This new feature here on Criticize This! looks at popular songs that are shamefully ripped off of earlier tracks.
Brazilian music has enjoyed much success in North America, and with good reason. Genres like samba, bossa nova and even tropicalia have influenced acts as varied in style and generation as Frank Sinatra and Animal Collective. One legend of Brazilian music is Jorge Ben, who has tackled samba, tropicalia and MPB (Música Popular Brasileira) over his career. One of Ben’s greatest hits is ‘Taj Mahal’, which lauds the love that inspired the great Indian architectural marvel of the same name.
Listen to the above track and the “te-te-te”s that pepper the track may sound familiar to you; Rod Stewart lifted that melody to concoct the ubiquitous and catchy chorus to ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy’ . It may be natural to jump to the conclusion that Ben witnessed Rod Stewart’s success with ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy’ and decided to jump on board, that assumption would be wrong. Ben’s ‘Taj Mahal’ came out two years prior to Stewart’s ‘…Sexy’.
A copyright infringement lawsuit by Jor was “settled amicably”, nonetheless, next time you hear ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy’, thanks to Jorge Ben Jor.
Stay tuned for more ripoffs and, happy listening!