael recored and released Last Night.

Why wouldn’t Toby Keith’s publisher(s) sue Sebastian Mikael?


Are four (4) prominent and clearly-heard notes in common between songs reason enough to instigate a copyright infringement lawsuit?  One answer could be found in comparing this hypothetical (or not) Toby Keith v. Sebastian Mikael music copyright infringement case to the actual Marvin Gaye v. Robin Thicke copyright infringement case in which NO notes were in common between the songs.

If one can sue when the similarity is only STYLE and not melody, surely one is even more likely to sue when the similarity is MELODY and not style.

(Do any/all the tags in this post have any bearing on the merit of this potential copyright infringement lawsuit?)

As always, I welcome your  comments.

Tracing The Origins Of Blues Songs: Culture Or Copying?


Music of Blind Lemon Jefferson, Leadbelly, Carl Perkins, Albert King and The Beatles 

Many songs’ origins can be traced to earlier sources and often specific authorship, or authorship as a mighty fortress that had to exert its mighty power, was a foreign concept.  Ideas and the expressions of ideas are often regarded as benevolent entities and means by which a society builds its culture.  Members of a society share what is performed, heard, seen, filmed, photographed, painted, sculpted, danced, acted, woven, cooked, eaten and more.

It can be illuminating to examine how certain songs have come into existence.  How important was authorship?  Were several responsible for the creation of a song?  Did parts of the song come together at different times and places?


Albert King “Searching For A Woman” (1961) referenced Carl Perkins “Matchbox” (1956)

Albert King’s Searching For A Woman  (1961) –  At 0.28 – 0.48 of this recording, one hears:

“sometimes I wonder would a matchbox hold my clothes, yeah sometimes I wonder would a matchbox hold my clothes, I don’t have so many but I’ve got so far to go.”  

Albert King is not the author of that lyric as it had been heard prior to “Searching For A Woman.”  King simply interpolated it/referenced it from a prior source.  Or was it from more than one prior source?

Carl Perkins’ Matchbox  (1956) – At 0.05 – 0.20 of this recording, one hears:

“well I’m sitting here wondering would a matchbox hold my clothes, yeah I’m sitting here wondering would a matchbox hold my clothes, I ain’t got no matches but I got a long way to go.”

Carl Perkins’ Matchbox  (1956) was a big hit in the 1950’s.

The Beatles released their version of Matchbox in 1964, reviving Perkins’ popular song.  The Beatles loved Carl Perkins and recorded three (3) of his songs.  (Notice that Ringo’s vocal is double-tracked in Matchbox and typical for Beatles’ cover recordings, they stay as true to the original as possible.)

Continuing with MATCHBOX…

Carl Perkins “Matchbox” (1956) referenced Leadbelly “Packin’ Trunk” (1935)

Carl Perkins’ Matchbox  (1956) – At 0.05 – 0.20 of this recording, one hears:

“well I’m sitting here wondering would a matchbox hold my clothes, yeah I’m sitting here wondering would a matchbox hold my clothes, I ain’t got no matches but I got a long way to go.”

Leadbelly’s Packin’ Trunk  (1935) – at 0.45-1.05 of this recording one hears:

“I’m sitting down here wondering would a matchbox hold my clothes, I’m sitting down here wondering would a matchbox hold my clothes, I’m sitting down here wondering would a matchbox hold my clothes”

Leadbelly “Packin’ Trunk” (1935) referenced Blind Lemon Jefferson “Match Box Blues” (1927)

Leadbelly’s Packin’ Trunk  (1935) – at 0.45 – 1.05 of this recording one hears:

“I’m sitting down here wondering would a matchbox hold my clothes, I’m sitting down here wondering would a matchbox hold my clothes, I’m sitting down here wondering would a matchbox hold my clothes”

Blind Lemon Jefferson’s Match Box Blues  (1927) – at 0.38 – 1.04 of this recording, one hears:

“sitting here wondering would a matchbox hold my clothes, I’m sitting here wondering would a matchbox hold my clothes, I ain’t got so many matches but I’ve got so far to go” 

Is Blind Lemon Jefferson the source of this lyric about a person owning so little that all of his clothes could fit into a matchbox?


Do lyrics and/or music of any of these songs REFERENCE any other song(s)?

Do lyrics and/or music of any of these songs COPY any other song(s)?

Do lyrics and/or music of any of these songs STEAL FROM any other song(s)?

Do lyrics and/or music of any of these songs INFRINGE any other song(s)?

Are musical traditions, for example in any of the songs above, at odds with copyright law?

Assuming that any of these instances above involves the TAKING of someone’s intellectual property, isn’t it only taking a “little bit” and how important can a little bit be?

Should musical tradition(s) trump copyright law?

Should copyright law trump musical tradition(s)?

If Blind Lemon Jefferson’s Match Box Blues  (1927) is under copyright, would one or more of those who followed him have infringed his copyright?

If Blind Lemon Jefferson’s Match Box Blues  (1927) is NOT under copyright and in the public domain, would copyright vest in Leadbelly’s Packin’ Trunk  (1935)?

And how does one answer any/all of the questions above if the country of origin of the manufacture and distribution of specific recordings are OUTSIDE of the United States of America?







Dr. Dre Should Have Hired Me


The moral of the story below?  Not hiring me can cost money.

Dr. Dre hired a musicologist for an opinion on whether he could use a bass line from another song, one that Dr. Dre had not composed.  That expert told Dr. Dre that the bass line was not original and therefore Dr. Dre was free to use it.

I would have told Dr. Dre that that bass line WAS original and that Dr. Dre should NOT use it. 

But, Dr. Dre did not consult with me.  Dr. Dre took the advice of a different expert witness and it cost him $1.5 million.

The two songs are:

Fatback Band – Backstrokin’  (1980)

Dr. Dre – Let’s Get High (2001)


Fatback Band’s Backstrokin’  (1980) is a long, fun funk song.  It is just over 6 minutes long and primarily alternates between two sections:  A and B.  Section A is the chorus where one hears the message of the song – “tighten up on your backstroke.”  Section B is the contrasting section, similar to a verse section.  Other than A & B there is an introduction from 0.00 – 0.16 that returns at 4.17  – 4.54.

The overall form is:

intro, A, B, A, B, A, B, intro, A.

The time each section begins is below:

0.00 –  intro

0.17  –  A

1.22  –  B

1.55  –  A

2.44  –  B

3.17  –  A

4.06  –  B

4.17  –  intro

4.55  –  A

Dr. Dre was a musician who liked the bass line of the A section of Backstrokin’ (1980) and wanted to use it in a song he was going to record – Let’s Get High (2001).  Dr. Dre was not going to sample the bass line on his recording – instead he hired a bass player to re-perform that bass line.

