Ospreyshire Origins: Pugnam Contra Fures Leonis Pt. I: The Uncrowned King of Johannesburg

Lyrics:
[Zulu]

Bass voice: Kumele adale
Baritone voice: Inkosi yethu izokwaziwa
Tenor voice: U-Linda ungumbali wangampela wengoma

Johannesburg was where the lion was born
It had a roar that shook the concert halls
Collective voices made sure no one slept
Only controlled by the uncrowned king

Ethnomusicologists stepped in
To colonize the canorous monarch’s song
That lion was poached as it reached stateside
Leaving the king without a cent to his name

What a token gesture that was thievery
New York and Burbank usurped his throne
His daughters were neglected by their greed
They had to keep that lion and king alive


We’ve got another song that involves South Africa and some Zulu lyrics much like “Lebombo”. Hooray! This also kicks off the first part of my Pugnam Contra Fures Leonis trilogy for Dear Innovare! Double Hooray! This song was an Ospreyshire first in creating a one-man acappela chamber choir song with no instruments and/or acousmatics! Triple Hooray all the way!

This song is an homage to South African musician Solomon Linda. He’s a beloved singer even to this day in that country. His biggest song was called “Mbube” which means “Lion” in the Zulu language. He invented a subgenre of South African choral music that’s named after that particular song and has been involved in that country’s Isicathamiya scene (just so you know, you’re supposed to click on the “c” when you pronounce the name of that acappella genre). Feel free to check it out!

That song got the attention of an American licensing company to take it stateside. First came Pete Seeger “adapting” the song into “wimoweh”.

Next came what became easily the best known form of covering. By covering, I mean total plagiarism. Everyone should know the biggest rip-off version by now if you didn’t figure it out from the original “Mbube” song.

Solomon Linda died before The Tokens did their stolen version of his song. To make matters worse, he died penniless and his family lived in poverty long after his passing. The surviving family members struggled and wondered why they didn’t get money from Solomon’s song. Then in 1994, there was this big animated movie that would be the straw that broke the camel’s back especially with two characters.

Image result for the lion sleeps tonight

Seriously, screw Disney. The Lion King was able to rake in over $15 million in royalties from “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and that’s not even counting the Broadway version. The Linda family with the help of journalist Rian Malan and the South African government sued the American licensing company and Disney for plagiarism in the 00s. This issue was shown in the 2019 Netflix documentary called The Lion’s Share which I actually reviewed on Iridium Eye. I don’t want to spoil the case and all the details that went into it, but Disney STILL never credited Solomon Linda and the “Mbube” song in the Lion King remake!

This rampant plagiarism, cultural appropriation, and bastardization of Africa makes my blood boil, but I’m not done yet.

We still have two more songs that deals with other aspects of the cat burglary coup of the century. Yes, I just referenced the biggest villain clone ever, but it was way too appropriate.

The picture of Solomon Linda is from Change.

The Lion King is property of Disney. The image of Timon and Pumbaa is from Financial Times and is property of Disney.

Ospreyshire Origins: Cameroonian Originality March

Lyrics:

Attention!

[French]
Nous avons des vautours de la culture a venir!
Notre musique est attaquee!
Marche en avant!
Oui, monsieur!

Barnwell, Baranquilla, Gary, Portsmouth
We’re coming for all of you
Your status as godfathers, hip shakers, kings, and misdemeanors
Have nothing on us
We’ll keep marching on (X2)

[French]
Nous devon securiser le berceau de nos ancetres (de nos ancetres) [X4]

What do we want? (Our original tunes!)
When do we want them? (Right now!)
(X4)


Before I get to talking about this song and what inspired me, I would like to give major props to my Cameroonian blogger friend Dr. Y from Afrolegends. He’s been awesome in making high quality posts for over a decade about African history, culture, news, trivia, proverbs, and then some. Dr. Y was able to educate me about some of the musicians from his home country and even gave me some nuggets about plagiarism cases involving their musicians.

Not going to lie, Cameroon has some great artists. I got into Mr. Leo’s music last year, been listening to some Salatiel (I knew who he was before he was a part of THAT companion soundtrack), and more recently Tim & Foty who are part of the topic of this song. I also wanted the song to have a balance between French and English lyrics to represent unity in that country given some of the issues going on with those communities based on those languages. There have been four high profile songs straight out of this Central African nation. Prepare your ears because some of these songs are going to sound familiar to you.

Exhibit A: “Zamina mina (ZangalĂ©wa)” by Golden Sounds

Exhibit B: “Soul Makossa” by Manu Dibango

Exhibit C: “Hot Koki” by Andre-Marie Tala

Exhibit D: “Douala by Night” by JM Tim and Foty

Doesn’t Cameroon have a lively music scene? Did you also think some of those songs sounded familiar? It would certainly be a shame if a Colombian and some Americans were to steal them.

Yes, that happened and I’m going to correlate each rip-off song to their respective originals.

Shakira stole from Golden Sounds:

Michael Jackson stole from Manu Dipango:

James Brown stole from Andre-Marie Tala:

Missy Elliott, Method Man and Redman stole from Tim & Foty:

All of this came from one country. Some of your favorite artists are musical robbers, so deal with it. This blew my mind and I have Dr. Y to thank when it came to the Shakira and James Brown issues before discovering the rest on my own. Unbelievable, and Cameroon deserves so much better and not just because of some of their current issues right now.

