Radiohead vs. The Hollies

September 16th, 2009 by
All of these years I assumed the mysterious, melancholic verse of Radiohead's "Creep" was a signature sound. The haunting progression was lifted straight off the 1974 Hollies hit The Air That I BreathePablo Honey's linear notes credit the original songwriters. [mini_player audio="/music/the_hollies_the-air-that-i-breathe.mp3" artist="The Hollies" track="The Air That I Breathe" year="1974"] [mini_player audio="/music/radiohead_creep.mp3" artist="Radiohead" track="Creep" year="1992"] [mini_player audio="/music/radiohead-creep_end.mp3" artist="Radiohead" track="Creep (ending)" year="1992"] Update: Radiohead vs. The Hollies vs. Reamonn
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29 Responses to “Radiohead vs. The Hollies”

  1. avatar squishfac3 says:

    these sound nothing alike. one uses chords while the other is individual notes. the singing isnt similar at all. nice try

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    Bob Spreen Reply:

    You.

    Are.

    High.

    Listen, *really listen* to both of them. The similarities are obvious.

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    Damen Stephens Reply:

    You are Tone Deaf squishfac3 … so much so that your license to even LISTEN to music should be revoked IMMEDIATELY !!

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  2. avatar Thom says:

    From Wiki: “Radiohead gives songwriting credit to Hammond and Hazelwood in the liner notes for the album Pablo Honey for the song Creep.”

    If you can’t hear the similarity, you’re probably not listening to the right parts of the 2 songs. After the last chorus in Creep, he sings a melody which is identical to the melody used in the verses of the Hollies song.

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  3. avatar Dane Stevenson says:

    Brandi Carlile’s “Follow” (2005) also sounds a lot like this song.

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  4. avatar Keith says:

    @Dane Good find!

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  5. avatar Goose says:

    Yoko Ono also sounds like the moan of a dying cat.

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  6. avatar Foog says:

    “Yoko Ono also sounds like the moan of a dying cat.”

    Only when she wants to.

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  7. Always thought these two were similar. I wouldn’t call it a rip off, per se, but “Creep” is undeniably influenced by “The Air That I Breath”. No big deal, that’s how a lot of hits are written: take what people already know and like then put your stamp on it. It’s not even new: How many 60′s songs are “Wild Thing” with different lyrics?

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  8. avatar Creepshow99 says:

    This part of “Creep” is closer to the Hollies song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFkzRNyygfk#t=2m23s
    2:23

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  9. avatar baTonkaTruck says:

    Radiohead was actually sued by the Hollies’ songwriter(s), successfully, and they now share credit and royalties “Creep,” according to this website:

    “The resulting lawsuit saw royalties and co-authorship granted to Albert Hammond and Mike Hazelwood, who wrote the Hollies song.”

    http://musicouch.com/musicouching/10-unexpected-song-writing-collaborations/

    This reference may be a bit soft, but I’ve heard this from several other sources too (which I now cannot find). I’m sure Radiohead’s management works very hard to keep actual facts about this lawsuit off the web.

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    Keith Reply:

    Cool. Thanks for the link!

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    dxman Reply:

    Radiohead wasn’t sued. They just knew the similarities and credited the original songwriters.

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    Mark Adams Reply:

    How petty can someone be, suing over a chord progression? In the jazz world, what is possibly the most common progression is I-vi-ii-V-I, known as the ‘Rhythm changes’ because it comes from I Got Rhythm by George Gershwin. Composers such as Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk all used it because V (the dominant) clearly leads on to I and ii is the dominant of V, with vi being the dominant of ii (secondary dominants), making this a logical progression.
    A chord progression can be used in such different contexts. There are also plenty of four chord songs, the progression to Sweet Home Alabama is also a common one and would anyone try suing over the use of 12-bar blues, or any other kind of blues, even if it is their own variant?

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  10. avatar richRR says:

    radiohead “karma police”/ beatles “sexy sadie” (white album)
    killing joke “eighties”/ nirvana “come as you are”
    led zeppelin ” travelling riverside blues”/ stone temple pilots “interstate love song” ( IMO, even the titles are similar.)

