Dear Bruce Springtseen and John Mellencamp: What the Actual Eff Were You Thinking?

Their collaborative single is strictly a one-eyed pinch off a popular Van Halen hit

Did Mellencamp pinch a riff off his pals in Van Hagar? (Images: Amazon)

John Mellencamp’s new album, Strictly A One Eyed Jack, features three collaborations with Bruce Springsteen.

Hurray! People who really, really really care about college football will be so excited! Curiously, one of these three recordings is a fairly exact cover of Van Halen’s “Finish What Ya Started.” True, Mr. Springsteen is well known for his often unexpected covers, but this one still took many of us by surprise. 

Press play to hear a narrated version of this story, presented by AudioHopper.

Probably the most astonishing thing about the Springsteen/Mellencamp version of “Finish What Ya Started” is that they changed the lyrics around a bit, gave it a different name — “Did You Say Such A Thing” — AND THEY ARE CLAIMING THAT IT’S A DIFFERENT SONG ENTIRELY, one that John wrote all by his little own self!” But our ears know the truth. Right now, I want you to listen to both, or a little of both, anyway. Then we shall continue with this article. I’ll wait here and think about Hawkwind and/or Chogyam Trungpa. That’s my safe place. 

 

AUDIO: John Mellencamp feat. Bruce Springsteen ”

 

VIDEO: Van Halen “Finish What Ya Started”

Now, how about that.  

“Did You Say Such a Thing” is unreservedly, unapologetically, and unmistakably a COMPLETE and utter rip-off of Van Halen’s “Finish What Ya Started.” This is unaraguable, and by unarguable, I mean inarguable. I mean, this is one of those “Oh WHAT the factual uncle, COME ON, they’re not SERIOUS, are they?!? SHUT THE DOOR HENRY, this HAS to be a joke, right?!?” 

But it’s not a joke. This is actually happening. One of these guys is a billionaire (or damn close to it). The other one is, well, whatever Mellencamp is (a halfway decent painter, and I mean that sincerely). Yet we are supposed to believe that somehow neither of ‘em noticed that they had written and recorded a song that had already been written and recorded by someone else? 

This is the worst case of this sort of mishegas I’ve heard in a long time, and at the hands of two such iconic and well-toned senior superstars, too. I mean, listen to the thing. PAUSE FOR WELL-MERITED SPIT TAKE. And I mean a good, old fashioned, Danny Thomas-style spit take (a reference Springsteen and Mellencamp are old enough to enjoy, though probably not many of y’all). Ronnie (by which I mean Ron Hart, ladies an’ gentleman, my fine and tolerant editor), can you stick a video in here of Danny Thomas doing a spit take? And while we’re at it, can we give a shout out for Hans Conried as Uncle Tonoose? I know that’s not actually remotely relevant here, but see, it is going to take a LOT of cultural-reference palate clearing to make me get past the sheer horror of this bit of BossyMellen artistic thievery. 

So, HOW DOES SUCH AN OUTRAGEOUS THING HAPPEN, this veritable and total defenestration of all standards of geometry, theology, and copyright? 

Imagine you are a rock star. Surely you have. Imagine you are a billionaire rock star. You are so powerful, and inspire such an utter, complete and Sun King-like awe amongst your minions, that when you record a song that sounds exactly like someone else’s song, not one single soul dares to tell you. 

THAT is how this happened. 

Not ONE of the dozens and dozens of people in the long chain of production and release of “Did You Say Such a Thing” DARED tell these ROCK STARS, these veritable KAISERS of the working man, these KHANS in Doc Martens, that they had made a carbon copy of someone else’s song. Everyone was so afraid of them, so awed by their god-like presence, that even when they recorded something that is an utter replicable of someone else’s song, no one said boo. 

Imagine that power! 