Dr. Dre decided to get the opinion of a musicologist as to whether he could legally re-perform that bass line.  The musicologist hired (not me) told him that the bass line was unoriginal, not subject to protection by copyright law and therefore Dr. Dre would be free to recreate the bass line.  (“Recreate” is also known as “interpolate” or “replay.”)

The bass line consists of only a few diatonic, unoriginal pitches from the minor scale.  The pitches are:

1-2-b3-2  which are heard in the first measure, and

1-2-b3-5  which are heard in the second measure.

In total, the bass line is 1-2-b3-2-1-2-b3-5. two (2) brief measures, and is repeated throughout each A section.  This bass line could be considered the hook (or one of the hooks) of the song.

As a single, short two-measure phrase (-1-2-b3-2-  -1-2-b3-5- ), this bass line is NOT original.  But what Dr. Dre intended was NOT one (1) single statement for a few seconds, but to repeat this phrase over and over for the entire two (2) + minutes of the song.  Once this phrase is repeated a few times, it is no longer unoriginal – it becomes ORIGINAL and subject to copyright protection. 


It is easy to find earlier examples of this basic, common -1-2-b3-2-1-2-b3 melody (with or without the “-5-” at the end) that is featured prominently throughout Backstrokin’.

The first that came to my mind was the principal melody of the 3rd movement of the Symphony No. 1 in D by Gustav Mahler:

Gustav Mahler –  Symphony No. 1 in D, Mvt. III  (1896).  The entire first movement is based on this 1-2-b3-2-1 melody.  This motif/melody is masterfully developed by one of the best art music composers – Gustav Mahler.  (The melody begins at 0.13 played by a solo contrabass.  The next instrument to play the melody is the bassoon at 0.41.  You’ll likely notice that this is a variant of the famous “Frere Jacques” but in a minor key, instead of major key.  Dr. Dre co-opted Fatback Band who co-opted Mahler co-opting and contorting “Frere Jacques.”)

Other music that features 1-2-b3-2-1-2-b3, recorded before Fatback Band and Dr. Dre include:

Pink Floyd – Another Brick In The Wall  (1979)  The 1-2-b3-2-1-2-b3 melody is heard in the words, “We don’t need no education” beginning at 0.09.

Cream – We’re Going Wrong  (1967)  The 1-2-b3-2-1-2-b3 melody is heard in the strummed chords in Eric Clapton’s guitar, and Jack Bruce’s faint bass, beginning at 0.02.

Pete Seeger – Waist Deep In The Big Muddy  (1967)   The 1-2-b3-2-1-2-b3 melody is heard in  the guitar beginning at 0.03.

Music recorded after Fatback Band that features 1-2-b3-2-1-2-b3 include:

Tupac Shakur – Nothing But Love  (1997)  The 1-2-b3-2-1-2-b3 melody is heard in the synth beginning at 0.00.

Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal  (1987)  The 1-2-b3-2-1-2-b3 melody is heard in the synth beginning at 0.14.


To repeat – Dr. Dre could have used the simple 1-2-b3-2-1-2-b3-5 melody without a serious copyright problem IF he had used it only once or twice.  But using that melody repeatedly in the same manner as Fatback Band spelled trouble.  Dr. Dre was given bad advice.  I am thrilled that I was not the one to make such a big mistake.

The added bonus of this post – I am encouraging readers to listen to Gustav Mahler, Pete Seeger, Cream, Pink Floyd, Fatback Band, Michael JacksonDr. Dre and Tupac Shakur.

Music Discovery


I had a really good meeting with a friend last night who went “under the hood” of my website with me and offered some great ideas.  One was to add a new entry under “Categories” –

* * * MUSIC DISCOVERY * * * 

I think what he intended by Music Discovery was for me to feature and write about music that mattered a lot to me and/or music I stumbled upon recently and wanted to highlight.  I think a new section of might spring from it.  But for now, I am treating this “Music Discovery” in another way.  I want this more interesting and lesser known music to be a more easily searchable item.

After we hung out, I created the category, “Music Discovery,” traipsed through all of my posts to see which contained links or references to music that I thought might be unfamiliar to some of my friends, and linked them to “Music Discovery.”


To begin with my oldest Music Discovery-categorized post, I’ll highlight this song by Caetano Veloso.

Caetano Veloso – Canto Do Povo De Um Lugar

This is a beautiful song recorded by Caetano Veloso, one of my favorite musician/composer/songwriter/singers, and an extremely important Brazilian musical/cultural icon.  In future posts I will elaborate on some of the music and creative output of Caetano Veloso as I have hundreds of his songs and have seen him live in concert several times in the United States.

In music, it is often important to be simple rather than complicated – to not reveal everything you know in one short space.  There are times to fill a space with a large amount of data, but more often it is important to sacrifice virtuosity and excess for clarity and memorability.  Caetano Veloso does this throughout Canto Do Povo De Um Lugar.

A few things to notice within the song –

the crescendo beginning at 0.44 as a second guitar, and then bass, enter the song

the beautiful switch to falsetto singing at 1.38

the sudden QUIET and shift of vocal register at 2.09 (pop recordings rarely/never get suddenly quiet!)

more guitar melodies in the instrumental section beginning at 2.21 – 3.28.  Within the instrumental comes the abandonment of the chord progression in favor of a single chord and more solitude, enhanced by the added prominence of the organ.

the introduction of a jarring, out of place, diminished chord  at 3.29 – 3.44, followed by a return to normal, then solace and fade out


This song was selected for inclusion in my October 12, 2012 post for two reasons:

1.  The melodic cell, 1-2-3-5, is the first four notes that Caetano sings. These four notes did not originate with this song.  They can be heard in many other musical compositions before this – they should be free to be sung and/or performed without the threat of a lawsuit.  They are, in other words, in the public domain.  I included Caetano’s recording in my October 12, 2012 post as supportive musical evidence in a hypothetical music copyright infringement case.  In this hypothetical case, Five For Fighting’s song, “Superman (It’s Not Easy),” is alleged to infringe the copyright of Angie Aparo’s “Seed.”  I was asked to opine about this, from my vantage point as one who actually works in music copyright infringement actions, by a reader.  I proceeded to analyze both songs, make the decision as to where I stood (in this particular matter, with the hypothetical defendant) and then  explain some of the reasoning and evidence I would use to prove that the defendant had not infringed the plaintiff’s copyright.  (The first four notes Caetano sings – 1-2-3-5 – are the same four notes at the center of the hypothetical Aparo/Five For Fighting matter.)

