I remembered what I wanted to talk about, though.
Last night I was at the warehouse with a team leader who likes rap music. And this one song was playing....
The intro to the song would be immediately familiar to anyone who's got even a passing familiarity with 1980s pop music. Take the first phrase of The Police's "Every Breath You Take", in its entirety, the first fifteen or so seconds of the song before Sting starts singing.
They took this and looped it. Then the guy rapped lyrics over it. To make matters worse, they then used the chorus.
In the 1980s, Ray Parker Jr. did "Ghostbusters", and got sued by Huey Lewis and the News for using the music to "I Want a New Drug". It's not obvious, but once you know what to listen for--damn!--Parker sure as hell did lift the music. It's well-disguised, but it's there.
Huey Lewis and the News won a judgement against Ray Parker Jr. for a non-obvious case of musical plagiarism.
So how the hell do these assclowns get away with this stuff? It's not just "Every Breath You Take". There's another song which takes music and lyrics from Supertramp's "Breakfast in America"; and there are others besides. (These are just the two I recall offhand.)
The only thing I can conclude is that they get permission and/or buy rights to the audio they use. But regardless, it makes their work a derivative work, rather than an original one--much the same way Weird Al Yankovic's parody songs are derivatives. Taking someone else's music and adding your own words is not writing a new song, not even if you slice-and-dice the music with digital editing.
(Weird Al has done plenty of original works, though, many of which are meant to parody styles of music. His "Truck Drivin' Song", for example, parodies country music.)
And the music clip isn't even an original performance of the song; it's digitized directly from the commercial release.
MC Hammer's signature tune, "U Can't Touch This", borrowed the guitar riff from Rick James' "Superfreak".
In fact, the blatant ripoff of the Police's tune was more funny than anything else, though, because it was such an obvious theft that I couldn't help laughing at it.
* * *
I keep thinking, though, about the MC Hammer tune I mentioned. I've been giving some thought to getting my hands on some sequencing software and making my own version of that song, borrowing riffs from both Rick James and MC Hammer. It'd be pretty funny, especially when I added an appropriately screechy "I LIKE MY NUTS!" in there....
You see, back when MC Hammer's tune was popular, I thought a parody song called "I Like My Nuts" would be good. The riff plays, but instead of "You can't touch this", the vocalist screeches "I LIKE MY NUTS!" I billed it thus: MC Hammer's new hit, "I Like My Nuts!"
Furthering the humor of this idea was a friend of mine, who made another friend laugh by doing a beat box routine and ending each phrase with "Bad" or "B-b-b-bad."
Now that I actually have the technology I need to do something like this, I don't have the time to waste on stupid crap. Which is bad for me but good for Western Civilization, now that I think of it.