The Great Kubla BossyCougar made something that anyone with ears (and some vague cognizance of 1980s musical culture) knows sounds exactly like someone else’s song. Yet people were so struck down by awe and fear of Mister Man of the People Billionaire and his Pal Johnny Smalltown that not ONE freaking soul involved in the entire process of making the record said BOO. That’s how this happened. And there were a lot of people in that chain: the musicians, the drum tech, guitar roadie, studio engineer, studio engineer’s assistant, studio soda machine re-stocker, wife and/or girlfriend and/or pal of the Superstar and Strummy Cougarman, mastering engineer, guy who makes coffee for the mastering engineer, guy who valets mastering engineer’s car and listened to the CD he left in his disc player, any number of folks at the record label…there are literally HUNDREDS of people who heard this song before it reached the world. Yet apparently not ONE soul meekly raised an elbow off of the table, waved a pinky finger and said, 

“Oh sirs, Oh Mister Man and the other guy, by the way, sirs, and I mean this kindly because I loveylovelove your work, and I saw you on Broadway fourteen times, and you, the other one, I think I saw you at Farm Aid once – I think that was you, right? — but sirs — and I say this with no disrespect — THAT SONG YOU’VE JUST MADE SOUNDS SO MUCH LIKE SOMEONE ELSE’S FAMOUS SONG THAT I LITERALLY AM LAUGHING SO HARD THAT I FARTED A LITTLE, sirs. And I say that with all due respect, sirs. Let me ask you, kindly, sirs: Are you sure, sirs, are you really certain you want release something that sounds so much like another famous song that it will leave people shaking their heads from Maine to Monterey, from Cape Cod to Catalina Island? And secondly, sirs, do you really want to put something out that will have those Van Halen lawyers so eager to litigate that there will be a pile-up of Priuses from Calabasas to Altadena, sirs? Do you really want that, sirs? And oh, sirs, and I direct this, respectfully, to the famous one, did I mention that I lined up at Barnes & Noble for four days to stand next to a cardboard cut-out of you, sir, which I was later told was actually you. So I say this with all due respect.” 

These days we are hearing a lot about musicians standing up for what they believe in. Hurrah and huzzah for that, we stand together and strong like bull! (This is an Uncle Tonoose reference, sorry, couldn’t let that whole thread go.) That is seriously a good thing, and there can never be too much of that. But while we are at it, friends, let’s stand up for this, too: No rock star should ever be so powerful and inspire such fear and awe in people that NO ONE will tell him/her/they that they’ve recorded a song that sounds exactly like someone else’s song. 

Listen, I am fortunate enough to have had some experience making some records, as a producer, musician, and record executive. It truly is a gift to have had that privilege. On literally every project I have worked on, at some point in the recording process we heard a song and someone went, “Huh, y’know, pallie, that sounds a lot like someone else’s song.” And then we either altered the song or just tossed it. This happened every project; we actually threw four songs off of a Scott Weiland record I worked on. That’s the way this thing is supposed to work. Your friends and associates are supposed to keep you from getting sued and/or looking like a thieving idiot. But somehow, Mellencamp and Springsteen either did not allow anyone to dare critique their work, or they chose not to listen when they did. 

So I say these words, which apparently no manager, lawyer, tape op, mandolin player, or mandolin-string changer had the guts to say:  

Dear John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen: You just released a song that is a complete and total rip-off of someone else’s song. Somehow, everyone – and I do mean everyone, from ashtray cleaner to bass player to under assistant West Coast promotion man – was too afraid to tell you.

There is something so corrupt in your organization, or your way of doing business, that no one stopped you from releasing this atrocity. But you need to know, you really need to know, and need to own this.  

 

I dedicate this to the great Bob Giordano, a Springsteen fan from way, way back and a great friend, who pointed this issue out to me. 

 

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Tim Sommer

Tim Sommer is a musician, record producer, former Atlantic Records A&R representative, WNYO DJ, MTV News correspondent, VH1 VJ, and founding member of the band Hugo Largo. He is the author of Only Wanna Be with You: The Inside Story of Hootie & the Blowfish and has written for publications such as Trouser Press, the Observer and The Village Voice. Learn more at Tim Sommer Writing.

85 thoughts on “Dear Bruce Springtseen and John Mellencamp: What the Actual Eff Were You Thinking?

  • February 2, 2022 at 3:33 pm
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    Are you kidding? Yes similar, but we’re talking about an I-IV progression here. The first song does it in two bars, the second stretches it over four and has a m7th on the tonic chord. The Van Halen variation in the verse is V-IV while Mellencamp’s is m7-IV.

    YOU ARE REALLY OVERSTATING THIS

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    • February 2, 2022 at 6:37 pm
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      Dillbreath. Who gives a smoky fart about the progression. You really think because somebody slowed the Van Halen tune down a skoshe, that somehow makes a brand new tune? Please don’t embarass yourself. Mellencamp and the Boss are has been ripoff artists on this one … and their embarassment should really surpass yours.