The October 12 post was the third and final post about this hypothetical case.  (The first was from October 10, 2012;  the second from October 11, 2012.)

2.  Caetano Veloso’s Canto Do Povo De Um Lugar is a beautiful song.  Given an excuse to promote Caetano Veloso or his music, I will!  In my perfect world, everyone in the U. S. would be fascinated by the music and musicians of Brazil.

So, I think I will treat “Music Discovery” as music which I know – maybe learned a few minutes or a few decades ago – that I find intriguing, inspiring, innovative, beautiful, novel or just cool, and for which I want to advocate.

As always I look forward to your input.




The Beatles – 21 Songs For 7 Reasons


Beatles 50th Anniversaries to the End of Beatles 50th Anniversaries

21 Songs For 7 Reasons

How good is your memory?  If you have heard this before, you surely don’t remember the words or when you heard them:


the headache remedy with the special combination of ingredients to relieve pain, to relax tension, soothe irritability”Anacin, and by


makers of light, fluffy Pillsbury refrigerated biscuits and a complete line of fresh dough foods in the dairy case.”

These are the first in a large batch of annoying commercials that ran at the beginning of The Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday, February 9, 1964 just before the public would get to see the world’s most in-demand musical performers, The Beatles.

I’ve been loving the first of many future Beatles 50th anniversaries – their inspiring, shocking and life-altering first Ed Sullivan Show appearance, in black and white.  Color film was not needed – what people were about to see and hear was provocative, exciting, inspirational and transcendent  enough. 


Beatles 50th Anniversaries

In 2014, “it was 50 years ago today” refers to the 50th anniversary of

The Beatles’ appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “She Loves You,” “Can’t Buy Me Love, “I Saw Her Standing There” and the other initial wave of Beatles’ hits, and

A Hard Day’s Night film (“I fought the war for your sort. — I bet you’re sorry you won.”)  

In 2015, “it was 50 years ago today” will refer to the 50th anniversary of the

Help! film (“so the police are extended giving the famous protection for which we are justly proud in this country, for a finger, eh”) and

Rubber Soul (“and when I awoke I was alone this bird had flown. So, I lit a fire isn’t it good Norwegian wood?”).

In 2016, “it was 50 years ago today” will refer to the 50th anniversary of

Revolver (“I know what it’s like to be dead, I know what it’s like to be sad and she’s making me feel like I’ve never been born”)

their final tour and final scheduled concert on August 29, 1966 at Candlestick Park, San Francisco.

In 2017, “it was 50 years ago today” will refer to the 50th anniversary of the release of

Sgt. Pepper (“and the bag across her shoulder made her look a little like a military man”) and

Magical Mystery Tour (“corporation t-shirt stupid bloody Tuesday, Man you’ve been a naughty boy you’ve let your face grow long”).

In 2018, “it was 50 years ago today” will refer to the 50th anniversary of the

Yellow Submarine film (“if you are listening to this song you may think the chords are going wrong, but they’re not.  We just wrote it like that”) and

The Beatles, better known as The White Album  (“you were only waiting for this moment to be free”).

In 2019, “it was 50 years ago today” will refer to the 50th anniversary of

Abbey Road (“you only give me your funny paper”).


END of

Beatles 50th Anniversaries

In 2020, “it was 50 years ago today,” will refer to the 50th anniversary of

Let It Be (“phase one in which Doris gets her oats”), the breakup of The Beatles, the release of

Paul McCartney’s first solo album, McCartney (“I used to ride on my fast city line singing songs that I thought were mine alone, alone”), the release of

George Harrison’s first solo album, a gigantic triple album, All Things Must Pass  (“watch out now, take care, beware of greedy leaders, they take you where you should not go while weeping atlas cedars they just want to grow, grow, grow”) and the release of

John Lennon’s first solo album, Plastic Ono Band (“I don’t believe in Elvis, I don’t believe in Zimmerman, I don’t believe in Beatles…I was the walrus but now I’m John, and so dear friends you’ll just have to carry on, the dream is over”).


To continue from my past two (2) posts about The Beatles….  I left off with a collection of songs that I felt would work well for these groups and/or ideas:


aging adults



politically motivated

cry in your beer

The groups/purposes I want to highlight today are:



lovers of love songs

community activists




To continue from the last post – humanists will still want to save the world with “All You Need Is Love,” “Let It Be,” and “The Word,” optimists will be optimistic with “Good Day Sunshine,” “It’s Getting Better,”  and “Here Comes The Sun,” lovers of love songs will sing “If I Fell,”  “And I Love Her,” and “I Will,”  community activists will be inspired by “With A Little Help From My Friends,”  “We Can Work it Out,” and “All Together Now,”  weddings will still feature “Something,” “In My Life,”  and “When I’m Sixty-Four,”  divorcees will be haunted by “Carry That Weight,”  I’m A Loser,” and “Hello Goodbye,” and critics will still argue over the meanings of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” and “I Am The Walrus.”


songs for humanists

All You Need Is Love

Let It Be

The Word

songs for optimists

Good Day Sunshine

It’s Getting Better

Here Comes The Sun

songs for lovers of love songs

If I Fell

And I Love Her

I Will

songs for community activists

With A Little Help From My Friends

We Can Work it Out

All Together Now

songs for weddings


In My Life

When I’m Sixty-Four

songs for divorcees

Carry That Weight

 I’m A Loser

Hello Goodbye

songs for ponderers

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

Strawberry Fields Forever

I Am The Walrus


Their final words on their final album* were meant to inspire:  “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”


* (By “final album,” I am referring to the last/final album The Beatles recorded – Abbey Road.  The final Beatles album to be released was Let It Be.)


The Beatles – 18 songs for 6 reasons


From my previous post, I want to continue with the idea that The Beatles arrival in the U. S. would be of great significance.  Perhaps better than “arrival”, I should write that they “landed,” a better term that could imply the landing of a spacecraft from afar and not just the arrival of a Boeing jet from London.  The Beatles landing would change music and culture and probably insert in a wedge between generations that would become larger than that experienced by previous generations and their forebears.  The Beatles did so much to obliterate society’s tastes and standards, and so quickly (as detailed in the last post).  If you were ten (10) years old when they came, you weren’t as engrained and indebted to the present culture (and perhaps it did not speak to you).  So receiving this new music and objects from outside of planet Earth was very welcome and not threatening to American kids.  The Beatles were, however horrifying to other areas of society, especially those who felt “safe” and in command of their culture.  The four English musicians between the ages of 20 – 23 would change music and change and detonate the recording industry.

