Stop The Presses!

Doesn’t That Song Sound Familiar? The Black Crowes Vs. Gretchen Wilson!

Stop The Presses!

It's hard not to feel a tiny twinge of pity for the Black Crowes.

Only months ago they caused a stir when they accused Maxim magazine of running a lukewarm review of their latest album Warpaint without actually hearing it.

And just yesterday, the band issued a notice of copyright infringement against colorful country singer Gretchen Wilson, her record label, her music publisher, and Turner Network Television--claiming her song "Work Hard Play Harder," currently airing to promote the TNT show Saving Grace, "wrongfully exploited" the band's 1991 debut single "Jealous Again."

While it's possible the alleged infringers can successfully argue that Wilson wrongfully exploited the composition without actually hearing it--hey, it happened before!--there's no need for any of us to wade through any legal mumbo-jumbo.

You make the call. Check it out yourself.

First up, here's the Crowes, from their 1991 multi-platinum debut album Shake Your Money Maker--which, er, coincidentally took its title from a very famous song recorded by blues guitarist Elmore James in 1961.


Next, here's Wilson's "Work Hard Play Harder"--which, as a special bonus, can be enjoyed in the context of this commercial for actress Holly Hunter's acclaimed TNT series Saving Grace.


So, let's see. On one hand we've got a band that--in a presumably non-infringing manner--borrowed its debut album's title from Elmore James, and then saw that same album get reviews systematically comparing it to the music produced by arena-rockers like the Faces and Humble Pie two decades earlier.

On the other hand we've got Ms. Wilson, a popular, newish country singer whose record sales have been on the downslide since her 2004 debut album Here For The Party, and who is now essentially doing commercials for a television program that is supposed to pretty good if you watch it, but I'm a guy.

In short: Ms. Wilson is being accused of ripping off a '90s band that was accused of ripping off several '70s bands who were accused of ripping off blues artists of the '50s and '60s who generally never got paid for their work in the first place.

According to Black Crowes manager Pete Angeleus, "We find the music verses of Wilson's song to be such an obvious example of copyright infringement that I expect all parties to reach a relatively quick resolution to avoid litigation."

Well, of course he'd say that, he's their manager. According to me, these songs sound like things you'd hear in a really bad bar about 10 minutes before deciding to go home and watch TV.

But what do you think?

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