I thought I was going crazy again. But nope. This is why I’m still running this site. Here’s a song by Gordon Lightfoot from 1970 called “If You Could Read My Mind”. The chorus… that chorus… where have I heard that before? Ah, yes. It’s Whitney Houston’s 1985 “The Greatest Love of All”. But wait… that recording is a cover? The original was recorded in 1977 by George Benson for a Muhammad Ali documentary called “The Greatest”. And the song was actually written by composer Michael Masser. And it turns out Lightfoot actually sued Masser in 1987.
In 1987, Lightfoot filed a lawsuit against Michael Masser, the composer of Whitney Houston’s hit “The Greatest Love of All”, alleging plagiarism of 24 bars of “If You Could Read My Mind”; the transitional section that begins “I decided long ago never to walk in anyone’s shadow” of the Masser song has the same melody as “I never thought I could act this way and I got to say that I just don’t get it; I don’t know where we went wrong but the feeling’s gone and I just can’t get it back” of Lightfoot’s song. Lightfoot has stated that he dropped the lawsuit when he felt it was having a negative effect on the singer Houston because the lawsuit was about the writer and not her. He also said that he did not want people to think that he had stolen his melody from Masser. The case was settled out of court, and Masser issued a public apology.
– source: wikipedia
I guess in those days it took a lot longer for a song to make the rounds. These days fans immediately jump to social media to point these things out. Anyway, have a listen!