The Beatles were the antithesis of “safe” – with each album released, they had the “safe” and extremely successful product.  Almost any other artist/s who could attain this much success would certainly do only ONE thing next – repeat the exact steps to try to repeat the exact success.  Almost all artists then and now would not stray from a winning formula.

This is exactly where the Beatles differed completely from everyone else.  The Beatles would always take the adventurous and risky path by throwing away the proven recipe for business success and doing something which ARTISTICALLY pleased them.  Against all odds and “common” sense, they would succeed and then lead society and other musicians down a new road.

They wrote music for all ages and all the ages.  This might sound like a cliche but having lived with The Beatles since February 9, 1964, I have been able to witness people of all ages identifying with The Beatles as THEIR music.  At almost any time since 1964, a 4 year old can educate an adult about this music that s/he is singing, namely a Beatles song.  The music is at the core and passion of the child who wants to tell everyone about what really matters here – that this is wonderful music that this very young person wants to share with the world.

The Beatles, however, would in time – over the next few weeks, months and years –  bring everyone along.  The Beatles won, though no one lost.  Even the cautious and conservative who feared change would get swept up in new music and its accessories.

In the future, I think this will continue as new generations of children will  be mesmerized by “Yellow Submarine,”  “Rocky Raccoon,” and “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” aging adults will still want “Hey Jude” “Yesterday,” and “Michelle,” rockers will still push “Yer Blues,” “Helter Skelter” and “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?,” mystics will ponder “Across The Universe,” “Glass Onion,” and “Because,” the politically motivated will act according to “Revolution,”  “Come Together,” and “Give Peace A Chance,” and you’ll still be able to cry in your beer over “I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party,” “Baby’s In Black,” and “Misery.”


Here, below, are categories that strike me as arising from Beatle songs (just mentioned above) along with three (3) songs and appropriate links that fit each category.  I’ll expand upon this and provide more links in the next post.

songs for children

Yellow Submarine

Rocky Raccoon

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

songs for aging adults

Hey Jude



songs for rockers

Yer Blues

Helter Skelter

Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?

songs for mystics

Across The Universe

Glass Onion


songs for the politically motivated


Come Together

Give Peace A Chance

songs for the cry in your beer crowd

I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party

Baby’s In Black



WHAT?  I’m ending this post on the “cry in your beer” songs?  Sure.  There are many more Beatles songs to fulfill more reasons in my next post and we’ll lift any depressed spirits then.


The Beatles – It Was 50 Years Ago Today



 T H E     B E A T L E S


Any Date From Now Through April 10, 2020 Should Be An Excuse For A Beatles 50th Anniversary Celebration

1. The Beatles are back.  2. The Beatles never went away.  3.  In the future, the Beatles will be back and never go away.  (New Beatles fans will assure that their music is still heard.)

Although they disbanded 44 years ago, the Beatles’ impact is still felt as their shadow is cast over almost every musical style and aspect of the U.S. and international music industry.   With the release of new social media accounts, websites, CD’s, DVD’s, books, collaborations, interactive media, “authorized mashups,” television specials and more, longtime fans are being reminded of their greatness, while new generations of Beatles’ fans are being created.  They still sound great to those who were there in the 1960’s, and because no other comparable artists have come along since, they keep sounding better in hindsight.

The Beatles revolutionized popular music – the intensity and depth of the public’s reaction to them has never never been approached since that they first burst onto the world’s stage.  Elvis had 14 #1 hits before the Beatles, but only 1 after the Beatles.  Only a few Motown acts and the Beach Boys were popular before and after the Beatles.

The Beatles arrived at the perfect moment historically when they began recording in 1963 and invading the U. S. and the rest of the world in 1964.  Between 1959-1963, rock & roll was in its dullest period as the careers of many of its pioneers were in hiatus or had ended.  A plane crash had taken the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J. P. Richardson, Chuck Berry had been jailed for violation of the Mann Act, Little Richard had left the secular for the religious world, Jerry Lee Lewis had drawn the wrath of the public for marrying his 13 yr. old cousin before legally divorcing his second wife, and Elvis Presley was softening his image by trying to appeal to adults and becoming a movie star.   In addition, the large out-of-touch record labels were trying to hoist bland and safe white cover artists (principally, Pat Boone, Frankie Avalon and Fabian) onto the public.  And on November 22, 1963, three important events occurred, only one of which caught the world’s attention – President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  (The Beatles released their second album in England – “With The Beatles” – and novelist Aldous Huxley died also on that day.  Who could have known that the best and worst events of 1963 would have occurred on the same day?)   Many of us alive then will remember just how bleak a time it was – our popular young President had been killed, it was a cold winter, and except for a few Motown artists, there was little exciting popular music.

So, on February 9, 1964, when the Beatles made their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, the public was ready for good news and good revolution.  The reaction to this television show and the Beatles cannot be overestimated.  In 1964 alone, The Beatles had 19 Top 40 hits!  In comparison, Michael Jackson’s best year was 1983 with 6 Top 40 hits; Elvis’s was 1956 with 11 Top 40 hits.

The Beatles convincingly fused widely disparate influences throughout their seven-year recording career as they assimilated U.S. rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly, country, Motown, R & B, soul, Tin Pan Alley, Afro-Cuban, bossanova, classical, and Indian music influences.   They also steadfastly avoided following any fads or attempting to be “cool” or something which they were not.  Each of their albums was a significant musical event complete with the seemingly incongruous achievements of important artistic innovations and great popular appeal.


The Beatles had many firsts.  They were the

first to have all five of the Top 5 songs in the same week (April 4, 1964)


first to have 11 songs in the Top 100 in the same month


first to create music videos (16 years before the debut of MTV) –   Paperback Writer


first to use feedback and distortion at the opening of a recording  –  I Feel Fine (0.00-0.06)


first to use the fade-in  –  Eight Days A Week  (0.00-0.07)


first to use the electric 12-string guitar  –  You Can’t Do That  (0.00)


first to use the sitar   –  Norwegian Wood  (0.08)


first to use an Indian ensemble  –  Within You Without You  (0.00)


first to record a song for string quartet and acoustic guitar  –  Yesterday  (0.23)


first to record a song using only string octet  –  Eleanor Rigby  (0.00)


first band to use the French horn as a solo instrument  –  For No One  (0.49-1.02; 1.27-1.38. 1.53-1.56)


first band to use the piccolo trumpet as a solo instrument  –  Penny Lane  (1.09-1.27; 1.56-2.00, 2.21-2.26, 2.38-2.43, 2.47-2.49)


first band to use tape speed manipulation  –  In My Life  (1.29-1.47)


first band to use backwards tape  –  Rain  (2.35-2.58)


to name only a few Beatles’ firsts.

