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by John McArthur

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Comments from YouTube:

James Wolfe

I thought the first sounded awfully similar to "I might have known the bitch could bite, l might have known the cat had claws, i might have guessed your little secret" from At The End of the Day from Les Miserables

Jennifer G

I think David Bowie might have been a bit influenced by 'Memory'/'Bolero' for the chorus of 'Absolute Beginners'.

Mark Phillips

Listen to Ecclesiastes by Stevie Wonder. The main melody from the Phantom theme is basically a sped up version of that. Ecclesiastes was released 7 years before Phantom

Gimp Man

He also wrote All By Myself by Eric Carmen. Or was that Rachmaninoff? D'Oh!


The Phantom of the Opera main theme maybe belongs to ^Vaughan Williams symphony #2 (London)^

Corno di Bassetto

There are 2 really separate issues in these plagiarism cases. One is legal, the other is creative. To impugn the creativity of an artist for similarities is absurd. Every artist from the beginning of time has "stolen" in the creative sense meant by Eliot when he said that small poets borrow, great artists steal.

Shakespeare brazenly stole plots and even passages from Plutarch (Cleopatra's barge, among others). Even the creators of Bugs Bunny conceded a strong similarity with a bunny Disney created in Aesop's Turtle and the Hare. "Homicidal" bore a striking similarity to Psycho.

I believe traditionally artists ignored such borrowings because they did not want to complicate creativity. It was an understanding that if one studio sued, all studios would start suing. If one songwriter sued so would they all. And creativity would be stifled.

Litigating these issues can stifle creativity. And the purpose of the copyright clause in the Constitution was in fact to nurture creativity, not to stifle it. If every time a composer picked out notes on the piano or a guitarist fingered a riff on his instrument he feared it might sound like another motif or them, artists would cease writing their novels, screenplays, Rock songs, musicals, etc. Think of all the Robot films that were direct descendants of Fritz Lang's Metropolis and think of all the similarities in the later planted memories films and similar films.

Rudyard Kipling said it best in one of his ballads:

"When 'Omer Smote 'Is Bloomin' Lyre"

When 'Omer smote 'is bloomin' lyre,
He'd 'eard men sing by land an' sea;
An' what he thought 'e might require,
'E went an' took -- the same as me! ...

They knew 'e stole; 'e knew they knowed.
They didn't tell, nor make a fuss,
But winked at 'Omer down the road,
An' 'e winked back -- the same as us!

In any case, a legal issue has nothing to do with a creative issue. Whether the Puccini estate had a case with the song "Avalon" or the Lloyd-Webber song LEGALLY has no bearing on the creativity of those songs and what the composers made of them. Only by a stretch can the faint similarity between, say, the Mendelssohn's violin Andante melody and "I Don't Know How To Love Him" take away from the latter song's artistry.

And I'm not a big fan of the composer's anyway.I much prefer the American musical to what LWebber has done. I'll take Gypsy or West Side Story any day over PHantom of the Opera. I like my Puccini straight. Having said this, that doesn't take away from the composer's creativity. Wouldn't we all like to do with the Mendelssohn motif what he did with them? Wouldn't we all like to use a phrase from Puccini the way he did? Wouldn't he all like to steal from Plutarch the way that Shakespeare did in Antony and Cleopatra or Julius Caesar?

Dwight Turner

@Corno di Bassetto -- Long-winded psuedo intellectual soy boy.

Corno di Bassetto

@Dwight Turner Blah blah blah blah. Guess what? I don't "debate" posters who begin a reply with "blah blah blah blah." That might not bother you, but it disgusts me. So it's mute mute mute mute to you. I won't be notified of your comments anymore.

Dwight Turner

Blah blah blah blah. When Andrew Weber STOLE the excerpt of Pink Floyd's "Echos," it was plagiary, pure and simple. The melody was the captivating main theme of Phantom of the Opera. That might not bother you, but it disgusts me and a lot of others. Some say that Pink Floyd, who passed on sueing Weber, got their inspiration from Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun. I disagree. Weber's Phantom theme is a blatant copy of "Echos."

Corno di Bassetto

@Occidental79er All one has to do is refer to Mo Li Hua and how the genius of Puccini used that song to stifle criticism of LW. The song figures heavily in Puccini's score but one is more impressed with what he did with it than with the fact that it's a Chinese song. Let others try to do with it what the genius of Puccini did. And there seem to be other Chinese songs in that score. To my ears they sound of Chinese origin, though Puccini was fixated on the pentatonic scale throughout his career. Come to think of it, there's an indigenous song at the beginning of La Fanciulla del West.

Just recently I heard some similarity with a song that Mario del Monaco made famous called Un amore così grande, from the 1975 Eurocontest (del Monaco sang it late in his career but Pavarotti also recorded it. The later song from the French musical Les Miserables does sound similar on the words "il est venue des cathedrales" and the start of the chorus of Un Amore.

Would Rock had ever gotten off the ground if early Rock stars started suing one another? I still think KIpling said it best in his cockney ballad: what Homer thought he might require, he went and took, same as me.

I always assumed there was a Gentleman's Agreement among artists in all fields: you don't sue me and I won't sue you, or someone on your label, in your film studio, etc. Prob why Disney never sued against Bugs Bunny though even its creators conceded he might have, at least based on what I read. And how Castle ever escaped litigation against Homicidal just months after Psycho is beyond me Again: Gentleman's Agreement; or there'll be lawsuits flying back and forth. The exception is where the actual product is stolen, such as using a recorded song in a movie or (in a fairly recent case) the Oscars using Mickey Mouse without the studio's permission. Of course there was no litigation, just a proprietary claim.

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