Chuck Berry and The Beatles
Chuck Berry was a legendary musician. Many credit him as being the father of Classic Rock, with his harmonious blends of blues and country twang creating his unique and stunning signature style. Bands like The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan have been heavily inspired by his music without crediting him - with The Beatles being one of the most famous bands to do this. The majority of these white musicians gave no acknowledgement to this until years later after they had profited immensely from Berry’s work. Paul McCartney admitted to stealing the riff from The Beatles’ song “I Saw Her Standing There” from Berry’s “I’m Talking About You”, but only years later after the booming success of the song. John Lennon stole a direct lyric from Berry’s song “You Can’t Catch Me” and admitted to being heavily influenced by the song, yet claims it remains completely independent from Chuck Berry. In a statement, he said, “Come Together is me, writing obscurely around an old Chuck Berry thing. I left the line in, ‘Here comes old flat-top’. It is nothing like the Chuck Berry song, but they took me to court because I admitted the influence once years ago. I could have changed it to ‘Here comes old iron face,’ but the song remains independent of Chuck Berry or anybody else on Earth”.
Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton and Elvis Presley
Elvis Presely, known infamously as “The King”, was always inspired by Black musicians and never fairly credited them. He has many iconic songs that earned him massive success, with one of them being “Hound Dog”, released in 1956. But what most people don’t know is that a song with the exact same title, nearly identical lyrics and slightly slower tempo was released by a Black woman named Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornoton three years earlier in 1953. After hearing a cover of the song in a hotel in 1956, he recorded his own version months later. It topped the R&B, Country, and Pop Charts, with the majority of people believing it to be an original song of his as he never indicated its true origin. Thornton stated years later that the song “must have sold two million copies - and I was paid one check for 500 dollars, and never another cent”.
Muddy Waters and Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin has been sued and accused from dozens of different sources for stealing riffs, melodies, lyrics, and beats. Additionally, many of their songs were heavily influenced by songs from other artists and writers who were given no credit. Many people credit the guitar riff included in Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” as the greatest guitar riff of all time, but this also could not have been possible without a Black musician named McKinley Morganfield - known professionally as Muddy Waters. Many parts of Led Zeppelin’s song was based off of Muddy Waters’ song “You Need Love”, yet the original writer of the song was not given credit until he sued the band.
“Swing dancing, the Lindy Hop, the Charleston, the jitterbug, the flea, the mover, the spin, the buzz, the jazz, the Cab Calloway, tap dancing, the moonwalk, the slide, the skirt, juking, flapping, shagging, jive, boogie woogie, the rock, the mashed potato, the twist, the James Brown, the robot, the squirt, the monkey, the funky chicken, the schoolboy, hand jive, disco, popping, locking, breakdancing, the worm, the windmill, the King Tut, the Vogue, the Bobby Brown, the Michael Jackson, the Tootsie Roll, the Butterfly, the Electric Slide, the Wobble, the Cupid Shuffle, jukking, line dancing, square dancing, krumping, and twerking”