OK, hipsters, we'll give the fact that Radiohead is on this list a second to sink in. We know you're probably already putting on your best commenting shoes so you can call us ignorant jackasses. But please, let us state our case. In keeping with a recurring theme so far on this list, Radiohead kicked off their career by making their breakthrough single a gigantic theft of another band. In this case, the victim was the Hollies. Check out Radiohead's "Creep" compared to the Hollies' "The Air That I Breathe":
Before you cry foul and claim that you don't hear the similarities, understand this -- the Hollies sued Radiohead and won. Take a look at the "writers" section in the sidebar of the Wikipedia page for the song "Creep." Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood are listed. That's because they wrote "The Air That I Breathe." Radiohead was forced to share writing credit with the duo after the lawsuit came to its inevitable conclusion.
"Yeah, but that was early Radiohead, man. Everyone knows that first album was garbage." Fine, music scholar, that's a great point. Unfortunately, that point is completely negated when you consider that "Karma Police," a song that's been hailed as "one of the cornerstones of one of the greatest albums of the '90s," was also a rip-off. And this time, the musicians they stole from had a little bit higher of a profile. Take a listen to "Karma Police" side by side with the Beatles' "Sexy Sadie":
Did you notice how seamlessly the two songs blend into each other? There's a pretty clear reason for that. Radiohead just slightly sped up the same piano riff from "Sexy Sadie" and added some Debbie Downer lyrics to it.
But, much like Oasis before them, the Beatles don't have a whole lot of room to complain, and not just because most of them are dead now (sigh).
If you're in the mood for a comprehensive list, you can find a rundown of everything the Beatles are accused of stealing right here. If you'd just like us to give you a few examples instead, first let us commend you on your unyielding laziness. You're a reader after our own hearts. As for those examples, check out the striking similarities between the main riff of Bobby Parker's "Watch Your Step" and the Beatles' "I Feel Fine":
The Beatles were a special breed of song thieves, though, in that they'd go out of their way to admit to their wrongdoing. George Harrison confessed in an interview that he stole that guitar riff from Bobby Parker. Sorry, "was influenced by" is the term he actually used. The band also fessed up to ripping off the Isley Brothers for "From Me to You."
Perhaps the most unabashed song thievery belongs to John Lennon, on the popular baby boomer anthem "Come Together" he supposedly wrote. You know it from dozens of commercials and movies that have used it since. However, if you watch the below clip, you'll see Chuck Berry singing not only a familiar tune, but the same seemingly nonsensical lyrics about someone named "flattop" that Lennon would "write" decades later.
Again, there's nothing unintentional here. When they were sued by the people who owned the rights to Berry's recording, Lennon pointed out that he and McCartney had intentionally slowed down the rhythm and made the bass riff heavier to make the song sound "more original," which is known as "trying to disguise your blatant thievery" when it's done by people who aren't the Beatles. They eventually settled out of court.
The borrowing didn't stop when the Beatles broke up, either. "My Sweet Lord," the standout single from George Harrison's ridiculously epic solo debut All Things Must Pass, was pretty much a note for note copy of "He's So Fine" by the Chiffons:
That video is basically both songs being played at the same time. Harrison was sued and found to have "subconsciously" plagiarized the Chiffons song. Years later, Harrison bought the company that sued him and, by extension, the copyright for "He's So Fine." Problem solved!