Jump to content

New Springsteen Album - Controversy?


JohnO

Recommended Posts

Just got the new Bruce CD last night. While I really enjoyed it the first time I played it (in my car stereo), a question arose almost immediately....well, actually maybe a minute and a half into it....When I got home, I googled the internet to see about my concern, and there are tons of blogs posted about this already, so let's bring it up here, shall we?

To out it bluntly, huge chunks of the opening marathon song "Outlaw Pete" (over 9 minutes), including the main hook, appear to be liberally borrowed from Kiss' "I Was Made For Loving You"!

The first time I played it, it sounded like Bruce may have even sampled part of Kiss' background high vocals (in the IWMFLY intro) for his tune. On 2nd and 3rd play, I'm sure it's just Bruce & band doing the bits in question.

My questions - First, why, in this day and age of litigation being triggered by almost anything, did Bruce do this?....unless he's already paid Paul Stanley, Desmond Child & the other guy who wrote the original. Second obvious question - Will he get sued? Third question - Why hasn't any self-respecting critic mentioned this in a review yet? It doesn't take someone who's closely listened to music for 50+ years to hear this - it's pretty damn blatant!

That minor quibble aside, it's a damn good album! To me, Bruce's last 3 studio albums - The Rising, Magic, and Working On A Dream are to him what Dylan's Time Out Of Mind, Love & Theft & Modern Times have been to Bob - if not a resurrection of his career (which, of course would sound utterly blasphemous to his more rabid fans), at least an elevation of his game to his previous heights! Personally, I lost interest in Bruce about the time of Born In The USA, and his last 3 albums have again gotten me back into him again....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For what it's worth, Bruce's acoustic intro to "Tomorrow Never Knows" also sounds just like CCR's intro to "Looking Out My Backdoor", but there's no dobro, and the tunes are different (thankfully!) once you get into them.....

The "Outlaw Pete" issue, though....knowing nothing about the new CD other than the reviews I read here - I was stunned by that song and the Kiss similarities....to the point I was wondering if a 12" disco mix version of it would be coming out soon!

P.S. And I thought last night that the main riff to "My Lucky Day" sounded pretty damn familiar too...but I so far haven't been able to place it. Hopefully, it's just one of those things where a song sounds instantly familar/recognizable, but it's just a great hook.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've read many other posts on other sites about the similarties between "Outlaw" and "I Was Made..." I haven't got the album yet, so the clip above was my introduction to the song. There certainly seems to be a similarity between the two. On his last album, "Magic", the song "Girls In their Summer Clothes" borrowed liberally from "The Kids Are Alright."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"....but I don't think he'll get sued."

Maybe not, but if I were Bruce, I would have totally eliminated the background high "doot, doot, doot, doot" backing vocal lines, as well as the whole "I Was Made..." riff repeated 2-3 times (on strings, if I recall) between verses, and it could easily be written off as a coincidence. Otherwise, it's more of a literal borrowing than a liberal one....

Others who noticed - from the Boston Herald review:

"And he manages to conjure up one memorable character in “Outlaw Pete.†But while Pete may be Bruce’s invention, the eight-minute epic’s hook is an unmistakable rip-off of KISS’ “I Was Made for Lovin’ You.â€"

Harry Browne from Counterpunch:

"...and the backing vocalists significantly hum Kiss’s ‘I Was Made for Loving You’"

And of course, Bob Lefsetz:

"...That it’s just not the same Springsteen, because "Outlaw Pete" IS A DIRECT LIFT OF KISS’ "I Was Made For Lovin’ You"! It’s the same hook! Even worse, it’s the opening track on Springsteen’s new album!"

And this goes on and on and on if you google it. If I were the Boss, I'd re-mix the damn tune.....which probably isn't financially feasible now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can think of a number of Springsteen songs that seem to contain bits and pieces of other songs. The songs mentioned in this thread are some of the more obvious cases. For whatever reason, Bruce has never had to face any lawsuit.

Conversely, when I heard the Counting Crows' first album, "August And Everything After" (almost 20 years ago, now), I could have sworn that the entire album was outtakes of Springsteen's "The Wild, The Innocent & the E Street Shuffle" album. The musical similarities were jaw-dropping.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"2 words...

Gene Simmons"

Yeah, I might agree....EXCEPT Gene didn't write "I Was Made....", so I doubt he would sue anyone over that song! Paul Stanley, Desmond Child & Vini Poncia did.

Guys - Yes, musicians borrow lines and riffs all the time when writing songs....but, IMO, this particular one is a lot more obvious than copping one line from "The Kids Are Alright" for "Girls In Their Summer Clothes", or arguably the guitar intro from "867-5309" for "Radio Nowhere." Regarding the former, while I posted about it the day I heard "Magic" the first time, I don't recall anyone else, even on the 'Net, picking up on it for awhile. The Kiss/Outlaw Pete debate has been raging for weeks already - and before the album was even released! Some have pointed out that you can even use "I Was Made..." lyrics in the verses of Bruce's song and they fit perfectly until the "Outlaw Pete" line - in other words, a rewrite of the song, and not just borrowing a riff.

