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Do You Dare Play The Eric Influence Game?

Brian Mac

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You know, reading all this last night, I thought Brian Mac was saying that EBYT was a ripoff of ILYMTICS, not vice versa...but now I see he IS saying vice versa...which is indeed ridiculous, because the Sayer song is older even if it doesn't go back to the '60s (I remember his '70s version). So the question is, as I originally thought, did Sting copy? I say "No"...or at least the argument is weak.

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I can't believe you all have even heard ILYMTICS!

I WAS saying that Sting "borrowed" from the earlier song. What I didn't realize, and what Marvin pointed out is that the Leo Sayer tune was a cover to start with. Thanks Marv. Still doesn't change the incredible similarity. I can sit down at the piano and sing both songs to the same chords...

Bahoo, you and I are going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I was thinking off the top of my head to some of my BW favorites,and they all had middle eights all the way back to "Little Surfer Girl." "Sail on Sailor," "God Only Knows," "Good Vibrations," "Add Some Music To Your Day" "Heroes & VillianS," "Do it Again'... many others had them. Sometimes he sneaks them in at the beginning like "Be true to your School" or at the end like "Breakaway."

Maybe we define "middle eight" differently. I think of it as any dissonent section of a song that appears only once and has nothing in common with the verse or chorus. Wilson was always sneaking these things in everywhere. Hey, we both love his music. That's what really counts!

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I’m going to switch gears here a little bit... “Tin Soldier†and “Afterglow†by The Small Faces featuring Steve Marriott are two songs that clearly influenced Eric’s vocal and writing style.

And, boy, do I really hear that in "I Can Hardly Believe you're Mine" -- they outdid the SF on that one, but clearly an homage
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OK - what about the infamous "I Want A New Drug" by Huey Lewis and the News versus "GhostBusters Theme" by Ray Parker, Jr. lawsuit?

THAT was blatent and obvious. And Parker lost bigtime.

I find that there are certain songs I hear every day that, at some point, trigger a musical memory of another song. The most annoying part of my brain is that the memory STAYS inserted in the song!!!

Speaking of middle eights - here's a question for Eric and other singer/songwriters:

in concert, night after night, is there ever an impulse to change/augment a solo from the recorded version?

My ear would expect to hear the recorded versions; I would expect that, after a time, a new passage might create itself in the composer's head?

Is it that you give us what we expect to hear vs indulging the creative side?


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Annie, It's interesting what you say because it really depends on the artist. Me, I like to hear the band try to re-create the record to the point that I get distressed when they don't try for the high notes or drastically change the arrangements. Guys like Mccartney and Raspberries seem to agree with the you and me and stay pretty true. But just tell that to a Grateful Dead fan. They want to hear it different EVERYTIME they play it. Dylan is famous for changing the arrangements so drastically that sometimes you don't recognize the song. Marvin could explain better, but it all seems to come down to the band and the fan.


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Mac you explained it just perfectly.

The Dead are renown for their live improvisational jams, as are other bands like the Allman's and Phish. Whereas in the case of bands like Raspberries, Beatles or Beach Boys, when you've got a 3 minute pop classic, you stick to the tried and true.

Having said, this those of you who have seen McCartney in concert, know that his "Sgt Pepper Reprise" goes on for much longer than the recorded version.


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