Every time I whip out my favorite collection of German mainstream pop music, Schlager für Millionen, I can’t help noticing that many of the songs have melodies which are directly copied, note for note, from American or British pop songs or traditional ballads. The brazen theft is never noted on the album info, and I’d imagine that the vast majority of German fans aren’t aware they’re listening to musical copies. Given that the German rights-enforcement agency is blocking thousands of Youtube videos in an attempt to ensure (what they consider) proper payment for artists, I’d also be interested to know whether the German Schlager stars at least licensed and paid for the music they used that was still under copyright when they stole the tune.
Just a few examples. First, Udo Lindenberg’s 1983 hit Sonderzug nach Pankow:
which is a copy of the Glenn Miller Orchestra’s Chattanooga Choo Choo. To be fair, Lindenberg never tried to conceal this fact, and his song itself is about trains. But still, he copied the music note-for-note from Glenn Miller.
And now the ‘hymn’ of the Cologne football team, FC Köln, being sung by thousands of fans.
How many know it’s a note-for-note copy of this traditional Scottish ballad?
UPDATE: Thanks to commenter Christan Schorn, who reminded me of one of the most shameless thefts, Bert and Cindy’s transformation of Black Sabbath’s scorching ‘Paranoid’…
into this abomination:
Double derivativeness points for the German text drawing from Conan Doyle’s ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’.