Chuck Berry: Sweet Little Sixteen/ The Beach Boys: Surfing USA

My third and final double take is a blatant rip-off by the Beach Boys of Chuck Berry’s 1958 hit, which was in fact the first Top 10 hit by a black performer. Not acknowledging copyright was both an artistic and a political issue:

“The Beach Boys stole Berry’s entire tune. Surfin’ USA went on to become The Beach Boys first hit single, reaching the Top 10 in the US, Canada, Australia and Sweden. In 1963, the band made no attempt to credit Chuck Berry for any aspect of Surfin’ USA, and Brian Wilson was listed as the sole composer. It was a controversial time in American history and the Civil Rights Movement was in full swing. For this reason, many record executives looked past The Beach Boys obvious infringement. However, Chuck Berry confronted the group and Murry Wilson gave him the copyrighted rights for writing Surfin’ USA. This is a right that Chuck Berry still holds today.”
Listverse: Top 10 Popular Music Rip-Offs.

Do you have a song where you recognize a connection to an older song? Is the connection intended? If so, is it attributed? And do you think it’s artistically legitimate?



Sweet Little Sixteen

They’re really rockin in Boston
In Pittsburgh, PA
Deep in the heart of Texas
And round the ‘Frisco Bay
All over St. Louis
Way down in New Orleans
All the cats wanna dance with
Sweet Little Sixteen

Sweet Little Sixteen
She’s just got to have
About half a million
Framed autographs
Her wallet’s filled with pictures
She gets ’em one by one
She gets so excited
Watch her, look at her run

Oh mommy mommy
Please may I go
It’s such a sight to see
Somebody steal the show
Oh daddy daddy
I beg of you
Whisper to mommy
It’s all right with you

Cause they’ll be rockin’ on Bandstand
Philadelphia, PA
Deep in the heart of Texas
And round the ‘Frisco Bay
All over St. Louis
Way Down in New Orleans
All the cats wanna dance with
Sweet Little Sixteen

Sweet Little Sixteen
She’s got the grow-up blues
Tight dresses and lipstick
She’s sportin’ high heal shoes
Oh, but tomorrow morning
She’ll have to change her trend
And be sweet sixteen
And back in class again

Beach Boys: Surfin USA
If everybody had an ocean
Across the USA
Then everybody’d be surfin’
Like Californ-i-a
You’d see ’em wearing their baggies
Huarache sandals, too
A bushy bushy blonde hairdo
Surfin’ USA
You’d catch ’em surfin’ at Del Mar
Ventura County line
Santa Cruz and Trestle
Australia’s Narabine
All over Manhattan
And down Doheny Way
Everybody’s gone surfin’
Surfin’ USA
We’ll all be planning that route
We’re gonna take real soon
We’re waxing down our surfboards
We can’t wait for June
We’ll all be gone for the summer
We’re on surfari to stay
Tell the teacher we’re surfin’
Surfin’ U.S.A.
Haggerties and Swamies
Pacific Palisades
San Anofree and Sunset
Redondo Beach L.A.
All over La Jolla
At Waimia Bay
Everybody’s gone surfin’
Surfin’ USA


double take :-) englisch lernen mit liedern

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Anne

Teaching English for business communication skills, writing online for learners, translating, sailing whenever I can, from Washington, D.C.

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