With only four years and an ocean between “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Werewolves of London”, it took me over two decades to realize Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves” existed. From what you may have gathered from my blogs thus far, it is strange that the song was off of my radar. I understood why, however, I’d switch the station thinking that it was Sweet Home Alabama (You know, the one by Lynyrd Skynyrd?). AGAIN. I don’t have anything against the ode to a southern state, or Kid Rock’s ode to the song about the ode to the state, but there are just some lyrics that I like better by Warren Zevon.
When is a good time to sing Werewolves of London instead of Sweet Home Alabama? Anytime. Church dances are good for it if you’d like to confuse your dance partner in an effort to truly entertain yourself.
Werewolves and Sweet Home Alabama do not use the same chords, but the same chord progression (different notes but the same space between them). They sound eerily similar until the first thing you hear isn’t “turn it up”, and is instead, “I saw a Werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand.”
So does this sort of thing happen on accident?
I think it can, most definitely, which leads me to a more daunting question.
Can every song be written?
I do think that we can run out of songs. Once a song starts selling, others are made to copy it so they can sell too. I often wonder if musical artists have the same producer who is putting their own trademark on a track, like a signature. For example, look what happened to Marvin Gaye and Robin Thicke when “Blurred Lines” came out. I heard that “Blurred Lines” was the song of the summer before I had ever heard it or knew what it was…and then sure enough, Gaye’s era of music made a comeback in a rash of sound-alikes in the pop music world.
If not for the purpose of making money in the music industry, I think accidents still happen to make songs sound alike, especially when artists have to draw inspiration from some place. Eventually, I have a silly little fear that all songs will be written, but probably not before I finish this blog series on the blank slate.
And for the record, I still don’t think “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” sounds like “Wonderwall”, but a good song mashup is a good song mashup.