The Beatles were the antithesis of “safe” – with each album released, they had the “safe” and extremely successful product.  Almost any other artist/s who could attain this much success would certainly do only ONE thing next – repeat the exact steps to try to repeat the exact success.  Almost all artists then and now would not stray from a winning formula.

This is exactly where the Beatles differed completely from everyone else.  The Beatles would always take the adventurous and risky path by throwing away the proven recipe for business success and doing something which ARTISTICALLY pleased them.  Against all odds and “common” sense, they would succeed and then lead society and other musicians down new roads.

In the next post, we will explore the universality and themes of many Beatles songs.


My Take on The 2014 Grammys Show


Last night – Sunday, January 26, 2014 – I watched the 2014 Grammys show.  I rarely watch the Grammys or any awards shows – Emmys, Academy Awards, Peoples’ Choice, the Oscars, the Madisons, the Ungers, etc.  I thought I’d post/drink a 140, an FB and then sign off and watch Dexter Season 4.  For some reason, I kept watching & commenting on the Grammys.  (But I managed to watch Dexter later.)

(Isn’t my “G7” cube cover photograph nice and nicely apropos?  The “G” stands for Grammy and the “7” is associated with the “G.”  Together this chocolate and peanut butter concatenation means, “G7,” aka “G Dominant 7th chord,” a favorite and old hit among us guitarists.)


My first post was to Facebook:

1(a).  I’m a Grammys member & am supposed to be thrilled & engaged. The opening is perfectly predictable like every Grammy show. But for once I don’t think we’ll get an EDUCATIONAL lecture about the evils of downloading & that downloaders, Pandora and the ANTICHRIST herself aka GOOGLE who have stopped the performance & creation of music. I wish the teleprompter readers the very best of luck tonight. And I am pro-my clients, friends and the old people (Beatles rhythm section guys and any other 60+ ancient folk).  Time for Twitter where there is peace. 

I was about to leave when suddenly I didn’t. I was at my iMac and just kept writing in response to what I was seeing and hearing at the Grammys.

Warning – silliness, sarcasm, exaggeration, commentary, kindness and fodder for lawyers

who will someday interrogate me lie ahead!


Here are those less-140-character statements:

1.  I’m a Grammys member & am supposed to be thrilled & engaged with this B. A. show. The opening is perfectly predictable like the rest.

2.  “We made this record without a record label.” And then in comes the music. STOP THAT ANTI-RECORD LABEL rant! Right now! #Grammys

3.  I’m so puzzled. Lord or Lorde with that extra “E” is a damn big deal. Her Royal is heart felt & I damn well don’t get it. #Grammys

4.  And let’s remember, “Sponsored by CBS.” Even the commercials show pretty women who have been deprived of body fat. #Grammys

5.  CBS Radio salutes the artists who create the music. And now Hunter Hayes. The Unarrested Justin Bieber. #Grammys

6.  Hunter Hayes can play piano with his right hand & emote FEELINGS with his left hand as he gets soulful. Wow, only in LA! #Grammys

7.  I’m wrong – Hunter Hayes is doing Miley Ray Cyrus. I can’t get this modern stuff straight! #Grammys

8.  Wow! A man & a woman are approaching the center of the stage to read the nominations. This is why I watch! #Grammys

9.  Robin Thicke’s Marvin Gaye cover did not win! But they teased us by having them in the selection pool. #Grammys

Spinal Tap – Tap Into America

10.  Dude – your bicycle helmets are getting me thinking UP and FIRM! And thank you to the Academy. #Grammys

11.  “Dude, I am very funny in England. Remember I’m from England like Ringo and left-handed Paul.” “Miss Katy Perry.” #Grammys

12.  Now we get Spinal Tap’s Druids and Stonehenge done RIGHT! The horns & repeated lyric phrases work “& look at my crotch.” #Grammys

13.  Even the horses are looking up at the sky, even if the horses are dark blue. And a rap is being delivered in a serious way. #Grammys

14.  Up next – “An intimate performance by Taylor Swift…” Dear God, may it be not TOO intimate. I like moderation (& no blue horses) #Grammys

15.  Robin Thicke & his grandparents & some of their assisted living friends, a band from Illinois called “Chicago,” are next! #Grammys

16.  “Reunited a classic group” with “someone who exploded this year…We’re gonna blur the lines a little bit…” Write your own joke #Grammys

17.  The Great Thicke Grandson knows so many of the Elders’ songs! And a rapper does too! #Grammys

18.  I’ve never been to Branson (no nearby interstates) but tonight I’m blessed to be getting Branson’s finest (& with rap guy!)! #Grammys

19.  Get the Elders off the stage as now Grandson wants to tell her that he “knows she wants it.” Awful sex stuff! #Grammys


20.  I see Australian guy on short leash. He sings “You’re so innocent.” Next a guy is restrained & imitates a white singer. #Grammys

21.  I love this instrumental solo/rendition of Prince’s “When the doves cry.” Just the good notes up high on that ax! #Grammys

22.  YEA! Commercials are great too! Austin Mahone is back! I’m so glad he broke off from the rest of his domineering family. #Grammys

23.  “Your love keeps lifting me higher & higher.” As guy sniffs sheets happily, up comes warning about sniffing sheets. Huh? #GrammysCommerical

24.  9-Time Grammy Winner John Legend sings from his heart & about the value of his legal name change. Not “Novella” but “Legend.” #Grammys

25.  That closing LEGEND piano chord was to say “I’m deep.” And “this was deep.” #Grammys

26.  My wild guess!!! A song called “God Was Dead” won’t win an award! #Grammys

27.  Nirvana drummer & Beatles bass player wins something. Go Vegan! They “knocked it out in a couple of hours” NO age jokes. #Grammys

28.  “My good friend Taylor Swift.” WARNING – Perfect intonation ahead. WARNING – intonation perfect or not does not matter. 🙂 #Grammys

29.  If she doesn’t bob her head up and down fiercely the loudness level won’t rise – it will stay a sensitive ballad. WINNING bob! #Grammys

30.  For those of us who love music theory, we can notice tonight that if you’re deep, you don’t end on the One Chord. #Grammys

31.  Absolutely bizarre COINCIDENCE! John “Please Consider Me A” Legend sang at the Grammys & is singing for a car commercial #Grammys


I quickly looked away to the Twitterverse & laughed at this tweet connecting a particular Grammy performer with Mick Huckabee’s “women” statement.  (Why do some white male “Get Off My Lawn” politicians so often describe/prescribe for women?)


