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.

YouTube Will Air a Different Andrew Lloyd Webber Musical for Free Each Friday

Broadway legend Andrew Lloyd Webber in 2018.
Broadway legend Andrew Lloyd Webber in 2018.
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Broadway may have temporarily shut down all productions to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, but Andrew Lloyd Webber is here to make sure that musical theater aficionados still get their fill of top-notch content for the foreseeable future.

According to Broadway Direct, Webber’s production company, The Really Useful Group, has partnered with Universal on a new YouTube channel called “The Shows Must Go On!,” which will air a different Webber musical each Friday at 2 p.m. EST on YouTube. If you can’t tune in right at that time, don’t worry—the show will stay posted for 48 hours after it airs.

The series debuted last Friday, April 3, with 1999’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which stars Donny Osmond in the titular role and an ultra-talented supporting cast with Richard Attenborough, Maria Friedman, Joan Collins, and more. This week’s offering, tying in nicely with Easter, will be the 2012 Live Arena Tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, featuring Tim Minchin, Melanie C—a.k.a. the Spice Girls’ Sporty Spice—and Ben Forster. (If you’re interested in comparing it with 2018’s live concert version with John Legend and Sara Bareilles, you can catch that on NBC this Sunday.)

The schedule for future Fridays hasn’t been released yet, but Webber did mention in the announcement that it’ll include what he calls “the most important one, my disaster musical, By Jeeves,” a 1975 production based on P.G. Wodehouse’s classic stories. Other potential productions that could be part of the series include The Phantom of the Opera, Evita, School of Rock, and, of course, Cats.

In addition to full-length Broadway musicals, the channel will also post individual songs and behind-the-scenes content about how musicals go from stage to screen. You can subscribe to the channel here so you don’t miss any opportunity for a living room singalong.

[h/t Broadway Direct]

The 48 Most Frequently Banned Wedding Songs

Bogdan Kurylo/iStock via Getty Images
Bogdan Kurylo/iStock via Getty Images

Who among us hasn't attended a wedding and cringed at the playlist? In 2017, stats/polling site FiveThirtyEight asked more than two dozen professional DJs who had DJ’d around 200 weddings what songs couples ban from their weddings and, after surveying 182 wedding playlists, came up with a list of 48 songs. They gave each song a percentage, which represents the share of weddings that banned the song.

The first 10 on the list represent silly dances people like to do but shouldn’t do, like The Chicken Dance, The Macarena, and The Electric Slide. After that, the list starts to see overplayed songs like “Don’t Stop Believin',’” “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” “Dancing Queen,” and “Sweet Caroline,” and call-and-response songs like “Shout.” The list contains a mix of new and old hip-hop, R&B, and pop hits, and several songs ended up tied.

Interestingly, a few songs from FiveThirtyEight’s 2016 ultimate wedding playlist also appear on the banned list, including “Hey Ya!,” “Uptown Funk,” “Sweet Caroline,” and “Call Me Maybe.”

You may or may not agree with this list, but don’t feel bad if you decide to ban any of these songs from your own wedding playlist—chances are, someone out there agrees with you.

  1. “The Chicken Dance”

  1. “Cha-Cha Slide” // DJ Casper

  1. “Macarena” // Los Del Rio

  1. “Cupid Shuffle” // Cupid

  1. “YMCA” // Village People

  1. “Electric Boogie (Electric Slide)” // Marcia Griffiths

  1. “Hokey Pokey”

  1. “Wobble” // V.I.C.

  1. “Happy” // Pharrell Williams

  1. “Shout” // Isley Brothers

  1. “Love Shack” // The B-52's

  1. “We Are Family” // Sister Sledge

  1. “Blurred Lines” // Robin Thicke

  1. “Celebration” // Kool & The Gang

  1. Cotton Eye Joe” // Rednex

  1. “Dancing Queen” // ABBA

  1. “Don’t Stop Believin’” // Journey

  1. “Single Ladies” // BeyoncÉ

  1. “Sweet Caroline” // Neil Diamond

  1. “Turn Down for What” // DJ Snake & Lil Jon

  1. “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” // SilentÓ

  1. “Hot in Herre” // Nelly

  1. “Mony Mony” // Billy Idol

  1. “All About That Bass” // Meghan Trainor

  1. “Baby Got Back” // Sir Mix-a-Lot

  1. “Booti Call” // Blackstreet

  1. “Gangnam Style” // Psy

  1. “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)” // Big & Rich

  1. “Stayin’ Alive” // Bee Gees

  1. “Sweet Home Alabama” // Lynyrd Skynyrd

  1. “Uptown Funk” // Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars

  1. “Wagon Wheel” // Nathan Carter

  1. “What Do You Mean?” // Justin Bieber

  1. “All of Me” // John Legend

  1. “Bohemian Rhapsody” // Queen

  1. “Brown Eyed Girl” // Van Morrison

  1. “Call Me Maybe” // Carly Rae Jepsen

  1. “Footloose” // Kenny Loggins

  1. “Get Low” // Lil Jon

  1. “Hey Ya!” // Outkast

  1. “Hotline Bling” // Drake

  1. “I Will Survive” // Gloria Gaynor

  1. “My Heart Will Go On” // CÉline Dion

  1. “SexyBack” // Justin Timberlake

  1. “Shake It Off” // Taylor Swift

  1. “Sugar” // Maroon 5

  1. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” // Bonnie Tyler

  1. “You Shook Me All Night Long” // AC/DC

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