Friday, July 04, 2008

BARR ber-ber, BARR ber-ber

Alistair @ unpopular culture draws our attention to the new release from Playpeople, particularly because it lifts a sample from 1984's Scotpop classic 'Since Yesterday' by Alistair's idols Strawberry Switchblade.

Except that the bit they've lifted from 'Since Yesterday' was in fact borrowed from Sibelius's 5th symphony (kicks in at about 1:26), so maybe credit should go instead to the dead Finnish bloke, who penned it as far back as 1915. And, just to confuse the issue even further, the self-same snippet made an appearance in a cheesy Brian Wilson pastiche called 'Beach Baby' (at 3:06), released in 1974 under the group name First Class.

So who takes the credit? Well, Sibelius would seem to be the first person who stuck those notes in that order, although he probably wasn't. The mechanical copyright, which relates to the actual sounds that the new record samples, belongs to Strawberry Switchblade. And shouldn't some kudos go to the faceless hacks behind 'Beach Baby', who were the first to have the idea of crowbarring Sibelius' riff into a pop context?

Or should the giftwrapped cigar go to Playmobile, for acknowledging - possibly unwittingly - that in the 21st century, such notions of authorship and originality are so confused as to become almost meaningless?

PS: On a similar riff, RetroCrush on the history of pop plagiarism.

6 comments:

Charles Frith said...

Lovely. Particularly like the use of the crowbar. Visceral!

Chris said...

R.E.M.'s 'Perfect Circle' should get a slice of the action too. A Grammy for Most Mumbled Version Of A Sibelius Tune, or similar.

Tim Footman said...

Ooh, thanks, Charles. 'Visceral' is good. As is 'plangent'.

Well spotted Chris. But it lacks a certain something. French horns, maybe.

I, like the view, still said...

one of my favourites is The Farms' All Together Now. . .

(haven't followed your link, so don't know if this is what Alistair is harping on about, but if so either great minds. . . or fools seldom. . )

dh said...

Can't shed any light on the origin of the riff unfortunately...some obscure lutist fiddling around somewhere perhaps? But I quite like Play People. Hard to believe they only have 156 friends.

Tim Footman said...

That's Pachelbel, ILTV. Maybe I'll do a post on Pop Songs 'Borrowed' From The Hummy Bits From Classical Music.

Dick: Maybe they have more real friends than virtual ones. Bizarre, I know, but it does happen.