Mike Huckabee wants you to know he thinks Taylor Swift can control her libido and it’s totally not weird that he’s thinking about that.

32.  He sings at the Superbowl but immorally says, “Strap yourselves in…” This is not family time TV. And now Color Pink sings #Grammys

33.  I don’t follow these shows closely but I think the stripping thing is having an impact. Pink swings. Where’s her pole? #Grammys


diminutive mustache guy’s attempt to sing #Grammys

35.  I think she & mustache are singing at each other trying to one up the other. She’ll win. #Grammys

36.  Lord + e wins! “This is the one thing that I did not expect the most about tonight…” giggle #Grammys #Grammar

37.  “Unleash your love for music…” More of this double entendre language by my Grammy people. What’s with this enticing talk? #Grammys

38.  Next time I sing in public, i’ll make sure my red lipstick & my red mic match! Love these commercials! #BandPerry #Grammys

In the words of Ozzy

39.  Ozzy says, ” FTVGYJK iojhu …%^TY&ing ^TY&U*fab f^&*(ck…. Ringo Starr!” #Grammys

40.  Yea! White hair at the Grammys! Even the trumpet player is singing (fortunately without a mic). Go Ringo! #Grammys

41.  I just heard from her parents. In print her parents prefer, “Lord Plus E.” Apologies. I stand corrected. #Grammys

42.  He must be important. He’s reading from a teleprompter without a female counterpart. “The nominees are…” #Grammys

43.  Love the “all the pregnant women are like what do I got to…” And pregnant woman’s man WINS! #Grammys

44.  “I want to thank God a little bit…” A LITTLE BIT? Wow – there should be hell and damnation coming down on him soon! #Grammys

45.  Yea to Def Jam! This is the educational moment instead of DON’T DONWLOAD YOU BAD & evil stealin’ YOUNG ‘UNS. #Grammys

46.  He sings about “prison binds” & is dressed in a tight white top. Now there are more dressed in those tight whites. #Prisonmongers #Grammys

47.  This will be another one of those great nursing home anthems in 2050. The residents will all dress in white & wave their arms.

48.  An exciting new voice in country music & in case you don’t believe it, we’ve provided neon cactus as background. #Grammys

49.  That pink neon female cactus with the protruding middle finger/TALL part is about grrrrllll cccactusssss empowerment. #Grammys

50.  The most creative people are in advertising and I’m thrilled that I get to work with a lot of them! Stone time. #Grammys

51.  Julia Roberts is here as a reminder that her film needs more ticket buyers. “I’m still hot & my film is in theaters.” #Grammys

New Beatles/Paul McCartney Song

52.  Paul & Ringo will play a new song. The audience will demand it be short or sound like a Beatles song they know. #Grammys

53.  It’s what you’d expect from Paul – melodic, instantly identifiable & in a few sections a la Uncle Albert. #Grammys

54.  Legally, Yoko would not have been allowed to dance to Paul’s singing back when they were suing each other for decades. #Grammys

55.  I LOVE SEEING TWO BEATLES TOGETHER on stage or anywhere! Wonderful! #Grammys

56.  Pharrell with lots of r’s and l’s … Isn’t he one of the guys who stole Marvin Gaye’s sex song? #GRAMMYs

57.  Thanking your Mom is the best thing you can do. Very good to hear! (even if after thanking his manager.) #Grammys

58.  This can’t be! Paul just sang this song for the 1st time & Surface stole it & put it in their commercial! No way! #Grammys

59.  Finally, someone champions the color grey! #Grammys But importantly these are great musicians/artists!

60.  Awesome music history then & now here on stage. Willie & Kris & Merle! #Grammys Jokingly in 2014, Don’t do pot!|

61.  Irony and William Shattner-ism galore on stage! Just say NO to pot, shaggy hair & cowboy-as-a-career path! #Grammys

62.  More country musicians on stage (she & he as should be), this time without signifying neon cactus/cact-eye! #Grammys

63.  I didn’t see Faith Hill offstage mouthing, “WHAT?!?!?!” Was Faith there? Yes, thank Nashville & Mercury Records. #Grammys

64.  Every player on that stage should be introduced on this Daft Punk Stevie Wonder song. Punk Punk Stevie. #Grammys

65.  Sure, sing “Freak out, freak out!” but someone BADLY needs an introduction! Music history moment again! #Grammys

66.  Excellent transition to “Another Star” by Stevie Wonder! Oh yeah. The best of 1976 fits here! Great performance! #Grammys


67.  Loving many of these commercials – Google & Zorba The Greek mashup. #Grammys

68.  Cyndi Lauper is always original, self-deprecating, funny and timeless. Cool to intro Carole King from Brooklyn! #Grammys

69.  Carole & Sara work great together. Proof that age/gender/color/religion etc are to be ignored. #Grammys

70.  Oh. They gave this song away & it resulted in just a bit of success? Really? Free can lead to success? A business model! #Grammys

71.  I’m still waiting for the introduction of that musician – 3 syllables – who performed earlier with Punk Punk Stevie. #Grammys

72.  Lou Reed well-deserved accolades. Music history time again. #Grammys

73.  Jaymz Lennfield – The great & supportive Metallica! Unlike Sony, these guys are in Beatallica’s (our) corner! #Grammys

74.  Day-uhm! Metallica are more than just holding up! Nice! No rust, no decay! #Grammys

75.  Beethoven’s 9th, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Lord + E’s Royal. I’m starting to understand how popularity works. #Grammys

76.  Well, they’ve introduced the ROBOTS but no… wait, they did! Nile Rodgers has been mentioned verbally & on stage! #Grammys



77.  Oh cool! The commitment to love can only mean one thing – the freedom to date & marry! Human rights, dignity & music can work! #Grammys

78.  I was turned on to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis in 2012 by Harvard Law students. I’m very appreciative to have learned about them. #Grammys

79.  Yea! The freedom to choose friends, start to date and maybe get married. Why oppose this? Good move #Grammys

80.  Portnow usually is the worst part of the Grammys show. But this time, I predict no rant against technology. #Grammys

81.  Passing of Van Cliburn, George Jones, Ray Manzarek, McPartland, George Duke, Ramone, Winters, Cowboy Jack, Starker… #Grammys

82.  Very good Armstrong/Lambert rendition of Everly Brothers. Everlys will last. #Grammys

83.  Glad to see my friend Milt Olin mentioned as a great who recently died. I didn’t see Mulgrew Miler’s name. Was he mentioned? #Grammys

84.  Tragic that the name John Legend can sound when John LENNON is intended. My teaching moment – John Lennon was better. #Grammys

85.  Paul Williams & Nile Rodgers! Williams – 2 robots called Williams after he was sober & asked him to write music. Funny! #Grammys

86.  @john_kubicsko That’s a real shame & bad oversight. Mulgrew Miller’s passing was really significant. Thanks for letting me know, John!

