Diana Vickers in "My Wicked Heart" music video
Red Hot Chili Peppers

Talent show alumni getting sued for ripping off Under The Bridge?

Diana Vickers in "My Wicked Heart" music videoIt is not peculiar to see parts of songs or even entire songs sounding like something else. For example, Can’t Stop somehow shares the riff with Shania Twain’s Honey I’m Home and we’ve had quite a lot of discussion here regarding the similarities between Dani California and Tom Petty’s Mary Jane’s Last Dance. On the other side, for example, Franz Ferdinand’s Walking Away is using the exact same chord progression as John’s Invisible Movement, the song this website was named after. How can musicians find their way in this mess, anyway? What is whose?

Perhaps that is what the producer team behind English reality show contestant Diana Vickers had on their minds when they came up with her new song, My Wicked Heart. As many people pointed out, the song sounds a lot like Red Hot Chili Peppers’ biggest hit to date, Under The Bridge.

Ms Vickers herself was quoted as saying that the track sounds like “Florence + The Machine doing “Under The Bridge” via “Crazy Chick” with some big brassy other things thrown in. While the writer of this news item clearly remembers hearing such expert opinion on own music from some other young, aspiring artists; perhaps the big brassy things didn’t really hide the obvious.

She also said the following, in an interview quoted (but not linked) in a MTV article.
“That happened without us even knowing!” she explained. “We had the song and it didn’t have the ‘My Wicked Heart’ bit in it and then we put the vocal in and we were like, ‘Why does it sound so familiar?’”

According to British Tabloid The Sun, a source close to the Red Hots claims that a legal action will be taken against ms Vickers as she had not seeked a permission of any kind. That source also said: “She has done herself no favours by revealing she listened to the track while writing My Wicked Heart.” On the other side, A Warner/Chappell spokesperson refused to comment.

However, almost ten years ago, at his solo show in Amsterdam’s legendary venue Paradiso, John talked about ripping off T. Rex’s song “Rip Off” off a chord or two…for Under The Bridge. Does this make things any different?

Do you support legal action against Diana Vickers?

  • Yes, she totally ripped off RHCP! (24%, 84 Votes)
  • I'm undecided. She did rip RHCP, but they ripped others, too. (15%, 52 Votes)
  • No. This is not the band I liked, they used to be more known for music than public appearances and lawsuits. (33%, 115 Votes)
  • I don't care. (22%, 76 Votes)
  • Other (please, specify) (5%, 17 Votes)

Total Voters: 344

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Judge for yourself. And be civilised, by the way.

*Many thanks to Lucy for the heads-up.

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35 Comments

  • geox123

    They're making a big deal out of nothing. I listened to the song, and sure, there's no mistaking the similarity between the chorus in that song to the outro to Under the Bridge, but that's the only thing that jumps out at me. Now you can point to other sections of the song and try to nitpick notes and chords, but the fact of the matter is, it is different to Under the Bridge; I will not experience the same emotions and feelings while listening to it as I did with UtB. Do we forget that almost nothing is original anymore? What are musical influences? Hell, have we even forgotten what archetypes are? People will play and sing melodies and progressions that resemble those that they like and have experienced.

  • JanoJano

    well, i don't think it's that much of a big deal. I think it's a very obvious rip off, but I wouldn't want to make a big deal out of it. Ever listened to Miley Cyrus' (how do you spell that?) "Party in the USA"? It sounds a lot like Scar Tissue. Or Black Eyed Peas' "I Have a Feeling" and Snow Patrol's "Open Your Eyes"? As long as Diana Vickers isn't getting awards because of that song, no reason to get upset, in my opinion. Not to mention that I would hate it if RHCP did sue her (so I guess it's "Other" and the third option : P)

    • geox123

      "Party in the USA" and "Scar Tissue" comparison is far fetched; musically, they use the exact progression, but the execution is drastically different(I'm not trying to disagree with you, just pointing something out.) I see your point though, that there are similarities abound.

