| Posted in Music

Aussie Crawl fans claim song scandal

Aware of the similarities ... Singer James Reyne said it is not inconceivable to him that

Aware of the similarities … Singer James Reyne said it is not inconceivable to him that there are similarities. Picture: Jack Tran/The Courier Mail
Source: News Corp Australia

IT has been a claim advanced by fans for years but could the alleged similarities between an Australian Crawl song and the massive Guns N’ Roses hit Sweet Child O’ Mine end up in court?

Songwriter James Reyne has confirmed fans have linked his composition Unpublished Critics and Sweet Child O’ Mine for several years and “it is not inconceivable to me that there are similarities.”

Reyne was choosing his words carefully as an online discussion about whether or not Gunners borrowed from the Australian band went viral on Monday.

Not inconceivable ... Fans have noted similarities between Australian Crawl’s Unpublished

Not inconceivable … Fans have noted similarities between Australian Crawl’s Unpublished Critics and Guns N’ Roses hit Sweet Child O’ Mine. Picture: Supplied
Source: News Limited

While fans have told him about their theories for years, it was an innocuous yarn on music station MAX’s website about Slash not ruling out a Gunners reunion with his usual “Never say never” brush-off that exploded it into a debate.

In a Facebook comment on the story James Jimmy Gray posted “More importantly, when will Slash finally admit he flagrantly ripped off Australian Crawl’s Unpublished Critics with Sweet Child O’ Mine?”

Just as a throwaway joke on Spicks and Specks led to the ruling that Men At Work’s signature flute riff on Down Under had significantly borrowed from the melody of children’s song Kookaburra, so fans are suggesting Oz Crawl may have a case.

And Reyne isn’t disagreeing. In fact, fans say he has acknowledged their theories in his banter before playing Unpublished Critics at gigs.

Australian Crawl, Unpublished Critics

Guns N’ Roses, Sweet Child O’ MIne

“This has been brought to my attention before and I am aware that other people thought (the songs) are similar,” he said.

“Now it’s reared it’s head again, it is not inconceivable to me that there are similarities.

“And it is not inconceivable to me that maybe there are legs to it.

“God forbid an active publishing company that owned the rights to that song might do anything about it.”

Reyne said he was not “a legal expert” on copyright matters and suggested it would be up to the rights holder Warner Chappell to “investigate the possibilities of chasing that avenue”.

MAX critic Nathan Jolly suggested the similarities included “the same chugging chord progression, a similarly-sweeping lead break, the verse melody, and the elongated one-syllable vocal in the chorus.”

Big fan ... Gunners frontman Axl Rose has paid tribute to the influence of Australian roc

Big fan … Gunners frontman Axl Rose has paid tribute to the influence of Australian rock bands on his music. Picture: News Corp Australia.
Source: News Limited

Signature riff ... Slash is reported to have come up with the guitar hook while practisin

Signature riff … Slash is reported to have come up with the guitar hook while practising. Picture: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images
Source: AFP

Unpublished Critics was from the band’s second album Sirocco, released in 1981, which featured the hit singles Things Don’t Seem, Errol and Oh No, Not You Again and went to No. 1 in Australia.

Sweet Child O’ Mine was the biggest single for Guns N’ Roses and was released in 1988 off their debut record Appetite For Destruction.

One online mash-up of the two songs also suggests The Potbelleez’s song Are You With Me shares some similarities.

Australian Crawl were signed to Geffen Records in America in 1984, the same label Guns N’ Roses scored their major label deal in 1986.

Reyne said the US label asked Australian Crawl to re-record several of their earlier tracks, including Unpublished Critics, to include on the band’s first American release Semantics.

Are You Sweet critics of Mine mashup

He also pointed out that the Gunners frontman Axl Rose and Slash have often cited several Australian rock bands as seminal influences on their sound including Rose Tattoo and The Angels.

“They did a Rose Tattoo song so they were aware of Australian music,” he said.

The raft of copyright infringement cases which have won big settlements for the original songwriters, including the recent Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams battle with Marvin Gaye’s family over Blurred Lines, has musicologists and fans turning their ears to other potential cases of plagiarism.

Sam Smith recently agreed to share royalties with Tom Petty and his co-writers after similarities between his breakthrough hit Stay With Me and Petty’s song Won’t Back Down were drawn.

www.news.com.au/entertainment/music

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