87.  Pretty good Grammys show – no STOP DOWNLOADING silliness. I’m glad I watched – I rarely do. Now, back to Netflix. Dexter again? #Grammys

Dexter Not Only Murders, He Steals Film Titles


Giving Zealous Publishers Ample Reason To Live:  I Sue Therefore I Am

Referencing FILM Titles in Dexter

Dexter Not Only Murders, He Steals Intellectual Property – Part 2

Dexter – Murderer & Larcenist Of Film Titles

Dexter, Piracy & Film (Titles)

Dexter, Piracy & Film – Publisher Perils

Dexter, Piracy & Film (Titles):  I Sue Therefore I Am


This is my second blog post about DEXTER.  In the first I explored how many episodes of DEXTER were named after song lyrics and/or song titles.  In this post, I will identify episodes named after films.

The Showtime original series, DEXTER, lasted for eight (8) seasons – each season featured twelve (12) episodes.

Throughout DEXTER, I was surprised that so many titles of episodes were references to songs, lyrics or movies.  I feel strongly that creators in contemporary cultures should feel free to acknowledge, borrow, reference, copy and transform preexisting material – in these examples, words that constitute titles.  In my opinion, the titles of episodes in DEXTER that have been referenced should NOT lead to any type of legal problem or copyright infringement (although I have been a part of copyright infringement actions brought over as trivial and ridiculous similarities as these potential issues below from DEXTER).


F I L M S   (and  Dexter)

Many episodes of DEXTER are titled after titles of films.  I’ll repeat the accusatory verbs that could be hurled at the copyright owners of DEXTER by each of the potential plaintiffs below.  While to some, referencing a movie title is not a reference/cultural reference/cultural signifier as much as it is an outrageous theft of their intellectual property.  There are many who have sued over four (4), three (3) or even two (2) words that have been copied/stolen/referenced/plundered from another source by cutthroat pirates.

To repeat the accusations from a previous post, only this time with respect to movie titles:

DEXTER references film titles

DEXTER copies film titles

DEXTER steals film titles

DEXTER misappropriates film titles

DEXTER appropriates film titles

DEXTER plunders film titles

DEXTER rips off  film titles

DEXTER thieves film titles

(I use the word, “thieves,” as a verb above, humorously, as I know “thieves” is NOT a verb.)

“Referencing” film titles is the most appropriate verb above.

What follows is my take on eleven (11) DEXTER episodes that reference movie titles.


DEXTER – Season 1 Episode 12 –  Born Free.   “Born Free” was a successful 1966 British movie filmed in Kenya.  Its eponymous theme song was also famous and can be heard below.

Born Free  (IMDB)  (1966)

Born Free  (Wikipedia)

Born Free (Trailer)

Born Free  (Theme song sung by Andy Williams, with a frozen, awkwardly and uncomfortably smiling picture of Michael C. Hall (“Dexter Morgan” from DEXTER)

Many would sue for copyright infringement because two (2) words are the same, and the title of this film.


DEXTER – Season 2 Episode 2 –  Waiting To Exhale.  

Waiting To Exhale  (IMDB)  (1995)

Waiting To Exhale  (Wikipedia)

Waiting To Exhale  (Trailer)

Many would sue for copyright infringement because all three (3) words are the same, and the title of this film.


DEXTER – Season 2 Episode 3 – An Inconvenient Lie. 

The film, An Inconvenient Truth (2006), becomes the Dexter episode, An Inconvenient Lie.

An Inconvenient Truth  (IMDB)  (2006)

An Inconvenient Truth  (Wikipedia)

An Inconvenient Truth  (Trailer)

Many would sue for copyright infringement because two (2) of the three (3) words are the same, and the title of this film.


DEXTER – Season 2 Episode 6 –  Dex, Lies & Videotape.  

The film, Sex, Lies & Videotape (1989), becomes the Dexter episode, Dex, Lies & Videotape.

Sex, Lies & Videotape  (IMDB)  (1989)

Sex, Lies & Videotape  (Wikipedia)

Sex, Lies & Videotape (trailer)

Many would sue for copyright infringement because two (2) words are the same (and the 3rd word is only letter different), and the title of this film.


DEXTER – Season 2 Episode 10  –  There’s Something About Harry

The film, There’s Something About Mary  (1998), becomes the Dexter episode, There’s Something About Harry.

There’s Something About Mary  (IMDB)  (1998)

There’s Something About Mary  (Wikipedia)

There’s Something About Mary  (Trailer)

Many would sue for copyright infringement because three (3) words are the same (and the 4th word is only one letter different), and the title of this film.


DEXTER – Season 3 Episode 9  –  About Last Night. 

About Last Night  (IMDB)  (1986)

About Last Night  (Wikipedia)

About Last Night  (Trailer)

Many would sue for copyright infringement because the three (3) words are the same, and the title of this film.


DEXTER – Season 4 Episode 5 – Dirty Harry. 

Dirty Harry is the first a series of five (5) films based on San Francisco Police Inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan, played by Clint Eastwood.  The first of these films, Dirty Harry, dates from 1971 – the fifth, The Dead Pool, from 1988.

From the 1971 trailer: 

“This is about a movie about a couple of killers.  Harry Callahan and a homicidal maniac.  The one with a badge is Harry.”

Dirty Harry  (IMDB)  (1971)

Dirty Harry  (Wikipedia)

Dirty Harry  (trailer)

When it comes to DEXTER, a hammer can be an effective killing weapon, not just a metaphorical hammer that bludgeons one’s competitors (think AppleSamsung and other litigating bodies) but the REAL thing  –  the means by which one human murders another human.

Many would sue for copyright infringement because two (2) words are the same, and the title of this film.  The potential plaintiff could even more enthusiastically claim that “all two (2) words are the same.”


DEXTER – Season 5 Episode 4 – Beauty & The Beast.

There have been at least seven (7) Beauty & The Beast films from 1946-2003.  The most successful was the 1991 animated Walt Disney version.

Beauty & The Beast  (IMDB)  (1991)

Beauty & The Beast  (Wikipedia)

Beauty & The Beast  (Trailer)

Many would sue for copyright infringement because all four (4) words are the same, and the title of this film.