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      • February 3, 2022 at 4:11 pm
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        I love this! Thanks for weighing in. Y’know, half the point of writing this stuff is getting people to talk about it, and have some dialogue.

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        • February 3, 2022 at 7:55 pm
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          You had me at mishegos and Danny Thomas spit take

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      • February 3, 2022 at 7:42 pm
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        Dee, if you knew anything about music you’d know it’s not a tempo change I’m describing. Stick to your level.

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    • February 2, 2022 at 7:35 pm
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      It’s a great song, sharing some similarities with many other songs, and ensembles, and arrangements. Personally, I think its great to hear from these two artists, together. I’ve been saying for years, that when I was younger” I don’t Like Springsteen, but I do Like Mellencamp”..But the songs, and the music are very similar. (I think it was a Big City vs. Small town sentiment for me). Another thing I noticed, recently, is that a lot of great music has developed during this global pandemic…musicians are not performing in public or touring like before. I welcome the recordings and the collaborations. THIS RECORDING IS NOT RIPPING ANYONE OFF….ON ANY LEVEL.

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    • February 2, 2022 at 8:20 pm
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      The riff is so very close to be a ripoff, but there’s a different mood to the new song. More grungy and boring.

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      • February 6, 2022 at 2:51 pm
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        As a record producer you should know that some musicians like the feel and tone on other peoples record and try to emulate it, including the drum techs, Guitar techs, engineers etc. They try to give their musicians the sounds and tones that they admire from others work. No different than mixing a certain color of paint to match that of what the old masters used in their paintings.
        I can’t count the number of records in the 80’s that emulated Kenny Aranoffs drum sound from those Mellencamp records.
        If you remember, Eddie died in October of 2020 when the Mellencamp record was being made. John and Eddie were close friends. Perhaps the guitar tone is an homage to a friend?
        As a writer you should know that your hateful and accusatory writing style is a complete rip off of Charles Bukowski, although much weaker and ineffective.

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        • February 6, 2022 at 4:41 pm
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          Scott — Your comments here are very astute, and you made an excellent point. I think there’s really something to what you said — and you are absolutely right, a very standard method that musicians, techs, engineers and producers use is to A/B sounds from an existing recording. God knows I’ve done that, and seen it done, hundreds of times. So I think you’ve made a very good point here. Also, I could only WISH to have the force and originality of Bukowski’s words! Thanks again for reading and chiming in.

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      • February 5, 2022 at 9:29 pm
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        Disagree respectfully…..

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    • February 2, 2022 at 8:49 pm
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      Similar tone and a few licks, but not the same song. Even if it influenced the song, so what? All musical forms recycle and revamp pieces of previous artist’s composition, tones, techniques so back up and look at the bigger picture.
      I was a kid listening to both VH and JCM.
      John Mellancamp’s jangly acoustic rock in the 80’s may have influenced EVH in writing his song.

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    • February 2, 2022 at 9:34 pm
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      100%. First these songs have a passing similarity but are clearly not the same song. If you think these songs are identical, there’s probably a thousand other songs that sounds like them that you could throw in this discussion. This is a super overreach.

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    • February 3, 2022 at 6:59 am
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      I agree with Paul Kelly. It’s rock n roll where a hundred million songs sound similar to others. Listen to all The Rolling Stones 80s songs? Come on dude!

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      • February 3, 2022 at 4:10 pm
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        Excellent point.

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    • February 3, 2022 at 12:12 pm
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      It’s not about the structure or chords. Rock’n’roll is based on three chords! It is about the riff, tone, melody, syncopation and articulation which are obvious. If you can’t hear it then I am sorry for you.

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    • February 3, 2022 at 1:40 pm
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      Yo, relax, man! Both are very simple songs based almost entirely on the I-IV progression, you have tons of similar songs, not a big deal really. Gees…

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    • May 21, 2022 at 2:30 pm
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      Thank you. This entire article was ridiculous. Both songs are wonderful and I get what he meant but he could have done better by saying “You know what it kinda reminds me of?” but he took it way too far.

      Buncha savages in this town.

