You’ve got to tread carefully when it comes to copyright in music these days, particularly after the very public plagiarism suit between Marvin Gaye’s family and Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over the likeness of Gaye’s Got To Give It Up and Blurred Lines.
R&B crooner Miguel is a very smart man and he’s avoided any chance of a plagiarism battle by crediting Billy Corgan on his new album WildHeart without being prompted, because he believes his track Leaves sounds a bit like The Smashing Pumpkins‘ 1979.
“It was kind of reminiscent of 1979. I was a fan of them growing up, but I never bought their albums or saw them live. It’s weird how some things just sink in,” Miguel told News Limited.
“Towards the end of the song when the drum programming kicks in it’s even more reminiscent (of 1979), you realise it in a more straight-on way. It’s cool they were cool about everything. It’s all about respect. We’re all standing on the shoulders of giants at this point.”
Miguel said he contacted Corgan who approved the song, and was offered a co-writing credit. “There’s nothing that hasn’t been done,” added Miguel to the Associated Press. “There’s going to be moments where you do things that are reminiscent of other things. And even if you’re not aware of them, I think it’s just best out of respect to reach out.”
Listening to the tracks side-by-side, it doesn’t take long to pick out the similarities of the guitar riff. Towards the end of Leaves when the drums kick-in you can really start to hear the ’90s alt-rock sound that The Smashing Pumpkins defined.
The news comes just as Robin Thicke and Pharrell have had their original fine of $7.3 million in the Blurred Lines case reduced to $5.3 million. However, half of the royalties from Blurred Lines will go to the Gaye family.
Take a listen to Leaves and 1979 and decide for yourself whether the writing credit was necessary.
Listen: Miguel – Leaves
Listen: The Smashing Pumpkins – 1979