Pop star Lana Del Rey confirmed today in a tweet that members from Radiohead want to sue her for plagiarizing their hit single, “Creep.” Del Rey’s song, “Get Free,” is the closing track on her latest album, Lust For Life. Her tweet began, “It’s true about the lawsuit,” and goes on to say that “Creep” and “Get Free” are wholly unrelated. Del Rey offered Radiohead forty percent of her royalties as a peace offering, after describing the groups’ lawyers as “relentless.” Radiohead refused her forty percent offer.
Del Rey stands by the song’s integrity “regardless of what happens in court.” The sentiments within her song embrace positivity and reject its antonym; whether or not it will be allowed on the album does not detract from the song’s meaning.
The two songs have different chords but play the same progression, relative to their scales. The progression hits the scales’ one, three and four modes, minoring the fourth before returning to the beginning. Radiohead can claim plagiarism based on the similarity in chord progression, but it could just as well be coincidence. Music builds on itself through time; all art is subject to recycling. In jazz there are standards, songs originally written by one artist but played by all, taught to students and covered endlessly.
Musicians have been successful with these kinds of suits in the past. Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne were given co-writer status on Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” in 2014 after accusing him of lifting their chords. Ed Sheeran experienced something similar when Matt Cardle accused him of borrowing from his hit single “Amazing.” Sheeran settled out of court. Most famously, Marvin Gaye sued Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke for $7.4 million over “Blurred Lines” and won. He claimed it plagiarized “Got To Give It Up.”
It’s true about the lawsuit. Although I know my song wasn’t inspired by Creep, Radiohead feel it was and want 100% of the publishing – I offered up to 40 over the last few months but they will only accept 100. Their lawyers have been relentless, so we will deal with it in court.
— Lana Del Rey (@LanaDelRey) January 7, 2018
Photography Credit: Raymond Flotat