Is Uptown Funk plagiarism and what else was ‘stolen’ (borrowed!) in disco

Uptown-Funk-Mark-Ronson-Bruno_Mars

This week the message came that Uptown Funk would be plagiarism. The Sequence, a rap group from the eighties (with no hits on their name) claimed the song would be quite like their song Funk You Up. I think the simularities are very very very little, but there are several cases where it is more obvious.

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Chic

The group Chic and other projects of Nile Rodgers is known as a common source for inspiration. One of the first rap records, Rapper’s Delight from the Sugarhill Gang, borrowed the groove from Good Times. For the bass player it was a big challenge: he was told to play the same bass line for about a quarter of an hour! A little later (about 20 years later), Mojo borrowed a part of Soup For One for their song Lady (Hear Me Tonight). The group also produced Sheila & the B. Devotion, who had the hit Spacer. The melody was later used by Alcazar in their song Crying At The Discotheque. Diana Ross had also several songs which were produced by Chic. One of them, I’m Coming Out, was used by the Notourious B.I.G. for the song Mo Money Mo Problems.

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Will Smith

The song He’s The Greatest Dancer by Sister Sledge was borrowed for a hit of Will Smith, who actually is the king of sampling. His hit as DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, Summertime, was based on Summer Madness by Kool & the Gang. Ring My Bell by Anita Ward was recorded with a new text, Boom! Shake The Room uses Jump from Kris Kross, which at its own uses quite a lot of samples, including I Want You Back from the Jackson 5. The Men In Black uses Forgets Me Nots by Patrice Rushen, which also was used in George Michael’s Fastlove, Miami uses And The Beat Goes On by the Whispers and Wild Wild West uses parts of I Wish by Stevie Wonder.

Can You Feel It by the Jacksons has been used for the song Feel It by the Tamperer. The original song was inspired by Marvin Gaye’s Got To Give It Up. In the same year, Michael Jackson sung Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough, which was even more inspired by Marvin Gaye. In 2013, Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams released their hit Blurred Lines, which (according to a federal jury) copies parts of Got To Give It Up.

This at least shows there have been more obvious cases of ‘plagiarism’. Everyone (especially in disco/dance music) is inspired by several other artists and that’s nothing bad, I think. But some artists don’t quite like that. And about the Sequence: you may want to listen to the similarities with the first record on their label, Rapper’s Delight (Sugarhill Gang). Plagiarism?

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Posted on February 26, 2016, in Articles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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