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    Keith Reply:

    Your first two suggestions are already on the site. I’ll check out the third though.

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  11. avatar magadog says:

    well all you doubters i walked into my local co-op the other day and the radio was on (you know the piped through the shop one) and being a bit of a radiohead fan i thought “oh theres creep on” i admit as i was looking for stuff in the shop i was only half listening but when the guy started singing i thought “hold up whats this” now i knew the song name but wasnt quite sure it was the hollies and i remember thinking to myself how have i never noticed that they sound so similar. i thought id go online today and see if i could find the written music to see how similar it was and lo and behold i find this site with other people saying the same thing (woo hoo im not going insane) i play guitar and there is definatley some of the same chords in both songs and to whoever wrote chords and notes different things and all that well a chord is a collection of notes played to produce a certain sound ie a C or an F which is in itself a NOTE ya follow? as Bob Spreen says LISTEN to it the notes and the chords on both and you will see the light my friens as for the singing i agree that IS different but thats not what we’re all saying its the music that sounds the same ok folks thanks for listening rant over byeeeee

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    Keith Reply:

    Glad you found the site. This is exactly why it’s here!

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  12. avatar Steve says:

    Originality is nothing but judicious imitation. The most original writers borrowed one from another. (Voltaire)

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  13. avatar Travis says:

    another one thatll fit these 2(released in 2010) is Vasco Rossi “ad ogni costo”

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    Keith Reply:

    Nice. Although I think this is actually a cover (with a slightly different title). Here’s an article about the song. It’s in Italian so you’ll have to translate it (Google Chrome does it for you)
    http://www.musicroom.it/articolo/vasco-rossi-ad-ogni-costo-e-il-nuovo-singolo-cover-di-creep-dei-radiohead/9009/

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  14. avatar Cosine says:

    For all of the people out there saying that the two are nothing alike… listen to the Hollies clip above again, only DO NOT try to compare it to the clip right under… just replace (in your mind) the words he sings with “sheeeeeeee’s Running all alooooooooooone” and you will hear.

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    Keith Reply:

    Thanks Cosine. I just added that sample to the list.

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  15. avatar Qunibrog95zeltran says:

    Radiohead is still better and the song has a completely different meaning. Different enough for me.

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  16. avatar Cobi says:

    When I heard the Hollies song on the radio I thought “wait a minute… this is the same melody as Creep!” Everyone who doesn’t hear the similarities, just listen to the acoustic version of ‘creep’, (released on the EP “My iron lung”) then you must hear it, it’s very much the same melodie, both chords and singing!

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  17. avatar Ted says:

    The first time I heard Creep in ’92 or 93 I thought “where have I heard this before; something from riding around in my parents’ station wagon in the 70′s”. (I am too old to rock & roll…..). After about a year of driving myself crazy each time I heard it, I saw a late-night ad for a 70′s hits compilation with the Hollies original version and the mystery in my head was solved. If you have any sense of melody, you will recognize the sincerest flattery right away, especially if you know the original. Both are great songs, though, and the Radiohead interpretation is sublime and sans fromage compared to the Hollies’.

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  18. avatar Sam says:

    Is it any wonder why Thom Yorke ended up hating Creep? It was ‘cus of The Hollies taking action against him for the song because of the similarities between them that not everyone can hear. Not to mention the song was making them a “One hit wonder” band which Thom didn’t want at all.
    I feel more sorry for Thom than The Hollies.

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  19. avatar skulls says:

    Creep is a total ripoff of The Hollies track, but then Radiohead are a very derivative band. I’ve known the boys since school, long before they were called Radiohead or On A Friday, and they have always “borrowed” their “songs”.

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  20. avatar ztoi says:

    radiohead went on to cover “nobody does it better” by carly simon. I’m not sure if they started playing that song in response to the hollies lawsuit, since they have they same chord progression but in another key, or if the carly simon song inspired creep by radiohead which the hollies ended up suing radiohead over. kinda funny. look up the nobody does it better cover. same exact chords as creep.

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