The Hollies, a British rock band that successfully sued Radiohead for copyright infringement, are now weighing in on the current dispute between Radiohead and Lana Del Rey, urging both sides to “keep it out of court if you can.”
“‘Credit where credit is due’, that is essential in all art,” the band said in a statement to Mediaite.
It can be very difficult to differentiate between coincidence and outright plagiarism – hence musicologists, in most cases, have a better role to play than lawyers. Keep it out of court if you can – the costs can mean nobody wins in the end.
In The Hollies case, although ‘The Air That I Breathe’ was written by Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood, it was our arrangement, production and style that gave it the distinctive sound that made it a huge international hit. I presume that Radiohead really liked our track which in turn influenced the creation of their song ‘Creep’.
Radiohead and Del Rey are highly respected and talented artists. I’m sure on a personal level they could find some common ground, but alas it probably isn’t down to them and that’s a shame.
After the release of Radiohead’s 1992 single “Creep,” songwriters Hammond and Hazlewood were granted co-credit due to the song’s similarities to The Hollies’ 1974 hit “The Air that I Breathe.”
Del Rey suggested on Twitter Sunday that Radiohead is now claiming “Creep” closely resembles her song “Get Free” and is seeking “100% of the publishing” as a result.
It’s true about the lawsuit. Although I know my song wasn’t inspired by Creep, Radiohead feel it was and want 100% of the publishing – I offered up to 40 over the last few months but they will only accept 100. Their lawyers have been relentless, so we will deal with it in court.
— Lana Del Rey (@LanaDelRey) January 7, 2018
Many were to quick to point to Radiohead’s previous court troubles, including 80s icon Boy George.
Radiohead were sued by The Hollies and now Radiohead are suing Lana Del Ray? Utter madness!
— Boy George (@BoyGeorge) January 7, 2018
Others shared Boy George’s confusion.
so Radiohead is suing Lana Del Rey for “copying” their song Creep WHICH IS A RIP OFF FROM A SONG CALLED THE AIR I BREATHE BY THE HOLLIES WHICH THEY GOT SUED FOR pic.twitter.com/o5CgFutBM6
— ana (@uughana) January 7, 2018
Radiohead’s publisher, Warner/Chappell, told The Guardian on Wednesday that they have not filed suit against Del Rey, but are asking for Radiohead to be acknowledged.
“It’s clear that the verses of (Del Rey’s song) Get Free use musical elements found in the verses of Creep and we’ve requested that this be acknowledged in favor of all writers of Creep,” the publisher said in a statement.
So how similar are the three songs? Here they are back-to-back.