Top 20 Sound Alike Songs
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 20 Sound Alike Songs.
For this list, we’re choosing songs that...well, sound alike! We’ll be excluding cases of sampling, so there’ll be no “Ice Ice Baby” today - but make sure to check out our list of the Top 20 Ripoff Songs for more on that!
What song sounded TOO similar in your opinion? Let us know in the comments!
#20: The Police “Roxanne” (1978) vs Bruno Mars “Locked Out of Heaven” (2012)
It's easy to see why a legal case was never drafted here. While that first chord hit does set your expectations to “Roxanne”, the song that follows is something wholly different. In fact, if anything, “Can't Stand Losing You” might have a stronger case, at least in passing. Bruno Mars openly admitted that he not only loves the Police, but that this track was intentionally influenced by them, and to his credit it does sound like an early reggae & punk era Police track. And besides, borrowing a bit of the Police is nothing new. Just ask Rihanna or Stevie Nicks.
#19: Oasis “Wonderwall” (1995) vs Oasis “D'You Know What I Mean?” (1997)
Given his reputation as a habitual unauthorized tribute-smith, it was only a matter of time before Noel Gallagher borrowed a little bit of something from one of the biggest bands of his era: Oasis. While “Wonderwall” and “D'You Know What I Mean?” do have different vocal melodies and lyrics, all you need to do to confirm their sameness is swap out your acoustic guitar for an electric one and play along at home. Fortunately for Gallagher's sake, he seems to have gotten away with celebrating his influences this time, as “Wonderwall”'s songwriter, Noel Gallagher has – to date at least – not taken legal action.
#18: Chicago “25 or 6 to 4” (1970) vs. Green Day “Brain Stew” (1996)
It may be hard to think of the punk-pop rockers ever crossing paths with the rock/jazz fusion outfit, but you have to admit that “Brain Stew”’s intro sure sounds a lot like the 1970 Chicago single “Twenty-Five Or Six To Four.” It would hardly be the only time the threesome would dip into the oldies either. Still, with no known lawsuits in the Chicago matter, maybe it’s a fair cop. And besides, don’t they both remind you of another tune, more specifically this one by Led Zep?
#17: Spoon “I Turn My Camera On” (2005) vs Kelly Clarkson “All I Ever Wanted” (2010)
Firstly it's worth noting that Kelly Clarkson's track, “All I Ever Wanted” is a cover, previously written and recorded by the band Aranda (uh-RAN-duh), so whatever hypothetical, strictly academic so-called copying does not involve her directly. Nonetheless, that bass and drum groove does sound a fair bit like Spoon's “I Turn My Camera On”. However, Spoon's track lacks “All I Ever Wanted”'s explosive chorus, making them different – yet occasionally similar. So while “All I Ever Wanted” lists three songwriters across six publishing companies, none are Spoon's Britt Daniel or his Precious Fluids Publishing company.
#16: The Who “Baba O’Riley” (1971) vs. One Direction “Best Song Ever” (2013)
Okay, so it’s dressed up a lot with modern flash and glam, but isn’t that totally Pete Townshend’s power chord riff under there? Teenage ripoff? Whoa, yeah. For his part, Townshend himself didn’t bat an eyelash and let the boy band’s homage pass credit and royalty-free, claiming there are really only so many chords out there. That may also explain 1D’s 2012 single, “Live While We’re Young,” which quickly drew comparisons to The Clash. By the way, does Tom Cruise know he’s in this video?
#15: The Alan Parsons Project “Eye in the Sky” (1982) vs Lady Antebellum “Need You Now” (2009)
Critics, fans, and just about anyone who'd ever listened to a classic rock radio station were quick to point out “Need You Now” – a massively successful country-pop crossover for Lady Antebellum – sounded just a bit familiar. For her part, the band's vocalist and song co-writer Hillary Scott claimed to have never even heard of Alan Parsons or his namesake project, which, as “Eye in the Sky” predates Scott herself by four years, is plausible. As for Parsons, while he conceded he was aware the public at large noted a certain similarity, he himself expressly offered “no comment” on the matter.