      • JanoJano

        true, sorry about that, i just remembered it was similar (not how similar it was), if i had bothered to listen to it before posting I probably wouldn't mention it here 😛

  • RMD

    The Sun isn't exactly the most reliable source… Besides I wouldn't be surprised if it were Warner's suing… But even if it's RHCP suing it would be a frivolous lawsuit, and probably doesn't hold much water. In terms of the rip-off scale, this is not even close to some of the bad ones (like "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" taking "Lust for Life" or something like that)

  • The Situation

    This is all a bunch of crap! This Diane Vickers song does not sound like "Under the Bridge." Nor does "Party in the USA" sound anything like "Scar Tissue."

    It bothers me when people argue about one song ripping another song off. It's music! No one owns a chord progression.

    Plus, as more and more music is made, people will be able to notice more and more similarities in songs.

    • Xpld

      exactly what I was thinking (except that -IMO-her vocals in the chorus really sound a lot like UtB).

      Another problems, next to the fact that there's an inflationary amount of music getting bigger and bigger everyday, is that you can't use any progression etc. you like in popular music, because it just doesn't appeal that much (and often it doesn't to you).
      John uses very similar progressions and ideas for "Dani California", "Unreachable" and "Time Tonight" but who cares as long as it fits the artist's expression?

      By the way: I remember Satriani being upset about "Viva la Vida", in his point of view a "If I could fly"-rip-off. Guess he didn't know that there was actually a band who wrote this melody-bit years before he did. 😀

  • Alex

    She absolutely ripped Under the Bridge. Not only is the melody and chord progression of the chorus identical, the rhythm of the melody in the first half is the same too (with the syncopation). That being said, do I think it's a huge deal? No, it's not like she used the similarity as a means to increase sales or the like, as the genre of the song is way too far removed from Under the Bridge to benefit from that. Let's not forget the show where John talked about how Under the Bridge itself was a ripoff.

  • Rip Off

    Similar to geox123, I don't see anything in this song that could be a rip off "Under The Bridge"! Even if there may be an identical chord progression, it's not a rip off! By the way, the chord progression of the outro of UTB or slight variations are used in a million of songs..

    @Alex: Under The Bridge itself is NOT a ripoff! Only the usage of a E-Major7 chord and let it ring before the chorus is a rip off. The rest of the song is INSPIRED by other songs or artists. The verses are chord progressions in Hendrix' style. The intro seems to be inspired by David Bowie's "Andy Warhol", which he played right before UTB at the concert in Hamburg in 1999, but that's only a guess.

  • lucy

    i think she could be a bit more respectful about it- she acknowledges the similarity herself but she's so 'so what' about the whole thing. I think it is inevitable that songs are going to sound a lot like other songs sometimes and it's also natural that songs people write are going to be influenced by what that person's listening to themselves (John's said himself what he was listening to at the time of making particular records) but it's like she just lifted the whole thing and is hoping that by making light of it she'll somehow just get away with it. UtB fits perfectly to her chorus, it's not just the E-major7, it's the chord progression and the rhythm too.
    I just think there's a difference between outright copying and letting your influences show through and that there's a difference between trying to claim creative ownership of a bunch of notes, which of course you can't because music as it is doesn't belong to anyone, and asserting your rights as the author of a recognised piece of music, otherwise what's the point of copyrighting anything?

  • Tim

    The chorus is just like Under the bridge and that bothers me, and she obviously knew this so she should have credited it. BUT, i wish the chilli's( or whoever it is that makes these decisions) wouldn't give this song the credit of being compared to Under the Bridge, it can't hold a candle to it, its just so empty.

  • rhcpfan1

    The songs have their similarities but it has nothing on Under The Bridge. And giving them this attention is ridiculous. They're basically putting that song up to the standards of Under The Bridge.

  • Kato

    music repeats itself, in different ways, it's a very common thing in popular music. There's even a law, where you can copy a certain part of a music sheet, but it's measured, so it's not like you can go and copy an entire part.

    anyways, getting angry at this is like getting pissed because someone else also painted with the color blue.

