The Country Starlet Who Stole Her Big Hit Off a Crack Addict
Hard work is for dummies. That's why we like to take time out of our busy schedule once in a while to spotlight those men and women who get shit done the right way ... by stealing other people's work and passing it off as their own.
The Defendant: Miranda Lambert
Miranda Lambert is the reigning queen of country music, assuming Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood have died by the time you're reading this. She burst onto the scene in 2005 with "Kerosene," a rocking tune that just happens to share more than a passing resemblance to another song.
The Victim: Steve Earle
Did we say "passing resemblance"? Scratch that, "Kerosene" literally is another song. That song being Steve Earle's 1996 comeback single "I Feel Alright," which marked his return to music after a few years in prison for crack-smoking-related buffoonery. Oh, and if the name "Steve Earle" doesn't ring a bell, just call him "Bubbles' AA sponsor from The Wire."
Miranda Lambert's "Kerosene"
Steve Earle's "I Feel Alright"
There isn't much to say here, other than these songs are the exact same thing. One is being sung by a 20-something girl and the other is being sung by a 50-something former crack addict with nine or 10 marriages under his belt, but that's where the differences end. Oh, and different words. She did change the words. But other than that, these are the exact same song. From the chords to the melody and everything in between, this shit is identical. There's even a harmonica break in damn near the exact same spot.
The Verdict: No Contest
Once news broke about the potentially pilfered tune, Miranda Lambert retroactively gave Steve Earle writing credit for the song, chalking it all up to a simple case of unintentional plagiarism.
Given the striking similarities between the songs, that's the musical equivalent of sitting down to color a picture of a field of grass and accidentally drawing a spendable $20 bill.
But good on her for making it right by at least paying the guy.