The fact that Counting Crows, The Hold Steady or Gaslight Anthem sound like everything they write could be an old E-Street band outtake isn't really relevant to this argument. If it were, Rancid, Stiff Little Fingers, Bombshell Rocks and about a dozen other bands would have been sued by The Clash 20-30 years ago for borrowing their sound. One does not copyright a band's sound, at least not successfully....songs, however, are published, copyrighted, etc.

What's gonna happen here? Honestly...I doubt anything will. Both Kiss and Bruce have enough money to fight over something like this for decades in court, I'm guessing, if they choose to. My guess is Paul Stanley and Desmond C. will have a good laugh about this and move on....leaving anal retentives on boards like this to fight on and on about it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, have to weigh in here. I'm a melodic pop slave that thought Paul, Brian, and Eric were my 3 God's, I didn't get Bruce at first, when he and Frampton hit the charts together I said what happened, I missed the late 70's concert and didn't see Bruce until USA. Marvin, correct me if I'm wrong, if there is one video that defines Bruce and the ATTITUDE of rock and roll it's this E'Street jam of Rosalita.

Hey, EC nicked Rachmanioff, and brought the power of the melody to the masses, Bruce no different.. don't mess with the Boss. (Have a feeling EC likes this clip)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glcPJHm0yN0

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Hey, EC nicked Rachmanioff, and brought the power of the melody to the masses,"

Which is fine, but is it the same as the Boss nicking Kiss (and their all-time best selling single, too), for Christ's sake??? A lot of the outrage on the 'net is over whom he borrowed from, NOT the fact that he borrowed! (Also, Eric at least credited Rachmaninov when he did borrow.....slight difference)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You gotta believe that someone like Jon Landau (Bruce's manager), who is pretty much a music historian, would have pointed out the similarities between the two songs, and alerted Bruce. I highly doubt that there will be any consequence. For some reason as far the music industry is concerned, Bruce seems to walk on water.

Sorry John I don't know the first thing about Rancid or Stiff Little Fingers or Bombshell Rocks, but I do believe that there is some relevance when an act writes music that sounds exactly like another act.

Steve there isn't much out there that beats the live clip of "Rosalita."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Marv - The 3 Clash sound-a-like bands were the first example that came to mind. There are literally hundreds of bands out there whose sounds are based primarily on better known, established acts....yet nobody's ever sued over this, to the best of my knowledge.

My complete and utter puzzlement over why Bruce borrowed from Kiss is based primarily on the fact that he himself has encyclopedic knowledge of rock & roll, based on the covers he does live....(screw Landau, whom I still don't forgive for f***ing up The MC5's second album, "Back In The USA"!).

Marv - You need to hear the song itself before making any sort of judgmental call. I played it for a female friend who's 20 years younger than me the other day, and she blurted out "That's that Kiss disco song!" about a minute and a half into it.....between the background vocals and that line by the strings (all of which could easily be removed without detracting from the song, IMO), it's bloody obvious to anyone who was listening to radio in the late 70's/early 80's.....let alone old farts like me!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And lest anyone think I'm hammering The Boss too much here.....this is mild compared to what I wrote about Dylan re: "Modern Times", when he appropriated Muddy Waters' "Rollin' & Tumblin" and "Trouble No More", along with Memphis Minnie's "The Levee's Gonna Break" (NOTE: all 3 songs have been recorded dozens of times over the years...the versions I cited are the closest arrangements to Dylan's), and claimed he wrote them himself! Also, he swiped lyrics for at least 3-4 more of the "new" songs he recorded on that album.

To me, Dylan's the greatest songwriter ever...so what's he doing, swiping others' work wholesale, a la Led Zeppelin? Inexcusable.....or just plain lazy. And I'm pretty sure he's gotten away with it, as far as no lawsuits.....most likely because of (1) who he is, and (2) the ages of the old songs he used/swiped.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John since you are one of the lucky few who have the album, can you let me know if Danny Federici is listed on the credits? How about Charles Giordano?

By the way, John Soeder music critic from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, said that he "detected trace elements of "Friday on My Mind" and "Paint It, Black" in "Outlaw Pete."

Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can see "Friday On My Mind" traces in the beat in the intro, but one could say the same thing about the intro for "I Was Made....". "Paint It Black".....hmmmmm...have to give it yet another listen for that. I'm going down to my car in the garage to get the CD, & will find out about the credits very shortly....

(Melody Music in Dupont Circle put it on sale last Friday night, in both versions - with and without the bonus DVD on the making of the album.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...