There are no rules when it comes to writing a song. If songs like Bohemian Rhapsody have taught us anything, it's that you can get anything on the radio if you can make it interesting, and there have been more than a few bands that have put some of their unique tastes in music onto the radio. Some may give us things we haven't heard before, and some like to wear their influences on their sleeves just a little bit too much.
Although every one of these songs have seen success in some capacity, you can sometimes tell that these bands were heavily inspired by someone else's song to write their own. That's not to say they were just carbon copies or anything - sometimes similarities can be just in the vibe of a song or the way the riffs are constructed - with artists looking to use their song to just pay tribute to some of their favorite artists.
In some cases though, you can tell that there's no shame in cribbing from the old guard of rock music, and that's when the lawyers come calling to be given their due royalties. Rock music has been like the Wild West most of the time, but you just need to make sure that you don't find yourself touching someone else's note.
10. This Night - Billy Joel
Every great piano player has an extensive history of going through the sounds of classical music. Even though you might want to sound like Jon Lord or Elton John, the only way you get there is by going through the different sonatas and fugues that they learned from back in the day. Out of them all, Billy Joel was the real classical nerd, and he ended up turning one of his inspirations into a hit song in the process.
During the album An Innocent Man, Billy was looking to make every song a tribute to one of his musical heroes, like The Longest Time being a tribute to doo wop music and Uptown Girl being a loving homage to the sounds of Franki Valli and The Four Seasons. This Night is a bit of a different beast here, as the track's biggest influence - Beethoven - even received a writing credit due to the similarities. If you go back and listen to Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata, you'll heard the same melody featured in This Night
It's not like Joel just copy and pastes ol LVB's song or anything, swinging the rhythm and taking out bits and pieces to make it work with the rhythm that he has going. It's blatantly obvious once you hear it, but it works shockingly well when you put it into the pop world. And with Beethoven not exactly topping the Billboard Top 100, most people won't even realise the inspiration unless they spied the credits on the track.
See, kids, sometimes it pays to actually pay attention in music class every now and again.