As we all know by now, Melania Trump paid the ultimate tribute to Michelle Obama by plagiarizing her 2008 convention speech. You’re welcome, Michelle.
But what makes the theft all the more poignant is that it took place in the city of Cleveland, the home of Rock n’Roll, the genre of music that has been defined by white people’s theft of Black people’s work.
A blend of blues, gospel, and Jazz, the music had been written, performed and recorded by Black musicians in the late 40s and early 50s. It was called “black” music, until Cleveland DJ Alan Freed popularized the term “rock n roll.” Appropriately enough, Freed himself took credit as a co-writer of music he had no part in writing, including Chuck Berry’s “Maybelline.”
Other examples of white on black theft include:
1. Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon vs. Led Zeppelin
This is “Whole Lotta Love,” the Led Zeppelin hit of 1969:
And this is “You Need Love,” written by Willie Dixon and performed by Muddy Waters in 1962:
Dixon became aware of the Led Zeppelin song thanks to his daughter Shirley. When she was 13, Shirley heard a song she thought sounded familiar at her friend’s house. She asked her friend if she could borrow the album, and then played the song for her dad, who realized it had borrowed heavily from the lyrics and music of his song. In In 1987, Dixon won an out-of-court settlement over the song. Dixon is now officially credited, along with all four members of Led Zeppelin, and he used the money from the settlement to help support his Blues Heaven Foundation, which helps musicians preserve their royalties and music rights. Dixon died in 1992 but his daughter Shirley maintains the foundation.
2. The Chiffons and Ronald Mack vs. George Harrison
This is George Harrison’s first solo recording and number 1 hit “My Sweet Lord” (of 1970):
And this is “He’s so Fine,” which was written by Ronald Mack and recorded by the Chiffons in 1963:
In case you have any doubts, here are the songs played together:
In 1971, Harrison was sued for copyright infringement and was ultimately found guilty of “subconscious plagiarism,” and ordered to pay $1,599,987 to publisher Bright Tunes. Mack had died in 1963.
3. Chuck Berry vs. The Beach Boys
This is “Surfin’ USA, “which the Beach Boys released in 1963, crediting its own Brian Wilson:
This is “Sweet Little Sixteen,” which Chuck Berry wrote and performed in 1958:
Berry sued and got song-writing royalties and writing credit.
4. Stevie Wonder vs. Oasis
Here is the Oasis song “Step Out” (1995):
Oasis wound up removing “Step Out” from its album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, mysteriously enough. It released the song later as a b-side track on the CD single of Don’t Look Back In Anger and it officially credited Wonder as one of the writers. [Insert Wonder Wall joke pun.]
5. Marvin Gaye vs. Robin Thicke
This is Robin Thicke’s date-rape-alicious hit “Blurred Lines” (2013):
And this is “Got to give it up,” written by Art Stewart and recorded by Marvin Gaye in 1977:
6. Public Enemy vs. Madonna
This is Madonna’s scandalous hit “Justify My Love” (1990):
And this is Public Enemy’s “Security Of The First World” from 1988:
Perhaps because they aren’t exactly strangers to sampling, Public Enemy didn’t sue over the use of their beat. Instead, they allegedly had Young Black Teenagers come out with “To My Donna” in 1991, which used the same beat.
7. Flame vs. Katy Perry
This is Katy Perry’s hit “Dark Horse” (2013):
And this is “Joyful Noise,” a 2008 song from Christian rappers Flame and Lecrae Moore:
Flame and Lacrae sued Perry and Capitol Records for stealing riffs from from “Joyful Sound.” Even worse, the suit claimed, the Christian ballad had been “irreparably tarnished by its association with the witchcraft, paganism, black magic, and Illuminati imagery evoked by the same music in ‘Dark Horse’.”
8. The Isley Brothers vs. Michael Bolton
This is Michael Bolton hit “Love is a Wonderful Thing” (1991):
This is the song of the same name written by the Isley Brothers in 1964 and released in 1966:
When the Isley Brothers sued Bolton, his co-writer Andrew Goldmark and Sony records for plagiarizing their song of the same name, the defendants were ordered to pay $5.2 million, the largest payment in music history.
Vietnamese women strive to clear war-era mines
Inching across a field littered with Vietnam war-era bombs, Ngoc leads an all-women demining team clearing unexploded ordnance that has killed tens of thousands of people -- including her uncle.
"He died in an explosion. I was haunted by memories of him," Le Thi Bich Ngoc tells AFP as she oversees the controlled detonation of a cluster bomb found in a sealed-off site in central Quang Tri province.
More than 6.1 million hectares of land in Vietnam remain blanketed by unexploded munitions -- mainly dropped by US bombers -- decades after the war ended in 1975.
At least 40,000 Vietnamese have since died in related accidents. Victims are often farmers who accidentally trigger explosions, people salvaging scrap metal, or children who mistake bomblets for toys.
Chief Justice John Roberts issues New Year’s Eve warning to stand up for democracy
"In our age, when social media can instantly spread rumor and false information on a grand scale, the public's need to understand our government, and the protections it provides, is ever more vital," he wrote. "We should celebrate our strong and independent judiciary, a key source of national unity and stability."
Trump’s next 100 days will dictate whether he can be re-elected or not — here’s why
According to CNN pollster-in-residence Harry Enten, Donald Trump's next 100 days -- which could include an impeachment trial in the Senate -- will hold the key to whether he will remain president in 2020.
As Eten explains in a column for CNN, "His [Trump's] approval rating has been consistently low during his first term. Yet his supporters could always point out that approval ratings before an election year have not historically been correlated with reelection success. But by mid-March of an election year, approval ratings, though, become more predictive. Presidents with low approval ratings in mid-March of an election year tend to lose, while those with strong approval ratings tend to win in blowouts and those with middling approval ratings usually win by small margins."