Cat Stevens vs.Tears for Fears

August 18th, 2009 by

I’ve been on a bit of a Cat Stevens kick lately. With so many great songs it’s no wonder his work has been borrowed so often. The other day I was listening to the track Matthew & Son from his debut album of the same title. There’s a short little vocal melody that sounded so much like the Tears for Fears hit “Mad World”. Check it out below. I threw in the Gary Jules version for the younger folks out there.

Cat Stevens - "Matthew & Son " (1966)
Tears for Fears - "Mad World" (1982)
Gary Jules - "Mad World" (2003)

 

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22 Responses to “Cat Stevens vs.Tears for Fears”

  1. avatar Maxwell Waters says:

    Well, I mean listen to it: “He’s got people who’ve been working, for fear of tears.”
    For fear of tears?
    Sounds to me like the band wanted Tears for Fears to be a nod to this album.

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    Keith Reply:

    Nice observation!

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    TUNIT Reply:

    No, no, “He’s got people who’ve been working, for FIFTY years” – I remember hearing this similarity years ago so it’s nice someone else spotted it

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    Marlene Reply:

    “Mad World” by Gary Jules is done very much in Cat Stevens’ later acoustic style. It would fit perfectly in Harold and Maude, which had an all-Cat Stevens soundtrack, especially the line “the dreams I have of dying are the best I’ve ever had.” Maybe “Mad World” was inspired by Harold and Maude, and they borrowed a bit of the melody from “Matthew & Son?” Sounds that way to me, anyway.

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    Mark Adams Reply:

    I thought that was how the lyrics go. And the guys from Tears for Fears say the name came from Primal Scream therapy.

  2. avatar Johnny says:

    This was my favourite ever song soundalike. It was like unearthing Tutankhamun’s tomb. Everyone rips off Cat Stevens, a great melodist.

    Anyway, remember the blatant (albeit at least changed key and moved around slightly) theft by Bryan Adams of Tears for Fears “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”? – http://youtu.be/lP4Nnek6DCo

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    Keith Reply:

    Wow. I am just way too distracted by this totally 80s, probably (at the time, big budget) video.

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    Keith Reply:

    Released in 1991.. but still.

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    Mark Adams Reply:

    Either everyone rips him off or he writes such logical songs that someone’s bound to come up with something similar. X-Kid by Green Day (2013) also sounds like Father And Son (1970), as well as the others I mentioned before.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdLYCjTACpQ#t=17s

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    Keith Reply:

    Good one Mark!

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    Mark Adams Reply:

    You can even add Les Poissons from Disney’s The Little Mermaid (1989), written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken and The Donkey Serenade (1936), the latter of which, X-kid actually sounds more like than Father and Son.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIzCa8xRn1I#t=38s
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyHNlfT6B9E#t=35s

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    Mark Adams Reply:

    The only thing is X-Kid was released on iTre! in Dec 2012. I must have been thinking of iQuatro! The Making of iUno! iDos! iTre! Also from iUno! iDos! iTre! (2012): Some of the songs have riffs similar to Hit Me with Your Best Shot by Pat Benatar (1980), but they might just be using the three punk chords; Brutal Love sounds like Country Road by John Denver (1971); Wild One and Missing You sound like Creep by Radiohead (1992) and Baby Tell Me I’m the Only One by Thirsty Merc (2004). Missing You also sounds like Wonderwall by Oasis (1995). I think the fact that Missing You sounds more like a combination of Creep and Wonderwall than either of them suggests that it isn’t really taken from either.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vrEljMfXYo&feature=kp#t=30s
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnHF7ucsTVM
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcwgejdsugA
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hzrDeceEKc&feature=kp#1m23s

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    Mark Adams Reply:

    The chorus of Missing You reminds me a little of Blind Faith by Warrant (1990), but more of a song I learnt from church: Crown Him King of Kings, written by Sharon Damazio (1991); Walk Away sounds like Luka by Suzanne Vega (1987); the piano arrangement in The Forgotten sounds like Let it Be by The Beatles but with different chords (substitutions?);
    Drama Queen sounds like a cross between Changes by David Bowie (1971) and Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton (1991).
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNoJ9YHtqq0&feature=kp#t=59s
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaD0J4HY7iw#t=25s
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZt7J0iaUD0
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHGP3gBHJk8
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCJmlygi9o0
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qlGpqgrK80
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pl3vxEudif8t=55s
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxPj3GAYYZ0

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    Mark Adams Reply:

    Also, Dirty Rotten Bastards sounds like Toreador, En Garde from Carmen by Georges Bizet (1875) and the French National Anthem: Le Marseillais (1792), written by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, but this comes across as their cheeky punk attitude, rather than trying to pass off someone else’s work as their own. There are several different parts, with similarities to other songs, such as a riff that sounds like that of Almost Saturday Night by John Fogerty (1975).

    I listened to iTre! the other day and I made a game out of it, not that it wasn’t enjoyable enough to listen to. Green Day’s music does have a familiar quality to it, but I’m not certain that they always intentionally sound like other people. They have written about 150 songs, so sooner or later a song is going to sound like another song, and it has. But I do think it was deliberate in the case of Dirty Rotten Bastards and the one that sounds like Downtown.

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    Mark Adams Reply:

    It occurred to me that X-Kid also sounds like their earlier song: Basket Case (1994).

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    Mark Adams Reply:

    Also, Troublemaker sounds like What I Like About You and Picture Book (1968).
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DY8xGuKoeC8

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    Mark Adams Reply:

    It’s certainly possible that the reason they were able to produce the three album series so quickly was because they ‘outsourced’ songs.

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    Haasey Reply:

    Adding to your Green Day Toreador comment Mark, there’s another part of Dirty Rotten Bastards which sounds like a club song in the AFL (Australian Football League) (Adelaide Crows) which base their song on the US Marines Hymn.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xr_4z1kRkuo. (Adelaide Crows.)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSRlQPD6Xiw. (US Marines Hymn.)

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    Mark Adams Reply:

    The only problem is, when footballers ‘sing’, it often doesn’t sound like anything.

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    Mark Adams Reply:

    Sorry, I actually meant the US Marines Fight Song. I had the wrong football team.

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    Mark Adams Reply:

    That is, I didn’t mean Les Marseillais, I did mean Toreador and the US Marines Fight Song.

  3. avatar Nick C says:

    Cat Stevens would have won, if he had sued.

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