Discussion: Hey, I’ve heard that before!

The 9513 notes in its review of the new Carrie Underwood single, “Last Name”:

The song is similar in theme to Alan Jackson’s “I Don’t Even Know Your Name,” but this time, the roles are reversed and it’s from the perspective of the woman.

They’re a bit more charitable than me. I’d call it an obvious rip-off. But it got me thinking about those times when I’ve heard a country song, and thought to myself: “Hey, I’ve heard that before.”

Sometimes it’s just a line, like when Lee Ann Womack’s “A Little Past Little Rock” included in the chorus: “I’m learning more with every mile, just how leaving feels.” It reminded me immediately of the Martina McBride single from three years earlier, “Cry on the Shoulder of the Road”, where she sang “So this is how leaving feels”, while hitting the highway herself.

A subtle similarity, I guess. But boy, have there been some blatant ones.

Here are three that I consider the worst offenders, where the song might as well have been rewritten using the first as a blueprint:

  • Terri Clark’s “If I Were You”, which took the plotline of Reba McEntire’s single girl tale of woe “If You Only Knew”, right down to the single woman coming home and finding her married friend waiting for her at the door.
  • Kenny Chesney’s “Don’t Happen Twice”, which carbon-copied the Tim McGraw hit “Something Like That”, back when Chesney was doing his darndest to be the new Tim
  • Brad Paisley’s “Mud on the Tires”, which lifts its plotline from the 80′s K.T. Oslin hit “Hey Bobby”, minus the charm and sexual energy

So those are mine. Which ones can you think of?

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19 Responses to Discussion: Hey, I’ve heard that before!

  1. Stephen H.No Gravatar

    The overall themes aren’t the same, but I definitely noticed something between Mark Chesnutt’s “It’s a Little Too Late” and Toby Keith’s “A Little Too Late” (both of which I like, for the record):

    Mark Chesnutt:
    “It’s a little too late / She’s a little too gone”

    Toby Keith:
    “It’s a little too late / I’m a little too gone”

    George Strait also has recorded two songs with the title “She’ll Leave You with a Smile.”

  2. menachemNo Gravatar

    What about Rascal Flat’s version of Lee Ann Womack’s “I hope you dance” (I can’t remember what the title of the song is, but every time I hear it I think about what a complete rip off it is).

  3. Stephen H.No Gravatar


  4. Stephen H.No Gravatar

    Oh wait, “My Wish.”

    Those two songs are almost identical to me, as it is.

  5. I thought “My Wish” was more a rip-off of Jo Dee Messina’s “I Wish”, which in turn heavily borrowed from the recitation in Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.”

  6. bobbyNo Gravatar

    blaine larson has a song called the best man that was excalty like he didnt have to be by brad paisley.

  7. bobbyNo Gravatar

    oh and i thought the same thing about “i hope you dance” and “my wish”

  8. BrianNo Gravatar

    The music for both “That’s What I Love About Sunday” and “Paint Me a Birmingham” always sounded similar. I tried singing the chorus of Birmingham one time over the chorus of Sunday and it worked almost perfectly

  9. Brian,

    Same deal with “Play Something Country” by Brooks & Dunn. It’s the exact same hook as Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “Shut Up and Kiss Me.”

  10. Seemed like Travis Tritt was ripping off himself back during his good run of hits in the early 90′s… not that I minded, those were great songs, but sometimes I couldn’t tell which Tritt song it was until he sang the chorus.

