Thu. Sep 28th, 2023

From the time the Rolling Stones sued the Verge until when Marvin Gaye’s estate sued Ed Sheeran over plagiarism charges, artists had ‘stolen’ from others on multiple occasions, whether knowingly or accidentally. Oasis was also accused of ‘plagiarism’ or, as they put it, of putting their idols’ ‘influences’ into their music, and the band never kept it a secret. In fact, they frequently took delight in effectively reproducing their inspirations into original works, disregarding snarky queries or criticisms concerning ‘authenticity.’ One snarky remark, however, did not remain a remark, as a fellow rocker believed Noel Gallagher had gone too far in drawing inspiration, and they chose to sue the musician and his bandmates.

It was 1994, and Oasis was increasingly generating headlines, whether it was due to popular singles or confrontations with rival rockers. When the Gallaghers issued ‘Whatever,’ the act’s first non-album single, news sources included something different than their typical headlines, writing about how the Gallaghers had been sued. Neil Innes, a fellow British musician, reportedly filed a lawsuit over plagiarism allegations, saying the hotshot band stole parts of his 1973 song, ‘How Sweet to Be an Idiot,’ and built ‘Whatever’ off of it. As the litigation developed, Noel, who was never one to back down from a battle, opted to settle with Innes rather than contest the claims, and agreed to Neil’s request for a songwriting credit and income from the Oasis song. Although the borrowed melodic lines were not long, with the portion consisting of only eight notes, the court’s decision that ‘Whatever’ had unauthorized inspiration from Neil’s track did not change, prompting Noel to allow Neil to have credits and royalties from the song.

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