  • Justin Robinson

    I think it is silly for musicians and labels to sue for things like this. If a song was directly copied it would be one thing, but only the first part of that chorus sounds like the end of UTB. A testament to using similar progressions would by the choruses of Scar Tissue and By the Way, and the verses of Soul to Squeeze. Ever notice how similar those are? Does that make them copies of one another? Is it only ok because it's the same artist? If I use a variation of that progression do I deserve to be sued?

    I believe in giving credit where credit is due and if the artist acknowledges the influence of one song on another in such a small case as this, then it's fine.

  • mikestopcontinues

    Art is the art of artful theft. No creative idea is an island, but a leaf in a book and a book in a library of ideas, connections, and generations of building on the backs of yesterdays towers. The song is different enough from under the bridge that it qualifies as something new and there should be no lawsuit.

    That said, the current laws surrounding copyrights are bullshit and RHCP's record label could probably make a lot of money by suing. I really do doubt the band itself is behind this, as they have very little to gain from it anyway. :\

  • geox123

    No worries, haha. I actually had not noticed that they were similar in that aspect until you pointed it out.

  • Copycat

    The most recent copyright infringement debacle is Men at Work sued for their song Down Under having a similar riff to that of a song called Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree.

    The most famous copyright case is George Harrison being sued by the Chiffons. Chiffons claimed that Harrison stole their song He's So Fine and used it in My Sweet Lord. Harrison lost that case. It is a very interesting case to read and anyone interested in this subjec t should read it.

    Every song written is likely a mix of all that the writer has heard and is inspired by. But when is it a copy is always tricky. As for this UTB situation. It seems that some simple adjustments could have cured it.

  • Jeff

    THIS SONG SOUNDS NOTHING LIKE UNDER THE BRIDGE. COME ON RHCP WTF?

    You can't sue somebody for having a NOTE next to ANOTHER note at a tempo of 90bpm and then cycling through it four times in the chorus. It's way too arbitrary. The chorus in this song and UTB are NOTHING alike. Even if the melody pattern is similar, they are STILL NOTHING ALIKE.

    Under the Bridge to me is MUCH more than a bunch of notes and for RHCP to sue this woman tells me that Under the Bridge means nothing more to RHCP than a bunch of notes that sound like dollar bills. Forget the addiction, the honesty, the humbling down of oneself – anyone with half a brain can see Wicked Heart is about none of these things – so for RHCP to sue her means they think UTB means nothing, because how else could they compare these songs?

  • Andrew

    damn.
    pink floyd didn`t sue andrew lloyd webber for ripping off "echoes" in "phantom of the opera".
    and phantom of the opera main riff sounds 100% like echoes main riff.

    by the way,
    unreachable,carvel,she looks to me,dark/light have almost the same chord progressions.
    and a lot of songs use infamous "C G AM F" chord proggression.
    under the bridge also.
    i want to hold your hand by the beatles is an early example of using these chords.
    i hear C G AM F chords everywhere nowadays also.
    by the way,
    you know that all lady gaga hits has the same chords?
    verse:
    AM(sometimes AM,G)
    Chorus:
    Am F C G

  • Justin Robinson

    You say that, but if someone stole your song and made money off of it while you were struggling barely able to feed yourself, I think you'd change your mind.

  • jesse

    I didnt know echoes had a main riff lol
    I didnt see any similarities between under the bridge and that song
    not any that jumped out at me

  • lukaT

    I'm just wondering, when you say that RHCP sue someone, is it Anthony and Flea who do it? It just seems unbelievable to me that they would waste time on such things.

    And by the way, this song is plain dumb if you ask me, I wouldn't even bother listening to it all to the end.

  • Rob

    There's a difference between ripping off a single chord, like the Chilis did in Under The Bridge. John says he only ripped off the single mayor 7th chords. She on the other hand copied one of the most famous melodies ever. I think thats a different ripp off and the chilis have every right to sue her.
    If she would have asked, there would have been no problem, cause the Chilis already had someone do a cover of Under the Bridge. A German girls group or something like that.

  • JanoJano

    ooh crap, anthony decided to sue her. I feel like saying "you're better than that" to both of them >: (

  • reality check

    as a music genius once said :the bad artist copies,the great artist steals!in this case its a copy!!

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