googled06bb313055e587a.html Rock N Roll Rehab for the Control Of Rock and Roll Starring Greg Piper and The Tooners: Anatomy Of A Song: I Love You

Anatomy Of A Song: I Love You

In my blog posting and Yahoo article The Homage Method Of Song Writing I stated that it is sometimes better to knowingly copy a hit song than try to be completely original. The idea being that if you consciously know you’re copying a particular tune you’ll know how much you need to change it to escape being accused of plagiarism and copyright infringement. But sometimes the cosmos decides it doesn’t want you to get away with it.

Greg Piper and I co-wrote a song called I Love You for The Tooners. Yes, I know that title isn’t very original to start with but that was the least of our problems as it turned out. I wrote the music and the melody and lyrics for the chorus and Greg wrote the melody and lyrics for the verses.

I wanted to write a “Jingle Jangle” folk rock pop tune and consciously altered the into to Simon and Garfunkle’s classic The Sound Of Silence. Although it should be played on a Rickenbacker 12 string guitar for the full effect, I recorded it in The Tooners’ usual style but the riff is based on The Sound Of Silence.

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For the verse I continued the lick but changed the beat and added staccato chords based on the old Bad Finger hit No Matter What.

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So far so good. I got the effect I wanted and I don’t think anyone would say I ripped off Paul Simon or Bad Finger. But then Greg’s wife Jacki discovered an old hit from 1968 on Youtube called I Love You and Greg sent it to me. There certainly are other songs called I Love You so I wasn’t overly concerned and I immediately recognized the song when I heard it. I was a junior high school kid when this song by a band called People made it to number fourteen on the charts and although I doubt I ever heard it again since 1968 until now, I did remember it. I was shocked by what I heard.

People’s I Love You has a very similar guitar line that’s picked and alternates with the chorus line I Love You. Since both songs have the exact same words the similarities really stuck out especially as our song also has the line alternating with a picked guitar riff.

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The verses were almost as bad as both songs had the chords strummed in a quick staccato fashion and the tag line on the end of the People version, “and I don’t know what to say” was simulated in our version by an instrumental tag line.

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The “smoking gun” in this song writing crime comes at the very end. On the People version the instruments drop back so the guitar is featured as in the beginning and at the very end is a jazzy sounding 6th chord. On our version the vocals only come in every other time and at the very end is a very jazzy sounding 6th chord.

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In our version the chord come from the end of an old Beatles song, She Loves You, I think. I thought I Love You was far enough away from She Loves You that no one would notice but writing this song is like stealing a car that you think no one will miss and then find out it was used in a murder and there’s an APB out on it. Karma strikes no matter what.


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