#14: The Beatles “Lady Madonna” (1968) vs. Sublime “What I Got” (1996)
It may not make sense to copy the biggest band in the history of everything, but then again… it kinda does. While we can’t say for sure that the ska punk rockers had the Paul McCartney-penned pop song on their Walkmans when they recorded their most successful radio single, the songs are in the same key and have nearly indistinguishable melodies. Also, while not present, “Lady Madonna”’s signature riff does tuck in nicely throughout much of “What I Got,” so we think that’s a mash-up waiting to happen.
#13: Led Zeppelin “Stairway to Heaven” (1971) vs Dolly Parton “We Used To” (1975)
Well, it doesn't take a musicologist to catch this one. While the issue of whether or not Jimmy Page found “Stairway to Heaven”'s intro elsewhere has been legally contested, in Dolly's case, the matter is much more open and shut. Despite coming to fame alongside Porter Wagoner, and being a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Dolly Parton is actually a big Led Zep fan – a big enough fan to reuse a bit of “Stairway”'s intro, and a big enough fan to eventually cover the track in full. Regardless, Page and company seemingly never took issue to the musical nod.
#12: “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” (1806) VS. “The A.B.Cs” (1835)
Why were these songs so easy to memorize as a kid? It might have something to do with them having the exact same melody. They both originate from the great Mozart, who wrote variations on the tune in the 1780s inspired by the French nursery rhyme “Ah! Vous dirai-je, maman” (ah vous dee-RAYJJJ maman), which was originally written by composer Louis Le Maire. Then in 1835, a man named Charles Bradlee fitted the educational lyrics over top, and the rest is history. The same melody also forms the basis for “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” although with slightly different emphasis. Now you know your A.B.C.s!
#11: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” (1993) vs. Red Hot Chili Peppers “Dani California” (2006)
For two artists who are talented in their own right, these two tracks sure do sound a lot alike. In fact, their groove-establishing chord progressions are only one note away from sameness, which is both a major and minor difference depending how you look at it. Petty himself doubted any malicious purpose on the Peppers’ part and even said that many songs just sound similar. As we’ll see later, the man was never too bothered with borrowed riffs.
#10: Madonna “Express Yourself” (1989) vs. Lady Gaga “Born This Way” (2011)
Well, we’re certainly not the first to point this one out, as even the Material Girl herself expressed that these two sound alike. While Gaga claims there was no intentional copying, she has stated that both songs follow the same chord progression and has also cited Madonna as one of her major influences… not that she had to. Meanwhile, Madge’s take on the similarity runs the range of mildly miffed to honored, depending on when you ask her.
#9: Arcade Fire “Rebellion (Lies)” (2005) vs Delta Goodrem “Sitting on Top of the World” (2012)
Well, on paper at least, there's no professional overlap between “Rebellion (Lies)” and Delta Goodrem's (good-rum ish) “Sitting on Top of the World”, and if the Arcade Fire camp took any issue to the similarities between the two tracks, they haven't done so formally. Nonetheless, fans and critics in Goodrem's native Australia, and frankly, anywhere else ears can be found, have noted a striking resemblance between the two. While Delta's track features a new melody and original lyrics, the music itself sounds like the Arcade Fire song got a bit of the Alvin and the Chipmunks treatment.
#8: ABBA “Dancing Queen” (1976) vs. Shania Twain “C’est la Vie” (2002)
While on first listen, these two songs are beyond different, we can’t help but think we’ve heard Shania’s chorus before. Fan or not, ABBA’s music was inescapable in the 1970s. The band experienced a level of fame only matched by The Beatles, and like the Fab Four, they are still praised to this day for their quality of song-craft. All of this makes the Swedish group a perfect model for pop song composition. But choosing a band’s biggest song as the inspiration for your own single might not be the safest move.
#7: Beyoncé “Halo” (2009) vs. Kelly Clarkson “Already Gone” (2009)
Pay attention, we’re cracking this one wide open. While even the most casual ear will pick up the sameness of these two songs, the paper trail shows something very concrete: the same co-writer. OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder played a part in writing both of these tunes and while we can’t be sure what parts he wrote for each, “Halo” was completed but not yet released when he moved on to “Already Gone.” This led Kelly Clarkson to allege that he had reused the former’s musical arrangement on hers, though Tedder has denied this. Despite her best efforts to have it shelved, Clarkson’s song ended up on her album “All I Ever Wanted”.
