I had this poster. Seriously. Prized possession.
I may have mentioned before that I have quite forgiven myself for liking Jethro Tull when I was thirteen. The Sex Pistols weren't even yet a gleam in Malcolm McLaren's eye, and Elvis Costello was still punching cards in FORTRAN for Elizabeth Arden. Particularly before the whole silly Elizabethan-Boogie thing, Tull was really quite a fine band -- their first two albums, made when they were a mere blues band with pretensions to good songcraft, are still rather listenable. Our local PBS station has a Celtic-music show on Sundays that I'll occasionally listen in on (not a major fan of the thick-sweatered "authentic" music, me -- too repetitious) called "The Thistle and Shamrock," and it amazes me how many times I'll notice that Ian Anderson lifted huge swathes of his mature output, lock, stock, and two smoking Uilleann pipes, from that music.
Today, I had a perfectly decent early-Tull song utterly ruined for me.
There I was in a quiet moment at work, idly clicking the Stumble! button, when up came collection of really-quite-good essays on applied music theory by a fella named Ger Tillikens. One of them is named "Locked Into the Hotel California," about the chord progression in that loathsome song by the loathsome fucking Eagles. Tillikens uses the song to make fascinating (to me, anyway -- YMMV) points about the Dorian mode and something I'd never heard of called the "twin-tone system."
During the course of the discussion, he lets drop the bomb that the authors of the Wikipedia article about "Hotel California" note that the verse's chord progression bears an amazingly exact resemblance to -- be ready to have the song ruined for you -- Jethro Tull's "We Used to Know," from their second album, "Stand Up." In a footnote, he notes that Ian Anderson knows damned well the song was lifted from him; "in a BBC radio interview [Anderson] once laughingly said that he was still waiting for his royalties."
For the record, the verse of "Hotel California":
i - V - VII - IV - VI - III - iv - V
"We Used to Know":
i - V - VII - IV - VI - III - II - V
I hadn't thought about that song in years, but I have great affection for its memory, and many was the time that I played mad air guitar in my shuttered room to Martin Barre's workout in that halcyon year 1973.
So I came home, pulled out the CD, and... Oh yeah. Larceny-a-go-go....
Try it for yourself. They even lifted quite a bit of melody from it. You can sing "On a dark desert highway/Cool wind in my hair" right along with "Whenever I get to feel this way/Try to find new words to say," and it fits right in. I'll never be able to hear the song the same way again.
Fuckin' Eagles. Is there no end to their evil?
Jethro Tull's "We Used to Know." (pops)