Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

A Life’s Shadow Hangs

When is inspiration/influence just that and when is inspiration/influence copying? 

“Hallowed Be Thy Name” has six lines similar to “Life’s Shadow” from Beckett. 

Mark my words my soul lives on 
Please don’t worry cause I’ve have gone 
I’ve gone beyond to see the truth
When your time is close at hand
Maybe then you’ll understand
Life down there is just a strange illusion

– Beckett, “Life’s Shadow” (1974)

Mark my words, believe my soul lives on
Don’t worry now that I have gone
I’ve gone beyond to seek the truth
When you know that your time is close at hand
Maybe then you’ll begin to understand
Life down here is just a strange illusion

– Iron Maiden, “Hallowed Be Thy Name” (1982)

In a song that has many verses, is six similar lines copying or influence?

The fact both songs have similar themes about a person dying is irrelevant. There are thousands of songs that have that same theme.

In every case of copying, I am sure people could find hundreds of other songs that have something similar. Everything, in any artform, are ALL inspired by something or someone who touched on the same matter, subject or concept.

It is possible and part of music history to borrow without “stealing”. When ideas appear in ones mind, quite often they are unconsciously inspired by a piece of music the artist has heard. And it’s perfectly okay and very common to take an existing idea and turn it into something new. 

In the liner notes for Miles Davis “Star People” album, he mentions how the bass line in “Come And Get It” is taken from an old Otis Redding lick. And he even mentions how the chord sequence from “It Gets Better” was taken from a Lightning Hopkins song. Miles Davis basically took ideas from early blues recordings and turned them into something modern. What a brilliant concept.

Metallica took a progression and a feel from “Tom Sawyer” and used it for the Bridge section of “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)”. Plus they took the whole intro/verse section from a Bleak House song called “Rainbow Warrior”. And the Metallica song sounds nothing like Rush or Bleak House in the end.

In the outro solo of “Runaround”, Eddie Van Halen quotes a piece of Paul Kossof’s classic solo from Free’s “All Right Now”. No biggie. This is seen as paying homage to his influence.

Michael Schenker took a David Gilmour lick from “Hey You” and used it in “Lost Horizons”. But the song and lead break sound totally different to what Gilmour did, and it’s the same notes and same phrasing. Exactly the same.

Black Crowes Rich Robinson took his Keith Richards influence “Twice As Hard”. The song is in Open G tuning, a staple of the Keith Richards rhythm guitar sound. The opening riff in the song is generic Keith and the end of the phrase is lifted right off “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin” from the “Sticky Fingers” album. I can just predict people bringing lawsuits against artists for using a certain tuning in the future.

Artists should be free to use their imaginations to recreate a song to suit their own vision.

Like Miles Davis, Steve Harris used his influences to create something new and modern and perfect for the era his band was in.

And here is a mash up of the two songs lyrics from me? 

Is it copying, stealing or unique enough to be original or original enough to show inspiration?

A Hallowed Shadow Of Life

See the people walking past
While I wait in my cell
And the bells begin to chime
On a life that doesn’t have much time

As I look in the mirror
A fallen angel is getting clearer

As the sands of time run low
One by one, people pass me by
Strangers of a world that has gone very wrong for me

Some breakdown and start to cry
When the priest comes to read me my last rites

Somebody please tell me I’m dreaming
As I walk, my life drifts before me
I’m trying to be strong
After all I’m not afraid of dying

Hear these words
For I have seen
My soul lives on
In your dreams
And even though I’m gone
I live beyond
For the truth is easy to see
When I am free

And I finally understand
The invisible hand
Turning life
Into a strange illusion

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So What If Steve Harris borrowed from Beckett

A friend of mine said it’s fake news, but, seriously, so what if Steve Harris was influenced by the band “Beckett”. So what if Steve Harris borrowed from the band “Beckett”. Trust me when I say this, there is no way that “Beckett” and their song writers created their songs in a vacuum, free from any texts and music that could have influenced them. So as much as Harris borrowed from “Beckett”, the band “Beckett” also owes its dues to the people they borrowed from.

But this isn’t an issue with the Beckett songwriters.

For whatever reasons, Steve Harris made a deal settlement with “Robert Barton” and “Brian Ingham” from the band “Beckett” over the song “Life’s Shadow” and how six lyrical lines were referenced in “Hallowed Be Thy Name”.

The current issue is with a retired rock band manager called Barry McKay, who is taking Steve Harris and Dave Murray to court over a song called “Lying In My Shadow” (which to me is “Life’s Shadow”), also from the same band “Beckett” and written by “Brian Ingham”.

The rock manager claims “Hallowed Be Thy Name” reproduces major parts of “Lying In My Shadow” in “Hallowed Be Thy Name”. “Lying In My Shadow” could be a demo that was never released and Barry McKay might have paid for the rights to it.

But seriously who cares.

Every song that is created has multiple influences or reference songs. “Hallowed Be Thy Name” is no different.

There are comments that “Hallowed Be Thy Name” also has similar lyrics to another Beckett song called “Rainbow’s Gold”. And of course there is the fact that from 4.10 to the end of “Life’s Shadow” is the inspiration point for the whole middle section in “The Nomad” from “Brave New World”. Just to re-iterate, music creation is taking bits and pieces from songs that influence you, place them into the blender and the product that comes out is yours.

Yes, there are ties between the bands. Rod Smallwood managed both. There is a respect between both bands. Maiden has covered Beckett songs in the past and the guys in the band have played together in various little projects.

Fake news or not, this is the mess that “Copyright Hijacked By Corporations” has created. A rock manager, who did not even write the song, can bring up a suit against a band for being influenced by it. Ridiculous. This is all about cash. But it’s the public that determines success, not the label or the press. It’s the public that decided what is valuable to them.

From a listener’s point of view, all songs are different and unique in their own way. The fact that one song went on to define a band and become one of the best metal songs in history and make millions is the issue here. People feel wronged that someone else made money and they didn’t. One song doesn’t replace the other. They can all co-exist, even though the Maiden versions are vastly superior. And to me, it’s the main reason why this is in the courts.

Hell, Steven Jobs took bits and pieces from other companies to create the first Apple. Even his revolutionary iPod’s and iPhones copied designs and functionality from other designs. But he did it better than all the others. And so did Maiden, Zeppelin, Metallica, Jovi, The Eagles, Acca, Def Leppard, Motley, Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Whitesnake and every other artist who made it big.

The Telegraph.co.uk article 

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