#6: Metallica “Sad but True” (1993) vs Avenged Sevenfold “This Means War” (2014)
Music fans are funny. They'll complain when bands sound like Metallica, they'll complain when Metallica doesn't... Borrowing a title and hook from an uncredited Daffy Duck, Avenged Sevenfold's “This Means War” does seem to share a lot of its musicality with Metallica's “Sad But True” – from the sparse, but hammering intro, to the Hetfieldesque chugging rhythm guitar, and the equally Hetfield-esque vocal melody and delivery. Machine Head's Robb Flynn even called AX7 out on it, and Sevenfold vocalist M. Shadows agreed, but beyond that there's been no formal action from Metallica, while song credits and royalties have gone unchanged.
#5: Berlin “Take My Breath Away” (1986) vs Lady Gaga “Paparazzi”
“Paparazzi” is the fifth single from Lady Gaga’s breakout album “The Fame”, and is still one of her biggest songs to date, reaching number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. But have you ever noticed just how much “Paparazzi”'s chorus sounds like the best known member of Berlin's back-catalog. Admittedly, you have to look past Gaga's anthemic pop trappings, and past Berlin's synthetic string section, but those vocal melodies are a quirky mashup waiting to happen.
#4: The Beatles “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” (1968) vs. The Offspring “Why Don’t You Get a Job?” (1998)
What is it with 90’s rock acts and their affinity for Beatles’ chorus lines?While both of these songs are in different keys, they do follow the same tune and share the same general feel and flow. The ska punk band has also been accused of lifting elements of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Cecilia”… but take a listen and decide for yourself.
#3: TLC “No Scrubs” (1999) vs Ed Sheeran “Shape of You” (2017)
How much does that “Shape of You” pre-chorus sound like “No Scrubs”? Enough that Ed Sheeran decided to avoid any legal trouble and quietly add “No Scrubs” writers Kandi Burruss, Tameka Cottle, and Kevin Briggs to the credits. Given Sheeran's troubles elsewhere with the estate of Marvin Gaye, and songwriter Matt Cardle, this was quite likely a preventive measure on Sheeran's part. But, with Ed's peacekeeping efforts we'll never know how this might have played out in court, even if he was already found guilty in the court of public opinion.
#2: Iggy Pop “Lust For Life” (1977) vs. Jet “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” (2003)
While many called the Aussie rockers out on dipping into the Iggy well in 2003, Jet has claimed to have gone straight to the source: Motown. In fact, Pop and his “Lust for Life” co-writer David Bowie did the very same; they used Martha and the Vandellas as well as The Supremes as starting points, proving that “you can’t hurry love,” and you can’t beat a classic… but there’s no harm in trying! Despite the two tracks’ popularity and being so openly inspired by other songs, no papers have been served and no legal battles have ensued so far.
Before we get to our top pick, here are some honorable mentions:
- U2 “Staring at the Sun” (1997) vs. Gorillaz “Feel Good Inc.” (2005)
- The White Stripes “Ugly as I Seem” (2005) vs. Kid Rock “Born Free” (2010)
- Metallica “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” (1986) vs. Misfits “Helena” (1999) (huh-LAY-nuh)
- Sara Bareilles “Brave” (2013) vs. Katy Perry “Roar” (2013)
#1: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers “American Girl” (1977) vs The Strokes “Last Nite” (2001)
If you're going to try to sound like somebody, the late great Tom Petty is as good as anyone else. With radio ready hits, broad, multi-generational appeal, and a laid back rock and roll attitude, Petty not only had a back-catalog to kill for, but was also pretty unlikely to sic the lawyers on you. Such was the case when the Strokes openly admitted in interviews to copping the intro and general structure to the Heartbreaker classic “American Girl” and morphing it into their 2001 single “Last Nite”. Tom's response? “Okay, good for you.”