      Reply
  • February 2, 2022 at 6:12 pm
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    As a long time professional musician and songwriter, I say this is far from plagiarism. It’s a similar guitar sound and a fucking common II, V progression played in a little differently. This does not constitute as a rip off at all.

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    • February 2, 2022 at 6:13 pm
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      I meant I, V progression, not II, V *

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  • February 2, 2022 at 6:16 pm
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    Once I knew to listen for Van Halen I knew immediately what song you were talking about, but if I had just heard this on the radio I don’t know I would have immediately caught it..

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  • February 2, 2022 at 6:18 pm
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    Reminds me of when Mick Jagger’s daughter pointed out how much their new song “Anybody Seen My Baby” sounded like k.d. Lang’s Constant Craving. Jagger and Richards immediately did the right thing and added Lang and Ben Mink to the songwriting credits of …Baby.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anybody_Seen_My_Baby%3F

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  • February 2, 2022 at 6:18 pm
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    Paul Kelly’s song analysis and commentary are spot on. Suck it up Butter cup … And isn’t imitation the sincerest formof flattery? Solo at but not the same.

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  • February 2, 2022 at 7:21 pm
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    Mellencamp’s “Martha Say” has a similar riff too.

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  • February 2, 2022 at 7:30 pm
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    This sounds more like Mellencamp’s “It’s a lonely ‘ol night” than finish what ya started.
    You got worked up an awful lot over nothing. Does the guitar tone similar to VH? Yea, but it’s not a rip off of the song. Just because a guitar tone is similar doesn’t mean they ripped the song off.

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  • February 2, 2022 at 7:39 pm
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    Big Halen fan but the riff/chords/progression aren’t all that unique to begin with and almost begs for that comfortable lazy feel.
    Not a fan of BS and JM but they don’t need to knowingly rip off anyone and I could believe they aren’t all that familiar with a Van Hagar song (a lame one at that) from the late 80s.

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  • February 2, 2022 at 8:10 pm
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    If I were ripping someone’s song off I’d throw in a couple extra bars also so someone wouldn’t notice as quick that I was ripping it off but I agree it’s a ripoff so will any judge so good luck with that one but got to admit I like it but I liked it 40 years ago too

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  • February 2, 2022 at 8:12 pm
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    Calm down, dude. It has a similar riff, but it’s not the same song by a long shot. You are not very smart.

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  • February 2, 2022 at 8:46 pm
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    I certainly see the similarities, but damn this was a hard article to read. Perhaps the person that wrote this could follow suit and blatantly steal an article from someone who can write.

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  • February 2, 2022 at 8:55 pm
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    I wonder if anyone read this article in its entirety. I read the first paragraph, skimmed the next few, and scrolled through countless, to find the comments. Guitar riff yes, but the similarities certainly end there .

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  • February 2, 2022 at 9:07 pm
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    I don’t hear any similarity at all.

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  • February 2, 2022 at 9:20 pm
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    I tried to comment on song, it’s deleted almost immediately. They know about it and are censoring people immediately. Right.

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  • February 2, 2022 at 9:53 pm
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    I love the Van Jalen song. I never would have thought of them as sounding the same. I agree that you are way overstating it.

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  • February 2, 2022 at 10:17 pm
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    for accuracy’s sake, Mellencamp wrote it. Bruce is just a guest star…

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  • February 2, 2022 at 10:50 pm
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    Huge Sammy Hagar and VH fan but I’m not getting it . Similar riffs but not even close to Finish What You Started ! Sorry !

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  • February 3, 2022 at 12:11 am
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    Are you really that pissed off that you had to expend such energy penning this diatribe?

    For what it’s worth, it sounds more like Mellencamp’s old song “Tumblin’ Down,” about which it could be said that VH ripped him off to write “Finish What Ya Started.” So … who’s ripping off who here?

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  • February 3, 2022 at 12:19 am
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    I say this as a guitar player (who Eddie Van Halen was one of the chief reasons I started), a songwriter, and someone who isn’t a particular fan of either song… I want to scream at the author of this article “COME ON, you’re not SERIOUS, are you?!?” How many different ways can you play a clean electric or acoustic guitar song in the key of E. Turn on some Americana radio fer chrissake. Both Springsteen and Mellencamp write shit like this all the time with big cowboy open string chords. At teh time, I thought Van Halen had been listening to guys like Mellencamp when this came out.

