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Do You Dare Play The Eric Influence Game?

Brian Mac

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Let's face it, art has always inspired art. The only difference in the modern day is that lawyers have inserted themselves into the process. In the old days, lawyers were kept busy with more worthwhile endeavors like writing the "Declaration of Independence," for example, rather than probing into how much of Mozart's quartets and symphonies were based on Haydn's compositions or how often Beethoven pulled direct passages from Mozart and worked them into similar works of his own.

I think George Harrison said it best:

"This song has nothing tricky about it

This song ain't black or white and as far as I know

Don't infringe on anyone's copyright, so…

This song we'll let be

This song is in E

This song is for you and…

This tune has nothing bright about it

This tune ain't bad or good and come ever what may

My expert tells me it's okay

As this song came to me

Quite unknowingly

This song could be you could be…

This riff ain't trying to win gold medals

This riff ain't hip or square

Well done or rare

May end up one more weight to bear

But this song could well be

A reason to see -- that

Without you there's no point to… this song"

- - - -


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You are right! Brian's middle 8 in "Wouldn't it be Nice" is spectacular. What I meant was that Brian was not a regular writer of middle 8's. When he put one in, they were, fine to say the least, but Eric put them in with more consistency and they were almost always terrific. What I also like about Eric is that he rarely used solos as a cop out. He created some great musical interludes. ( though I have to say that the solo in ABMS is one of the best slide solos ever)

Darlene, I am just a smart-ass sometimes (well most of the time) and have to say that it is fun to spar with quick-wits.

As for you treating people bad, no such thing. Your opinions are yours and valid. I definitely did not want to accuse you of being mean-spirited. Passionate , yes,...but that's all good.



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Hey Gord,

Nah, I don't have a copy of it. Just let me tell you that if you played Todd and the Beach Boys side by side you would be hard pressed to tell them apart!

And no, I didn't see them.

(Brian Mac really started something here.)

Let's just say, "Yes, influences are nice!"


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KIRK, CRAIG! You guys have gone and left me already? Where's all that strength of character I found in your posts?! frown Gord was right, "You can't judge a book by its cover!" Now I have to go dig up Cartmill, Carmen Smalley, and Mrs. Cartmill and her butcher knife. hahahahahaha Just when the future was looking bright... confused

smile --D

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Everyone always seems to mention ABM or NGFILA when tlaking to Eric "borrowing" from other songs. Personally, I have always thought that the intro to "Boats Against The Current" is pure genius. Who would think of taking "Row Row Row Your Boat" and making it sound so beautiful as an intro to this song? I have always wondered at what part of the songwriting timetable was this intro added. Did he come up with the intro after the rest of the song was complete or did he write it first?

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As stated earlier:

"As Mr. Todd Rundgren once stated: A good artist borrows; a great artist steals.'

Begging, borrowing and stealing has never bothered me: it's homage, not homicide...

How about the choruses to "Make Me Lose Control" and The Righteous Brothers' "(You're My) Soul and Inspiration."

Two great songs!


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Guys, I have heard this song, I absolutely love it, here it is, 'The High Cost Of Loving You",

Eric I want you to know that this song is fantastic and it would have been nice to have on your copper album, solo that is.

But, I really don't know what year you did that song.

I hope you do that song again and put it on your next recording CD, OK

It gives me a great listening pleasure to my ears and heart for the first time hearing the song.

I want to hear that song now every day.

Along with, 'Cindy in The Wind". Lol

Now I have that song, I love, it 's great, it's cool, and it fantastic!

Oh god Eric, your so talented.

Now, how about you and I meet. In Canada?

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Jeez, you step away from the board for a few days and all Hell breaks loose. I’d just like to say that I was not trying to denigrate Eric’s talent or songwriting skills in any way. I’m a huge fan. Flew to Cleveland on New Year’s Eve and just sat there in the balcony for two hours mesmerized. “Ecstasy†almost knocked me off the balcony they played it so good. I always thought “Don’t Wanna Say Goodbye†was a bad song. That night I realized it was a bad recording of a GREAT song.