    I also noticed the similarity of Tim & Kenny’s songs; even wrote a mash-up of sorts back then (along with The Good Stuff):

    Something Like That Good Stuff Just Don’t Happen Twice
    by Kenny McGraw

    I hadn’t seen her since September
    Said I liked her bouffant hair
    She gave my first kiss so tender
    so we skipped the county fair

    I had a barbeque stain on the hood of my car
    Skippin’ rocks down by the corner bar
    We sang Bobby McGee with hair full of rice
    She had a carton of milk and a suntan line
    My eyes went misty in that sailor’s sky
    Something like that good stuff just don’t happen twice

    Three AM by the railroad tracks
    Her miniskirt caught my stare
    I smiled and said I’ll have some of that
    Just one more mem’ry we made there

    I had a barbeque stain on the hood of my car
    Skippin’ rocks down by the corner bar
    We sang Bobby McGee with hair full of rice
    She had a string of pearls and a suntan line
    My eyes went misty in that sailor’s sky
    Something like that good stuff just don’t happen twice

    Five years later with a dixie cup
    I reached around for the whiskey
    I recalled my high school love
    and how the cancer took her from me

    I had a barbeque stain on the hood of my car
    Skippin’ rocks down by the corner bar
    We sang Bobby McGee with hair full of rice
    She had a string of pearls and a suntan line
    My eyes went misty in that sailor’s sky
    Something like that good stuff just don’t happen twice

    Yeah man, a heart just don’t forget
    when we fell in love
    that’s the good stuff

  11. LynnNo Gravatar

    When I hear one of these songs, I always think of the other(s):

    Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying” and Phil Vassar’s “Last Day of My Life”

    John Michael Montgomery’s “I Love the Way You Love Me,” Brad Paisley’s “She’s Everything” and Phil Vassar’s “The Woman in My Life”

    I’ll put Kenny’s “Don’t Blink” in with Carrie Underwood’s “So Small”

    Heartland’s “I Loved Her First” and Chuck Wick’s “Stealing Cinderella.”

    There are so many more out there!

    Country is definitely one of those genre’s where things start to sound the same after awhile – yes love will be written about until the end of time, but it is the way you find to do it that matters – the lyrics, the instrumentation. Here’s hoping for more variety on country radio!!

  12. LeeannNo Gravatar

    I see the similarities between “I Love the Way You Love Me” and “She’s Everything To Me”, but not the Vassar song. Maybe it’s because I like the first two, but really can’t stand the last one.

  13. The Vassar reference reminded me of the similarities between his “This is God” and Dolly Parton’s far superior “Hello God”, though they were completely coincidental. Both artists wrote in response to 9/11 on their own and happened to pick similar approaches.

  14. Casey

    I still can’t tell the difference (when the song starts, that is) between Craig Morgan’s “That’s What I Love About Sunday” and his first single “Almost Home.” The melody is practically the same thing. I feel the same way about all of his songs. Seems he’s got a template for a slow song and a template for a faster song and he just picks one, changes an instrument or two, then calls it a day.

  15. Stephen H.No Gravatar

    Whenever I hear the opening hook to “Things That Never Cross a Man’s Mind,” I think I’m about to hear “Rock My World (Little Country Girl)”.

    Also, I heard “Rocks in Your Shoes” by Emily West for the first time, and it’s almost identical, content-wise and music-wise, to “If You’re Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows”. I even tried singing the latter as I was listening to the former, and it was almost a perfect fit, chord-wise.

  16. Stephen H.No Gravatar

    Also, as it is, “Rock My World (Little Country Girl)” and “My Kind of Girl” (Collin Raye) are almost exactly the same song — content-wise, melodically (12-bar blues, 8-bar chorus that doesn’t state the song’s title, etc.). I’d be tempted to do a mashup such as what was done with Tim and Kenny above.

  17. Isn’t Chuck Wicks’ “Stealing Cinderella” a rip-off of Bob Carlisle’s “Butterfly Kisses”?

  18. Ryan FranciscusNo Gravatar

    No Chuck Wick’s “Stealing Cinderella” is different. It is from the view of the man taking the daughter. Butterfly Kisses is the view from the father stand point. I think He loved her first by Heartland and Butterfly Kisses are more similar.

    Kristina Kornell’s “Little Red Balloon” and John Berry’s “The balloon song” are the same exact thing.

  19. pj_vett

    I’ve always thought the music to Eric Church’s “How ‘Bout You” was a direct rip off of Dierks Bentley’s “Lot of Leaving Left To Do.”

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