    Similar, yes. The same, LOL no. But this is why the lawsuits have gone from obvious ripoffs like “Sweet Sixteen/ Surfin’ USA” where everything including the guitar solo was the same to where we are now with anyone who can scrape a lawsuit together trying a copyright claim on artists who can actually make a buck or two in the current entertainment industry.

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  • February 3, 2022 at 12:55 am
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    Tim, I’m so glad you are willing to call this out.
    The ‘sirs’ deserve, no less, the same treatment George Harrison got for snatching a riff, intentionally or not, and on a much smaller scale.

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  • February 3, 2022 at 4:37 am
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    Yeah similar, but not a complete rip off by any means. Many songs sounds similar and these do. Different structures completely, not a complete rip off

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  • February 3, 2022 at 7:30 am
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    The writer of this article is absolutely overstating this. It’s a similar guitar sound, and a similar bluesy riff in D. That’s it. It’s not the same. It’s not a rip off. Just stop. Only a novice who knows nothing about the uncopyrightability (is that a word?) of bluesy country riffing on a D chord, would think this is ripped off. I’m embarrassed for the writer of this article. Just stop. There are soooo many songs with this feel, in this key.

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  • February 3, 2022 at 7:40 am
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    Why would you say such a thing?

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  • February 3, 2022 at 7:53 am
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    I agree with Paul Kelly. I agree that the chord progression has some similarities, but that’s about as far as it goes. Beyond that, and the fact that the combination of Bruce and John’s voices sounds similar to that of Sammy Hagar and… well… Sammy Hagar, I agree that calling this “unreservedly, unapologetically, and unmistakably a COMPLETE and utter rip-off” may be an attempt to generate responses just like this one. Because the reality is that the two songs are only marginally similar, at best.

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  • February 3, 2022 at 8:10 am
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    Paul is spot on. Similar, as many songs are, but you are overstating to a large degree.

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  • February 3, 2022 at 8:18 am
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    Not everyone listened to Van Halen in the 80s. I was a young man in the 1980s, and while I remember hearing VH’s bigger hits on rock radio, I had never heard this one until right now.

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  • February 3, 2022 at 8:27 am
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    Overstating is correct. If I were on the jury….not guilty.

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  • February 3, 2022 at 8:56 am
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    You should pull this article before too many people realize you are a sensationalist hack with no ear for music. There are spots where the guitar parts sound superficially similar, but they are quite different. You lose the internet today, bub. Well done.

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  • February 3, 2022 at 8:58 am
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    Sounds like John Hiatt to me. There are only so many notes and combinations. EVERYONE uses everyone else’s stuff, mostly unintentionally. Please stop the BS.

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    • February 3, 2022 at 4:13 pm
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      Oh — good call. I think Hiatt is a profound influence on both Mellencamp and Bruce. Terrific, powerful artist.

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  • February 3, 2022 at 9:05 am
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    The opening riff is similar and that is it. Completely different lyrics and vocals, not the big deal you’re trying to make it. Like the Red Hot Chili Peppers Dani California sounding similar to Tom Petty’s Mary Janes Last Dance, similar but completely different and it was no big deal to Petty. Same as it should be to the Sammy Hagar/Van Halen camp. Stop trying to make a story out of some weak bullshit.

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  • February 3, 2022 at 9:12 am
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    This is more in line with Mellencamp’s Pop Singer than VH’s Finish What Ya Started.

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    • February 3, 2022 at 10:27 am
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      Jealous much!

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  • February 3, 2022 at 9:22 am
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    Both songs are blues riffs. They are both similar to a thousand other blues songs. Move along.

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  • February 3, 2022 at 9:44 am
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    I couldn’t agree more, it’s all about the melody of the song, not the cords/ key it’s in. I’m an old musician and huge VH fan, pretty pathetic that this was released.
    Scott

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    • February 3, 2022 at 10:49 am
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      Here’s something. All tracks are inspired by other tracks. Across every corner of the world. From small town bands to stadium rockers. Let music be music. Listen or don’t.

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    • February 3, 2022 at 11:54 am
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      These guys are smart enough to know how to make enough alterations in the chord progressions that it separates them legally in court of law.
      Reprehensible….absolutely !!!
      Cheap shot…..totally !!!
      Plagerism….7 shades of and beyond !!!
      Completely stolen….Jury is still out.

