The Beatles vs. Bon Jovi

January 12th, 2011 by

Submitted by Michael

Have a listen to the verse in Bon Jovi‘s 1989 power ballad “I’ll Be There For You” and the verse of The Beatles “Don’t Let Me Down” (1969). And while you’re listening, here’s a delightful tidbit via wikipedia:

The verses have an eerily and uncredited similarity (both musically and melodically) to John Lennon’s Beatles’ track ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ (recorded during the Get Back sessions) and the chorus was supposedly culled from an unreleased song by Joel Ellis of Cats in Boots and Heavy Bones. Joel Ellis has said that Lehua Reid (Richie Sambora’s ex-fiancée) regaled him with anecdotes regarding Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora ‘sitting at the piano for hours with a box full of tapes they got from people and going through the songs looking for stuff they could rip off and laughing about it, your [Ellis’] song was played over and over and over’.
Read more at wikipedia

I’m also very intrigued by this Joel Ellis song as well. If anyone can get a hold of it please send it my way.

Later towards the end of CIB[Cats In Boots] I started dating Richie [Sambora]’s ex-fiancee Lehua Reid, one night we were laying around listening to old tapes of The Hoax and that song came on and she lit up and looked at me saying “…this is you??!!” “I remember John and Richie sitting at the piano for hours with a box full of tapes they got from people and going through the songs looking for stuff they could rip off and laughing about it, your song was played over and over and over….” Well, the rest is old news.
Excerpted from this 2006 interview

The Beatles - "Don't Let Me Down" (1969)

Bon Jovi - "I'll Be There For You" (1989)

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16 Responses to “The Beatles vs. Bon Jovi”

  1. avatar merritt says:

    The first time I heard “I’ll be there for you”, it seemed obvious to me that the begining of the verse is a blatant and shameless rip off from the Beatles tune. I’m surprised that no one made a big deal out of it. Jon Bon Jovi just smiles and sings it like he wrote. Give me a break. Please. Really.

    No seriously. Come on.

    I wish smebody would ask Paul McCartney what he thinks abut the Bon Jovi tune.

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  2. avatar JR says:

    Both songs are awesome and when I first heard “Don’t Let Me Down”, I knew the melody sounded familiar; turns out, when I listened to Bon Jovi again, I realised they ripped ‘em off

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  3. avatar SBS says:

    “I’ll Be There For You” (1988) from Joel Ellis’s band’s chorus hook/title/theme “I’ll Be There For You” (1987) (handed his tape to BJ personally in front of several witnesses) and derived from Beatle’s verses and pre-chorus from “Don’t Let Me Down” (1969)

    Have A Nice Day ;)

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  4. avatar michael says:

    you should also add that jack johnson to this “at or with me” attachment http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrFx-_ClH5Q

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    Keith Reply:

    Wow, that’s really good. Thanks!

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  5. avatar Jesper says:

    The Bon Jovi song is also similar to Lennon’s Jealous Guy.

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  6. avatar Guy says:

    I read Ritchie say Jon wanted to write a song like “Dont let..: ” this was not really a secret ripoff

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    Keith Reply:

    Thanks Guy! Is that interview online anywhere?

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  7. avatar R4949 says:

    The end of Rod Stewart’s “The Killing of Georgie” is a straight rip from “Don’t let me down”. Listen: http://youtu.be/skoLCUj1SwI?t=5m23s

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    Mark Adams Reply:

    It also sounds like his own Lady Day (1970).
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJqEn44HPOE

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  8. avatar Mark Adams says:

    And I’d Rather Go Blind (1968), written by Ellington Jordan and Billy Foster and first recorded by Etta James.

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    Mark Adams Reply:

    Speaking of Bon Jovi, Am I Wrong by Nico & Vinz sounds like Love Never Felt So Good by Michael Jackson and The Hardest Part is the Night by Bon Jovi (1985).

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    Mark Adams Reply:

    And Always (1994) has some similar lyrics to Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits (1980), particularly “…I can’t sing a love song like the way it’s meant to be” vs “I can’t do a love song, like the way it’s meant to be” and of course the protagonist of Always is referred to as a Romeo, not that the latter doesn’t appear in a lot of songs.

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    Mark Adams Reply:

    And the guitar solo from Never Say Goodbye (1986) sounds kind of like I Don’t Know How to Love Him from Jesus Christ Superstar by Andrew Lloyd Webber (1970), which in turn even most of Lloyd Webber’s fans admit is a reworked version of the II Andante Movement of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor (1844), which in turn sounds kind of like Corelli’s (1653-1713) Sonata in D major op.5. I don’t generally like to post about guitar solos, as they are often improvised, but we’re not accusing anyone of anything here and according to Wikipedia, which does include a few references, Lloyd Webber would consult his father when a composition sounded too much like another.

    I thought the guitar solo from Never Say Goodbye sounded like something, but I just accepted it sounded familiar to me because I knew it…until I played for my mother a song I had written and when I got up to the guitar solo I said I was trying to make sure it didn’t sound too much like Never Say Goodbye. I already had to change the verse because it sounded too much like Candle in the Wind and the chorus was reminiscent of I Did What I Did for Maria by Tony Christie. Hmm, a song in which the verse sounds like one song, the chorus like another and the guitar solo like yet another, I don’t think I can be the first to encounter such a thing.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifm00JEjSeo#t=2m52s
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLkO-yHbe5Y
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4n-RDZIA1g0#t=11m37s
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNZ6SA1SOxo

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    Mark Adams Reply:

    This part of More Than A Feeling by Boston (1976) also reminds me I Don’t Know How to Love Him, etc, but also part of Canon Rock (2005). Also be sure to check out the pre-chorus or whatever of More than A Feeling and try to quickly sing along either: Telephone Line, Give Me Some Time or 21 Guns, Lay Down Your Arms, but more the former. From what I have found More Than A Feeling and Telephone Line were released around the same time, but More Than A Feeling may have been written first.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSR6ZzjDZ94#t=2m39s

  9. avatar Mark Adams says:

    I think I’ve found another one, Sweet Sweet Love by Russell Morris (1971).
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LWWnc5rZqs#t=2m46s

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