I just thought it would be nice to “discover†some of his influences, because all the great ones have them. And I thought it would be fun. I would also like to point out that two of Eric’s greatest songwriting achievements “borrowed†nothing from no-one. Overnight Sensation and Let’s Pretend, are just works of genius from a musical Giant. While “Let’s Pretend†may capture the sentiment of “Wouldn’t it be Nice†it stands on it’s own as one of the most beautiful original melodies that my ears have ever heard. There are many others. And by the way, the guy that said that Brian Wilson didn’t write good middle eights is looney. So is the guy who said “Sleep with Me†is a lousy song. And I’m really angry that an honest post turned into people taking shots at Eric’s amazing skills. And finally I’d like to agree that “The High Cost of Loving†is a perfect piece of pop confection that could be a number one hit tomorrow if it was released or even covered. I hope it sees the light of day someday.

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Bernie, I never made the connection between “ Pretend†and “ABM,†but as usual you are right. See that’s why I started this thread. To gain incite into some of Eric’s song writing influences beyond the obvious. The Righteous Brother’s “Soul and Inspiration†similarity never dawned on me either and “Lose Control†is one of my favorites. I also had no clue the intro to “My Girl†was Rachmaninoff.

I was thinking the other day that “You Took Me All The Way†could have been about Rene’s younger sister however… smile

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Brian, Don't apologize for your topic. It was/is a GREAT topic. Influences abound. That's how musical heritage is built. It got carried away, but that wasn't at all your fault. Maybe it's good that it all happened, because the air has been cleared, so to speak, and everyone learned a lot about influences and paraphrasing, even of one's own work. Somehow in all this, I graduated from Lemonade Girl to Lioness.

smile --Darlene

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Bernie said:

In the old days, lawyers were kept busy with more worthwhile endeavors like writing the "Declaration of Independence," for example, rather than probing into how much of Mozart's quartets and symphonies were based on Haydn's compositions or how often Beethoven pulled direct passages from Mozart and worked them into similar works of his own.

Well, I have to protest a bit here, I guess, if for no other reason than that I work for a law firm and we have intellectual property lawyers and it wouldn't look really good for me to allow their kind of work to be denigrated in this forum, LOL. But seriously...what IP lawyers do is to ensure that someone who really DID rip someone else's invention off ends up not being able to profit off that person's hard work or imagination. There is another side of the coin, after all...what if someone came out with a song called "All On My Own" and it had a certain melody and the lyrics went "All on my owwwn, don't wanna be aaall oooon my oooonwn anymore..." I think more than a few people would be outraged if it became a million-seller and there was much talk about the originality and genius of the composer in coming up with such a brilliant new song idea.

Eric has no problem with lawyers. He can't afford to with so many in the family, can he? LOL...not to mention which, he's used them himself when he had to wrest control back of his own rights to his creative work.

The problem is not with the lawyers per se, it's with the ones whose arguments we oppose...are they for protecting our favored songwriters and their creative work from accusations that it was cribbed from someone else, or protecting it from being cribbed BY someone else, or are they the ones doing the accusing of cribbing/defending someone else's cribbing?

Unfortunately, the whole business of things like copyright protection means that, yeah, they have to get into a lot of ugly details and essentially dissect a piece of music to death to either prove it unoriginal or defend it against accusations of unoriginality. It's what they get paid to do. To the rest of us it can seem to kill the magic of the song, and we may go to our graves saying that Robbie Dupree's "Steal Away" sounds a damn sight more like the Doobie's "What a Fool Believes" than "My Sweet Lord" sounds like "He's So Fine," yet only one guy gets punished. Why? Don't know. It may all just come down to who has the better lawyers. And no, that isn't very romantic. But it's the way the world works. Oh well!

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Trindy here'a a good one for your firm worth millions. There's an old Leo Sayer hit called "I love you More Than I Can Say." This song is the exact melody and chord structure to "Every Breath You take" by The Police, which was a huge hit. I swear, they even stole the bridge. Can you imagine if they had to part with half of the Royalties now? "

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