The Ongoing History of New Music, Encore Presentation: Unfortunate Sonic Coincidences

Here are a couple of musical terms that you may already know:

  • EARWORM: When a clip of a song keeps running through your head on a loop over and over and over again.
  • MONDEGREEN: A misheard lyric. A great example is in “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix. He sings “‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky.” Some people heard that as “‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy.” Music is riddled with mondegreens.

I propose that we need a third term, a word that describes the feeling/opinion that overcomes us when we believe one song sounds almost exactly like another.

You know exactly what I’m talking about. You hear a brand new song for the first time and there’s that sense of deja vu as your brain tries to correlate its musical database with what you’re hearing. And when all the processing is complete, you may think (a) Hey! Someone has ripped off [artist x]! Or (b), “Uh-oh. Someone’s gonna get sued.”

But it’s actually not that simple. Welcome to the murky world of unfortunate sonic coincidences.

Songs here and/or referenced to in this program include:

The Beatles, Ob-bla-di Ob-bla-da

Offspring, Why Don’t You Get a Job

Dandy Warhols, Bohemian Like You

Rolling Stones, Brown Sugar

Delta Goodrem, Sitting on Top of the World

Arcade Fire, Rebellion (Lies)

Tom Petty, Mary Jane’s Last Dance

Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dani California

Sam Smith, Stay With Me

Tom Petty, I Won’t Back Down

Oasis, Shakermaker

New Seekers, I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing

Joe Satrini, If I Could Fly

Coldplay, Viva la Vida

Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley

Iggy Pop, Lust for Life

U2, Desire

Jet, Are You Gonna Be My Girl

Sum 41, Still Waiting

Nek, Al Menos Ahora

Foo Fighters, Something from Nothing

Ronnie James Dio, Holy Diver

Elastica, Connection

Wire, Three Girl Rhumba

Nirvana, Come As You Are

Killing Joke, Eighties

Green Day, Brain Stew

Chicago, 25 or 6 to 4

Led Zeppelin, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You

Peter, Paul and Mary, Leaving on a Jet Plane

New Order, Run

Marvin Gaye, Got to Give It Up

Robin Thicke, Blurred Lines

Spirit, Taurus

Led Zeppelin, Stairway to Heaven

Eric Wilhite has collected all of the above in a single playlist so you can hear exactly what I’m droning on about.

Don’t forget that you can get the podcast version of this podcast through iTunes or wherever you get your on-demand audio.

The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:

We’re still looking for more affiliates in Calgary, Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor,  Montreal, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and St John’s and anywhere else with a transmitter. If you’re in any of those markets and you want the show, lemme know and I’ll see what I can do.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

2 thoughts on “The Ongoing History of New Music, Encore Presentation: Unfortunate Sonic Coincidences

  • September 2, 2017 at 12:01 am

    This one has had me curious for awhile.
    Songs that sound remarkably the same, yet are somewhat different.
    An example I use are these 2 songs

    The Offspring – Dirty Magic

    Nirvana – Come As You Are

    The intro guitar pieces are remarkably similar, to the point of asking if Cobain, Noodles & Dexter Holland were in the same room together, or used the same recording studio & overheard the song, liked the music & copied it.

  • September 16, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    Pop Will Eat Itself’s Come As You Are tribute samples Killing Joke 🙂


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