DEXTER – Season 6 Episode 3 – Smokey & The Bandit.

Smokey & The Bandit  (IMDB)  (1977)

Smokey & The Bandit  (Wikipedia) 

Smokey & The Bandit  (Trailer)

Many would sue for copyright infringement because all four (4) words are the same, and the title of this film.


DEXTER – Season 7 Episode 6 – Do The Wrong Thing.

The film, Do The Right Thing (1989), becomes the Dexter episode, Do The Wrong Thing.

Do The Right Thing  (IMDB)  (1989)

Do The Right Thing  (Wikipedia)

Do The Right Thing  (Trailer)

Many would sue for copyright infringement because three (3) of the four (4) words are the same, and the title of this film.  Furthermore, “The Wrong Thing” could be a parody of “The Right Thing,” and many potential plaintiffs do not like being subjected to parody and ridicule.


DEXTER – Season 8 Episode 3 – What’s Eating Dexter Morgan?

The film, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape  (1993), becomes the Dexter episode, What’s Eating Dexter Morgan?

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?  (IMDB)  (1993)

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?  (Wikipedia)

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?  (Trailer)

Many would sue for copyright infringement because two (2) of the four (4) words are the same, and the title of this film.


If this post seemed as if I have experience in this area, a penchant and a strong point of view, it is because I HAVE experience in this area with foolish lawsuits over trivial unprotect-ible (able) material – as few as two (2) or three (3) words in common between works of authorship – as well as a penchant and a strong point of view.

I will continue to explore how our society views referenced material from works of authorship, as well as how music and the arts intersect with law, business, technology and communication.  As always I welcome your input.


Making Lyrics From Other Lyrics – Fair Use & Reference – Part 1


Song Lyrics That Reference Other Song Lyrics – Part 1

Making Lyrics From Other Lyrics – Fair Use & Reference (1)

Mystikal, George Harrison & Steve Miller Stealing Lyrics?

Reference/Copy/Steal Lyrics

In many Western popular music styles and Western popular culture in general, it is not uncommon for lyrics to be referenced.  Often, lyrics, text and/or names that might not have been very important in one context receive transformative value via this re-contextualiziation.

I often explore this type of creativity and have begun to compile and categorize examples of works of authorship involving lyrics/text (and not music) that reference other works of authorship.  As of this morning, I have twelve (12) categories.  Here are the first five (5) categories:

A)  Lyrics referenced as lyrics

B)  Lyrics referenced as names of bands/artists

C)  Lyrics referenced as magazine name

D)  Lyrics referenced as names of organizations

E)  Lyrics referenced as names of companies

With respect to the first category –

“Lyrics referenced as lyrics” means that lyrics found in one particular song have been repurposed and placed into another song.  This referencing/repurposing was intentional, not subconscious.

Sometimes when lyrics are referenced they can be problematic from a copyright/legal point of view.  Referencing lyrics too closely or too substantively can potentially lead to copyright infringement.

Referencing of lyrics/text and/or music has been a respected practice in many cultures and traditions.   I have written this and will write future posts to show that in our society – Western, North American, South American, U. S. (and elsewhere) –  we commonly reference.  Culture is built by expression which is manifested by origination, accretion, reference, imitation, reproduction and other means.  (There will be a time for more nouns and verbs related to the process of creating works of authorship but that will come in future posts.)

In my opinion, in the examples below, copyright has NOT been infringed.  These are examples of fair use.

The music below is drawn from:

James Brown

The Clovers

Bob Dylan

The Four Tops

George Harrison

Steve Miller



These particular lyrics/text references likely occurred for one or more of the following reasons:

The new author liked the meaning of the lyrics.

The new author liked the sound of the lyrics.

The new author liked some or all of the lyrics’ surrounding melody, harmony, rhythms, instrumentation, loudness levels, sounds, etc. isolated or in combination and believed that the referenced lyrics could connote the same or similar meanings or feelings as the original.

The new author believed the referenced lyric would sound good/function well in the new work of authorship.

The new author wanted to pay tribute to or honor a lyricist/author and/or a lyricist/author’s specific expression.

The new author wanted to make a lyric/cultural reference – to “signify.”

The new author wanted to give the referenced lyrics new meaning by placing them in a new context.

The new author was capable of original expression but felt that referencing from the earlier source would result in original expression, i.e., the new author aimed to make original expression out of earlier expression.



James Brown’s Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag  (1965) is referenced in Mystikal’s Never Gonna Bounce  (1996).

James Brown’s Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag  (1965) – “Papa’s got a brand new bag” is first heard at 0.20.

Mystikal’s Never Gonna Bounce  (1996) – “Papa’s got a brand new bag” is first heard at 0.27-0.29.

“Papa’s got a brand new bag” is a two-second phrase that only occurs twice in James Brown’s “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag” and once in Mystikal’s “Never Gonna Bounce.”



The Clovers’ Lovey Dovey  (1954)  is referenced in Steve Miller’s The Joker  (1973).  This is a longer and more substantive quote than others in this blog post and perhaps to some this would NOT constitute fair use.  I welcome others’ opinions.

The Clovers’ Lovey Dovey  (1954) – “you the cutest thing that I did ever see, I really love your peaches want to shake your tree, lovey dovey, lovey dovey, all the time…” is heard from 0.10-0.32.

Steve Miller The Joker  (1973) – “you’re the cutest thing that I ever did see, I really love your peaches want to shake your tree, lovey dovey, lovey dovey, lovey dovey all the time…” is heard from 2.02-2.19 of this Steve Miller single, but from 1.37-1.54 of this YouTube clip.



Bob Dylan’s It’s All Over Now Baby Blue  (1965) is referenced in George Harrison’s When We Was Fab  (1988).

Bob Dylan’s It’s All Over Now Baby Blue  (1965)  – “it’s all over now, Baby Blue” is heard at





of the original studio recording of “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” from Dylan’s 1965 album, Bringing It All Back Home.

With respect to the YouTube link to the live performance provided above, “it’s all over now, Baby Blue” is heard at





George Harrison’s When We Was Fab  (1988) – “but it’s all over now, Baby Blue” is heard at 2.28-2.32.



The Four Tops’ I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)  (1965) is referenced in George Harrison’s This Song  (1976).

The Four Tops’ I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)  (1965)  – “sugar pie, honey bunch” – is first heard at 0.11-0.13.

George Harrison’s This Song  (1976) – “sugar pie, honey bunch” – is heard at 1.32-1.34.  (George Harrison’s “This Song” features several other references of text, as well as references done in humorous and sometimes veiled means.)

More posts on referencing lyrics will follow.