      EVH 4EVAH !!!
      God Bless the House of Van Halen

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  • February 3, 2022 at 10:01 am
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    Mellencamp was doing it before Van Halen. Here is musically similar track to Did You Say Such A Thing from 1987 that was a video/single called Rooty Toot Toot, a year before Van Halen’s Finish What You Started. All of this goes back to the old blues guys, then was pulled in/updated by the 1950’s rockabilly people who both Mellencamp and Van Halen would have been fans of.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSVnj3YtDZE

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    • February 3, 2022 at 4:14 pm
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      Good call…very astute. It’s interesting, writing this piece and revisting some of the older Mellencamp stuff made me really appreciate him, he’s got real depth, and a serious appreciation of American roots music.

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  • February 3, 2022 at 10:04 am
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    Yeah, this was a total waste of a read. Have you ever heard blues? Or rock? What’s your take on EDM?

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  • February 3, 2022 at 10:24 am
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    Sounds like garbage to me… good bruce/jonny boy.. you guys need to go away.

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  • February 3, 2022 at 10:24 am
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    Copy? No. Close? No. Not even. If anything, only that once did Eddie “write” a song that reminds one of Mellencamp music. That was not a typical style for Van Halen.

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  • February 3, 2022 at 10:27 am
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    Nope. Not the same song. Both are based off something that long predates them both. People need to stop being experts about things they know nothing about.

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  • February 3, 2022 at 10:42 am
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    I had to stop reading at “utter replicable .”
    Nouns and Adjectives are not the same thing. I’m fine with hyperbole for entertainment from time to time. But I can’t slog through simply sloppy writing. Edit before publishing.

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  • February 3, 2022 at 10:43 am
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    For a musician and record producer to be going on a diatribe like this is really weird. Like imagine thinking VH invented this or something.

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  • February 3, 2022 at 10:58 am
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    It sound more like a slowed down version of Mellencamps Lonely old Night song.

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  • February 3, 2022 at 11:21 am
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    Next you’ll be complaining that someone used an open E chord even though some hit song in the ’80s had an open E chord in it.

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  • February 3, 2022 at 11:26 am
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    No comparison. Similar guitar styles. If I had heard this song before reading this, I would have never made a connection. And, I would have only listened to half of it before turning it off. Not impressed

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  • February 3, 2022 at 11:30 am
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    They did the same thing with ‘Wasted Days’ intro chord progression the same as Pink Floyd’s ‘Lost for Words’ off Division Bell.

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  • February 3, 2022 at 1:21 pm
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    Big deal. Listen to the history of rock and roll and you’ll find way worse examples than this. Van Halen’s always struck me as in debt to “Green River.” I’m not really a Mellencamp fan, but I think his song is grittier than that lame pop stuff of Van Halen.

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  • February 3, 2022 at 1:21 pm
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    It’s like the same song, but with a worse melody and a suckier guitar player. I would argue that it’s sonically more similar than anything else – that guitar tone is dead on, only a maybe little worse, because it’s not Eddie. Rhythmically it’s similar, but the guitar riff in say such a thing is significantly more generic and lame. Not really the same song, not in the same league, and quite frankly, the only reason we’re listening to it is because the names Springsteen and mellencamp are on it. If they put this song out when they were starting out, they wouldn’t have made it.

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  • February 3, 2022 at 2:26 pm
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    It’s 3 chords. Standard blues riff and common groove. Mellencamp didn’t invent it. Springsteen didn’t invent it. Van Halen certainly didn’t invent it. Yet they all managed to write something reasonably enjoyable.

    This article, however…

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  • February 3, 2022 at 3:48 pm
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    Agreed! If the author took the time to listen to Mellencamp’s back catalogue, there are many of his songs that have a similar mood, feel, progressions to them dating back to late 80’s. Maybe Van Halen incorporated some of JM’s sound into Finish What You Started when that was written back in ’87… just sayin’!

    All amazing artists in their own right and as the old saying goes, good artists borrow, great artists steal!

