Top 10 Songs Involved in Lawsuits

The Top Ten

Hello, I Love You - The Doors Hello, I Love You - The Doors Cover Art
I'm Eighteen - Alice Cooper I'm Eighteen - Alice Cooper Cover Art
Heroes End - Judas Priest Heroes End - Judas Priest Cover Art
American Idiot - Green Day American Idiot - Green Day Cover Art
Drunk in Love - Beyoncé Drunk in Love - Beyoncé Cover Art
Come Together - The Beatles Come Together - The Beatles Cover Art

Chuck Berry's publisher sued after John Lennon lifted the opening phrase "Here come old flat top" from Chuck Berry's "You Can't Catch Me". Part of the deal was that Lennon would record three of their songs, including "You Can't Catch Me" on his next album, which he eventually did on the album Rock 'n' Roll. - Gg2000

Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash Cover Art

The melody and the opening line "I hear that train a-comin'/It's rollin' round the bend" were taken from a song called Crescent City Blues by Gordon Jenkins. Jenkins received a $75,000 settlement after he sued. - Gg2000

Dark Horse - Katy Perry Dark Horse - Katy Perry Cover Art
Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin Cover Art
Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin Cover Art

The Contenders

Better by You, Better Than Me - Judas Priest Better by You, Better Than Me - Judas Priest Cover Art

Judas Priest was sued by the parents of two boys who made a suicide pact while listening to the song. They alleged the song “had subliminal backtrack messages that encouraged the kids to commit suicide”

The Old Man Down the Road - John Fogerty The Old Man Down the Road - John Fogerty Cover Art

The most frivolous and petty lawsuit in music history. The same guy wrote the two damn songs, of course they sound similar! - truckturner

This song is famous for a lawsuit where John Fogerty was sued for sounding too much like... himself. Fogerty was sued by Fantasy Records (his former label) because the song sounded too much like CCR's Run Through The Jungle (they acquired the rights to the CCR catalogue as part of John Fogerty's deal for getting out of his record contract). Luckily, John proved to the court that the two songs were not identical (if anyone would know, it would be him! ) and he successfully countersued for attorney fees. - Gg2000

Suicide Solution - Ozzy Osbourne Suicide Solution - Ozzy Osbourne Cover Art

Similar to the Judas Priest case, a depressed teenager named John McCollum committed suicide in October 1984. His parents sued Ozzy and the label, CBS Records, claiming that "Suicide Solution" influenced his actions. Ozzy denied that the song promoted suicide, stating that the song was partially inspired by the death of Bon Scott from AC/DC. Ultimately, the court ruled in Ozzy's favor, citing that the First Amendment protected his right to freedom of artistic expression. - Gg2000

Sexual Healing - Marvin Gaye Sexual Healing - Marvin Gaye Cover Art
Bitter Sweet Symphony - The Verve Bitter Sweet Symphony - The Verve Cover Art
Viva La Vida - Coldplay Viva La Vida - Coldplay Cover Art

Joe Satriani sued Coldplay, alleging their song ‘Viva la Vida’ ripped off his song ‘If I could Fly’, citing similar chords and progression. His lawsuit was dropped in 2009 after Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Car Stevens, claimed that both songs sounded like his ‘Foreigner Suite’.

Life Goes On - The Damned Life Goes On - The Damned Cover Art

Nirvana was unsure about adding ‘Come As You Are’ to Nevermind, citing the similarities between it and ‘Eighties’ by Killing Joke. However, they wound up adding it to their massively successful 1991 album.

Killing Joke quickly filed a lawsuit against the Grunge icons.

The suit was dropped after Kurt Cobain’s 1994 suicide by Killing Joke to relieve Dave Grohl and Krist Noveselic of further grief.

Dave would later collaborate with Killing Joke on their 2003 self titled album.

Later on, both songs would go on to be compared to ‘Life Goes on’, a 1981 song by post-punk group the Damned, though no suit was ever brought up.

Da Ya Think I'm Sexy? - Rod Stewart Da Ya Think I'm Sexy? - Rod Stewart Cover Art

Apparently, he unconsciously plagiarized the chorus from the song "Taj Mahal" by Brazilian musician Jorge Ben Jor after hearing it while in Rio de Janeiro for Carnaval. He got sued for it, and Jorge Ben Jor won. - Gg2000

Thunderbird - ZZ Top Thunderbird - ZZ Top Cover Art

This song, although credited to the members of ZZ Top, was originally written and performed by a Texas band called The Nightcaps. The Nightcaps themselves attempted to sue, but since they never registered the original recording for copyright, the suit was dropped, and ZZ Top got off scot free. - Gg2000

Thinking Out Loud - Ed Sheeran Thinking Out Loud - Ed Sheeran Cover Art

Sued for using the same main chord progression as Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get it On". I'm not sure how this one turned out. - Gg2000

Surfin' U.S.A. - The Beach Boys Surfin' U.S.A. - The Beach Boys Cover Art

Similar to the Come Together incident, they were sued by Arc Music for ripping off Chuck Berry's Sweet Little Sixteen. They gave the copyright (lyrics and all) to Arc Music. - Gg2000

Shakermaker - Oasis Shakermaker - Oasis Cover Art

They were sued by the writers of I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (the Coca-Cola song); when asked about it afterwards, Noel Gallagher allegedly joked, "Now we all drink Pepsi". - Gg2000

Ghostbusters - Ray Parker, Jr. Ghostbusters - Ray Parker, Jr. Cover Art

Huey Lewis sued Ray Parker, Jr. for ripping off his song "I Want a New Drug". They confidentially settled it out of court, but Ray Parker sued Huey after Huey broke the confidentiality agreement by talking about the lawsuit on VH1's Behind the Music. - Gg2000

My Sweet Lord - George Harrison My Sweet Lord - George Harrison Cover Art

George Harrison was sued for allegedly ripping off the song "He's so Fine" by the girl group The Chiffons. The end result was that he bought the publishing company, Bright Tunes, from Allen Klein (his former manager) for the same amount that Klein bought it for during the lawsuit. One of George's tunes, "This Song", was written about his frustration over the lawsuit. - Gg2000

How Deep is Your Love - Bee Gees How Deep is Your Love - Bee Gees Cover Art
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