6 Pop songs that Rip Off Classical Music

Kevin Winter / Getty Images for Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest / EA SPORTS BOWL
Kevin Winter / Getty Images for Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest / EA SPORTS BOWL

Musicians have always lifted tunes from each other. Stravinsky borrowed from Tchaikovsky, who rearranged Mozart, who stole from Beethoven, who took local folk songs and made them his own, and on down the line.

Of course, these composers were always pretty creative when it came to thievery. Here are six recent(ish) pop songs that were either influenced by famous classical melodies, or sample actual tunes and use them in the fabric of the song. I leave it up to you to judge whether or not they do justice to the originals.

1. "Coming 2 America" by Ludacris

Released: on the album Word of Mouf (2001)
Stolen from: Mozart's Requiem
And also: Dvorak's Symphony No. 9
More specifically: Mozart's Dies irae; Dvorak: 4th movement (Allegro con fuoco)

Fast Fact: Ludacris' real name is Chris Bridges.

2. "Someone to Call My Lover" by Janet Jackson

Released: on the album All for You (2001)
Stolen from: Gymnopédie No. 1 by Erik Satie
More specifically: Notice how the songwriters took the original tune in 3/4 and rejiggered it to fit the standard 4/4 beat of a pop song.
Fast Fact: Janet Jackson is the only performer to be nominated for the Grammy in Pop, Rock, Dance, Rap and R&B.

3. "Road to Joy" by Bright Eyes

Released: on the album I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning (2005)
Stolen from: Beethoven's 9th Symphony
More specifically: the "Ode to Joy" tune, based on the poem by German writer Friedrich Schiller. (Road/Ode, get it?)
Fast Fact: Beethoven wasn't the only composer who went deaf. Here are 5 others you should know about.

4. "Symphony in X Major" by Xzibit

Released: on the album Man vs. Machine (2002)
Stolen from: Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major
More specifically: the first movement, entitled Allegro

Fast Fact: Bach used his name as a musical theme in one of his greatest works, The Art of the Fugue. In the German system of notation, "˜B' is Bb and "˜H' is B natural, so he was able to use this tune: Bb, A, C, B.

5. "I Can" by Nas

Released: on the album God's Son (2003)
Stolen from: Beethoven's Für Elise
Fast Fact: The Beethoven piece is actually called Bagatelle in A Minor. But he dedicated it to a certain Elise, which is where the more popular title comes from

6. "They" by Jem

Released: on the debut album Finally Woken (2005)
Stolen from: Bach's Prelude in F minor from Book II of the Well-Tempered Clavier
More specifically: the Swingle Singers 1963 adaptation
Fast Fact: Jem is short for Jemma Griffiths.

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

The Most Popular Songs Named After Each Country

Burst, Pexels // Public Domain
Burst, Pexels // Public Domain

Geography is a popular source of inspiration for many songwriters. When a musician sings about their home country, it can be a way to express patriotism—or criticism. Crooning about a foreign place, on the other hand, is a way to transport listeners to a different part of the world. Inserting place names into lyrics is so common, nearly every country on Earth has a song named after it. Budget Direct compiled the most popular of these songs in the map below.

To make the graphic, the insurance website searched every country name on Spotify and picked the songs with the highest play counts. The most-played track on the map is "China" by Anuel AA with 631,980,232 streams. Though the lyrics don't actually mention the country, the artist claims China's influence can be heard in the song's rhythm.

"Born in The U.S.A." by Bruce Springsteen is the most popular song named after the United States, which is funny considering the song's not-so-patriotic message. "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" from Evita, "Russian Roulette" by Rihanna, and "Walk Like an Egyptian" by The Bangles are a few of the other hit songs that make the map. Some entries, like the national anthem of Bosnia and Herzegovina, are deeper cuts.

You can check out the full map of popular songs named after countries below. And if you'd like to continue your musical tour of the world, Budget Direct put together a Spotify playlist of the tracks here.

Budget Direct//CC BY-SA 4.0