CatrianiPlay: The Most Used Melody in Pop Music


I now dub this “CatrianiPlay: The Most Used Melody in Pop Music“. Aside from “Pachelbel’s Canon” which is commonly referenced as one of the most re-used progressions in modern music the following songs all resemble a similar melodic structure. They are not necessarily note-for-note duplicates but they sound alike.

In my first post for this soundalike we saw Reuters reporting that Joe Satriani filed a copyright infringement suit against Coldplay claiming that the, “song ‘Viva La Vida’ incorporated ‘substantial original portions’ of his 2004 instrumental ‘If I Could Fly.'” Then just a few months later Cat Stevens publicly stated that “Viva La Vida” has some similarities to his epic 1973 track “Foreigner Suite” stating , ” [Viva La Vida] definitely sounds like it…It has such logical chords and the melody has to be what it is…” In addition Creaky Boards, a local Brooklyn band posted a clip on YouTube of their ironically titled track “The Songs I Didn’t Write” pointing out the similarities of “Viva La Vida” (apparently released long after Creaky Boards had been performing their song live).

Just when I thought I had all of the examples of this melody in modern pop music I was thrown two more by Paradojan followed by one more from Travis (who has recently submitted a whole slew of great songs). We can now add Mireille Mathieu & Patrick Duffy‘s “Together We’re Strong” (1983),  Reamonn‘s “Tonight” (2006) AND Enanitos Verdes – “Frances Limon” (2004) (2002).

And now, in chronological order:

Cat Stevens - "Foreigner Suite" (1973)
Mireille Mathieu & Patrick Duffy - "Together We're Strong" (1983)
Survivor - "I Can't Hold Back" (1984)
Enanitos Verdes - "Frances Limon" (2002)
Joe Satriani - "If I Could Fly" (2004)
Reamonn - "Tonight" (2006)
Coldplay - "Viva la Vida" (2008)
Creaky Boards - "The Songs I Didn't Write" (2008)

I made a video too:

Corrections in video
“Frances Limon” was released in 2002, not 2004.

“Raemonn” is actually spelled “Reamonn

UPDATE 5/31/2012: I made a post on buzzfeed that illustrates 12 Songs

UPDATE 9/3/2013: Check out this Polish video of this. 

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128 thoughts on “CatrianiPlay: The Most Used Melody in Pop Music

  1. avatarMark Adams

    For another Elvis similarity, Return to Sender (1962) sounds kind of like Teenager in Love (1959), written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, performed by Dion and the Belmonts, but part of that in turn sounds like (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear, written by Kal Mann and Bernie Lowe and performed by Elvis, but this part is mainly on two notes and Bad by Michael Jackson (1987) also sounds like these.



    Mark Adams Reply:

    Elvis also recorded Love Me Tender, which has the same tune as Aura Lea and The Eyes Of Texas (written 1903), set to the tune of I’ve Been Working on the Railroad, but he didn’t claim to have written either of them.



    Mark Adams Reply:

    That two note melody in (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear, Teenager in Love and Return to Sender is similar to one found in the stop verses or whatever of old blues songs such as Sweet Home Chicago by Robert Johnson (1936). I do prefer the Blues Brothers version, though.


  2. avatarMark Adams

    And Joanie and Chachi’s song from Happy Days Season 9 Episode 18 Great Expectations (1982), not to be confused with Great Expectations from Season 1. Unfortunately I can’t find the episode online. You can do another update, but I think it would be an idea to just include a few examples of the melody and have users of this website hear if they’ve heard it anywhere else.


  3. avatarMark Adams

    And Sea Cruise, written by Huey ‘Piano’ Smith and recorded by Frankie Ford (1959), covered by John Fogerty in 1975. The following year he recorded the unreleased Hoodoo Man, which has a similar melody.


  4. avatarMark Adams

    The melody of Ramble Tamble is kind of like My Baby Left Me by Arthur ‘Big boy’ Crudup, which they covered on the same album.


  5. avatarMark Adams

    And a riff from Save Me, San Francisco sounds like that of It Came Out of the Sky by Creedence (1969). Considering what Save Me, San Francisco is about, it makes sense to through in a reference to another San Francisco Bay band, but It Came Out of the Sky wasn’t one of Creedence’s biggest hits and I think Train may have been trying to reference a standard Creedence riff. For example, there is a similar riff in the guitar solo from Proud Mary (1969). There is even a similar riff in the intro to John Fogerty’s rare solo single Coming Down the Road (1973), which has a melody which bridges the gap between Up Around the Bend (1970) and Rockin’ All Over the World (1975), the latter of which, come to think of it, has a similar riff.


  6. avatarMark Adams

    Part of Who’s That Girl by Guy Sebastian (2010) sounds like Homeward Bound (1966), followed by a part which sounds like The Scientist (2002). And Part of Blow Me (One Last Kiss) by P!nk, off of The Truth About Love in Sep 2012 (but the single pre-empted the album by more than two months) sounds like Mermaid by Train (Apr 2012), but someone stated, I think in a comment for that Buzzfeed article, that it also sounds like Take Me Out by Franz Ferdinand (2003). P!nk’s song peaked at #5 on the US Billboard Hot 100 Chart, #1 on the Adult Top 40, Hot Dance Club Songs and US Mainstream Top 40 and debuted at #1 on the ARIA singles chart. It was also certified double platinum in the US and triple platinum in Australia, according to Wikipedia, but with many references.


  7. avatarMitch

    Warrant’s “Cherry Pie” sounds like Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” which sounds like Joan Jett and the Blackhearts’ “I Love Rock ‘N Roll.”


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