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White Stripes Think Music in Air Force Super Bowl Commercial Sounds Familiar

As the rock band The White Stripes once observed, "I said it once before but it bears repeating now:" Don't rip off other people's music.

I challenge anyone who has listened to rock music in the past decade to listen to the guitar riff and drums in the Air Force Reserve Super Bowl ad below and not instantly recognize it as having originated elsewhere.

Sound familiar? The White Stripes thinks so, too. On Monday, the band wrote on its Web site that:

We believe our song was re-recorded and used without permission of the White Stripes, our publishers, label or management.

The White Stripes take strong insult and objection to the Air Force Reserve presenting this advertisement with the implication that we licensed one of our songs to encourage recruitment during a war that we do not support. ... We have not licensed this song to the Air Force Reserve and plan to take strong action to stop the ad containing this music.

For the three of you out there who did not recognize the famous guitar riff in The White Stripes' "Fell in Love With a Girl," listen to the song below:

In response, the Air Force Reserve said that, via its advertising agency, it "hired Fast Forward Music of Salt Lake City to score original music for its commercial. There was never any intention to utilize any existing music or to sound like any music by the band White Stripes or any other musical performer. Any similarity or likeness to any other music is completely unintentional."

So the finger was now pointed at Fast Forward Music, which in turn pointed to a composer named Kem Kraft whom it hired to create the music. Kraft told The New York Times that the similarities between his composition and the band's song were "coincidental. I'm sorry it sounds the same. It wasn't my intention, truly, truly, truly.”

Mike Lee, the owner of Fast Forward Productions, said that he and Kraft went back and forth on the song several times, changing things. He told the Times that “I wasn't familiar with the White Stripes song. I've heard of the White Stripes but I'm not a listener of theirs. I had no idea there was similarity until after the fact.”

Adding this to the Men at Work/"Kookaburra" flap, maybe we need a musical version of Plagium to help find ripped-off music, too?

Posted by Bruce Carton on February 11, 2010 at 02:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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