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  • February 3, 2022 at 4:25 pm
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    There was probably some awareness on Springsteen’s and Mellencamp’s part of a rather heavy Finish What Ya Started vibe/tone/style on Did You Say Such A Think, but it’s not the carbon-copy you say it is. What this article and comparison did do is give me a greater appreciation for Finish What Ya Started as a song in its own right. I’m a classic Van Halen fan and never considered the Van Hagar era real Van Halen. They were a good pop-rock band with Hagar, but not iconic. The original line-up, with Roth, was iconic. But, man, they were still real pros at their craft, and this single (off the second Van Hagar album, 0U812, arguably the weakest of that era) really cooks. The Springsteen/Mellencamp song sounds amateurish by comparison which, when you consider who we’re talking about – two veteran artists, one great, the other pretty damn good – is notable (though I’m sure defenders of Springsteen and/or Mellencamp would probably argue that Did You Say Such A Thing is more soulful and heartfelt, etc. because they’re so real, blah, blah, blah). Anyway, it will be interesting to see if Hagar, Alex Van Halen, or Eddie’s son, Wolfe, comments on the song.

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  • February 3, 2022 at 5:30 pm
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    No. You are wrong. This is clickbait. It worked… but now you have a global reputation for being ignorant about music. Congrats I guess?

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  • February 4, 2022 at 10:06 am
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    Well, whatever you do, don’t go listening to more blues! I don’t think you could handle it.

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  • February 5, 2022 at 11:40 am
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    If they were intentionally ripping off a song so blatantly as to merely change the lyrics, why would anyone need to tell them? Do you really think this was a case of the Emporer’s New Clothes? They were giggling together… “no one knows, tee hee hee”

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  • February 5, 2022 at 12:19 pm
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    Did anyone mention “Wasted Days” sounds like Pink Floyd?

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  • February 5, 2022 at 3:18 pm
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    There is no such thing as a ‘ripoff’ in rock & roll. Rock & roll was a derivative of a derivative of a derivative before they ever dropped a name on this thrice lifted impersonation of hundred year old black music. This is the problem with people who say things like ‘IP’. Claiming ownership of progressions, riffs, arrangements… it’s like marrying a hooker. Okay, she’s your’s, but is she tho? How exactly is she your’s? If I sing a song about how she’s your’s while I raw-dog her in the business hole and sing it to the tune of your wedding song, is it derivative? Am I cheapening the sentiment of your union by borrowing your tune?

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  • February 8, 2022 at 7:57 am
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    First these songs have a passing similarity but are clearly not the same song.This does not constitute as a rip off at all.

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  • February 8, 2022 at 7:30 pm
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    Not sure what was a bigger waste of my time. Listening to both songs to compare them or reading this article?

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  • February 10, 2022 at 12:55 am
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    Seems a lot more like Mellencamp mimicking Mellencamp than anything else. In fact, it sounds more like “Lonely Ol’ Night” than the VH tune . . . but maybe with a bit of “Your Life is Now” thrown in.

    P.S. The way this article was written is painful to read. I found myself skipping to the videos and not reading chunks of the article. Really poor excuse for journalism.

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  • February 11, 2022 at 7:19 am
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    I read your article to see how close the two songs in question were as I am constantly hearing similarities between songs. They are fairly close, but as I was listening to the Mellencamp/Springsteen song I realized it sounded even closer to another song I knew. Then I realized it is a song I recorded with a band called The Boot Band back in 2007! I recorded it in Nashville with several Garth Brooks session players. It was written by Marty Stuart. It was the only song on the album that I sang. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this: https://youtu.be/2dZv_FtHMCQ

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  • September 4, 2022 at 12:11 pm
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    I betcha we could find a song prior to Finish What You Started that it “borrowed” from. As some here have said, there is not a lot of brand new musical composition these days, as just about every progression between 5 and 10 notes has been done by somebody before. I roll my eyes at litigious artists who wish to punish other artists who may have been inspired by them.

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  • November 6, 2022 at 9:17 am
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    I don’t like either of Springstein or Mellencamp. There isn’t a single song of Mellencamp’s that doesn’t sound like something we’ve all heard before. The only original trait he has is that nauseating ooh ya that he incorporates a trillion times. They both resemble Kiss in terms off mediocre songs with highly driven marketing.

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  • November 9, 2022 at 7:19 pm
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    As many here have pointed out, this is absolutely not any kind of copyright infringement. Zero, zip, nada.

    The Van Halen song is far more developed. A cooler song. The M/S song is very ordinary. However, there’s another duet they do, Wasted Days (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHLGZxlBpLA), that is quite good.

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