Should The Rolling Stones Sue Badfinger?


The 4th “SHOULD” post.  The 4th “You stole my 3-4-5-8” post.

OK, this is getting long.  How long will this 3-4-5-8 be stretched out?  The answer?  I’ll end this 3-4-5-8 posts with the next installment of the series:  the 5th “SHOULD” post.  But for today –

Today’s songs and potential case:

The Rolling Stones – Street Fighting Man  (1968)

Badfinger – Come And Get It (1970)

My last three posts have featured pairs of songs that feature the same four (4) notes –  3-4-5-8  -prominently in their choruses/hooks.  The songs and potential case from the previous post:

Badfinger – Come And Get It  (1970)  v.  XTC –  Then She Appeared  (1992)

The songs and potential case from the post before that (February 27, 2014):

XTC –  Then She Appeared (1992)  v.  Toby Keith – Red Solo Cup (2011)

The songs and potential case from the post before that (February 24, 2014):

Toby Keith – Red Solo Cup (2011)  v.  Sebastian Mikael – Last Night ft. Wale (2013)

I raised the possibilities and reasons why these songs could be in litigation – all of those songs feature the 3-4-5-8 melody.  I did NOT take a side – my purpose was to be illustrative and solicit responses.  I heard “Last Night” by Sebastian Mikael for the first time as I was driving home from the airport in Nashville Sunday night (February 23, 2014) and couldn’t help but notice the 3-4-5-8’s jumping out of the car radio.  That led to an investigation of the 3-4-5-8 melody as well as the music of Sebastian Mikael, Toby Keith, XTC, Badfinger and now The Rolling Stones.


Today I ask a related question and what would be a precedent to the Badfinger v. XTC case which was a precedent to the XTC v. Toby Keith case which was a precedent to the Toby Keith v. Sebastian Mikael case  – namely, should The Rolling Stones sue Badfinger for stealing the 3-4-5-8 of The Rolling Stones?  (Again, all of these are, to my knowledge, hypothetical cases.)  A funny twist to this is that it would be The Rolling Stones suing their friend Paul McCartney as McCartney wrote “Come And Get It.”  (Here is Paul McCartney singing and playing every instrument on his song, Come And Get It.  He allowed Badfinger to record it if they stuck to it as faithfully as he demanded.  This recording is from The Beatles Anthology 3, a must have double CD.)

The 3-4-5-8 occurs prominently twelve (12) times in The Rolling Stones’  Street Fighting Man  (1968).

The Rolling Stones – Street Fighting Man  (1968)

0.35  except to sing for (a rock n roll band)

0.39  cause in sleepy

0.40  London town there’s

0.42  just no place for a street fighting (man)

1.20  except to sing for (a rock n roll band)

1.24  cause in sleepy

1.25  London town there’s

1.27  just no place for a street fighting (man)

2.10  except to sing for (a rock n roll band)

2.14   cause in sleepy

2.15  London town there’s

2.17  just no place for a street fighting (man)

Badfinger – Come And Get It (1970)

The 3-4-5-8 occurs frequently and prominently in Badfinger’s Come And Get It although slightly modified with a repeated “5” and “8”  –   3-4-5-5-8-8-8.  (As the song progresses, the  3-4-5-8 that usually features the lyrics “if you want it here it is” and “if you want it anytime” changes from 3-4-5-8 to 8-6-5-5 and other non-3-4-5-8 melodies.)

Badfinger’s Come And Get It (1970, U.S. release)

0.05  if you want it here it is

0.15  if you want it any time

0.38  if you want it here it is

0.51  if you want it here it is

1.02  if you want it any time


Should The Rolling Stones sue Badfinger over the 3-4-5-8 melody that was so prominent in their Street Fighting Man and so prominent in Badfinger’s Come And Get It?  As I’ve stated before, there are music copyright infringement lawsuits in the courts in 2014 that involve NO melodic similarity.


2 Replies to “Should The Rolling Stones Sue Badfinger?”

  1. Well had to practice a little law and I’m back and there are quite a few new posts. I sure never saw this coming. But this should make a most interesting class tommorow, starting with Toby and through Sir Paul.
    BTW, Dr. H, if you have time to monitor these from the road, best of luck with your Harvard presentation tommorow. I mean, like break a …shoe string or an important hyperlink or something.

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