Besides that, I wanted that marching vibe like the “Zangelewa” song, but completely different chords and instrumentation with the Omnichord with hand percussion. This is homage and at least I acknowledge MY inspirations.

The Cameroonian flag picture is from Flags of the World.

Ospreyshire Origins: The Tulsa Strike Back Groove

Lyrics:

This is WOSPR Speaking

Foreign shores wanted more in store for stealing funky scores

Saturday night brought the fight to ignite to prevent the plight as we regained our rights

No matter if its Brooklyn, Echo Park, or Tulsa, Oklahoma. We’ll get our song back and clear your pop-coated aroma

The oil capital’s gonna get ya uptown, downtown, any town

Everybody sing like the Originator told ya: We gonna strike back with this groove!


To all of you that like old-school funk, I salute you!

I had a funk phase last year by listening to bands like Cameo, Parliament-Funkadelic, Sly and the Family Stone to name a few. One band that I checked out as well was The GAP Band. I heard a few of their songs thanks to my mom when I was younger and she did like their music. On one day last year, I listened to their song “I Don’t Think You Want to Get Up and Dance” as part of a YouTube playlist. I had to reattach my jaw literally during the first few seconds of the song. Let’s see if you’ll be able to figure out why. Here’s the radio edit version, but the point will still stand.

“Oops upside your head, say oops upside your head…”

The way they say that line must have been replicated by some multi-instrumentalist and a singer who has a habit of retreading older R&B and funk sounds. Hmm…who could they be?

Image result for mark ronson

Image result for bruno mars

I’m sure a good portion of you only recognize the second picture. Here, let me make things a lot clearer with one of the biggest songs of the 10s that both were famous for performing…

“Oops upside your head say oops upside your head…Uptown funk you up, say uptown funk you up…”

Don’t lie, that’s what you were all thinking when you heard the song from The GAP Band. I can’t lie to you, I used to really like “Uptown Funk” as it was one of the few pop songs I thought was actually listenable. Okay, even then I didn’t think it was as good as other funk songs I heard, but at least it sounded different than the typical pop garbage. That must be the case because it sounds like The GAP Band! Those Tulsa funkers managed to sue Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars for stealing their original song. The result, The GAP Band and their co-writers got writing credit and partial royalties of “Uptown Funk”. Did you know that including the updated writing credits, that means “Uptown Funk” had a whopping total of ELEVEN writers after the lawsuit! I can’t make this up. So, Ronson and Mars can credit Trinidad James right away for referencing his “Don’t believe me just watch” lyric from “All Gold Everything”, but not the band that had been making music since both of them were even born? Wow, just wow, guys…

Here’s some musical trivia for The Tulsa Strike Back Groove. I freestyled half of the spoken word elements that aren’t mentioned in the lyrics while referencing Charlie Wilson’s dialogue in their song. I also parody lyrics from “Uptown Funk”. See if you can spot them. Also, Charlie Wilson from The GAP Band is cousins to another famous funk musician…Bootsy Collins!

The picture of The GAP Band is from The Mississippi Link.

The picture of Mark Ronson is from PopCrush.

The picture of Bruno Mars is from Billboard.

Ospreyshire Origins: Albert Holly

Lyrics:

Abington-on-Thames and Lake Placid are fighting about what never belonged to them
Covering their tracks from a real cover song
Too busy calling Pablo or lusting for life
Ignoring the vital air around them
Too selfish to notice they aren’t free
From an originator
At least the first cover knew it’s dues
It knew it’s dues

You won’t get hitched by following ladies
Even when they end up at your shows
Same with stalking melodies you didn’t write
Absinthe won’t make your song better nor will those dead notes
They’re so desperate
They’re so freaking desperate

Just let the air in…


Here’s another song about music plagiarism! Hooray! This one’s going to be multi-layered since it deals with a bunch of people.

We’ll start with the original song “The Air That I Breathe” by Albert Hammond.

That song isn’t too shabby even though it’s not my cup of tea. This song got more popular a few decades ago when the band The Hollies covered it. As with anyone with a shred of decency, they gave full credit to Albert Hammond for creating the song to begin with. They give it more of a rock feel as opposed to the mostly acoustic original.
Chances are you probably heard of their version of the song in various movies or TV shows.

Image result for the hollies

This particular quintet would eventually fight alongside Albert Hammond when they took on a certain critically-acclaimed band that so many people suck up to and make their standards of music entirely based on this band.

Image result for radiohead

OOH! I’m going to take on the biggest music snob band of all time! Oh baby, I’m going to get a ton of hate for this particular story. That’s right. Radiohead was involved in a plagiarism case and it is for their most famous song ever: “Creep”. Yes, one of the biggest college rock songs of the 90s bore some eerie similarities to the verses of “The Air That I Breathe”. The Hollies actually took them to court and WON! Nowadays, “Creep” mentions Albert Hammond and The Hollies in the writing credits while also giving royalties to them. Isn’t it ironic that a band who has been hailed for their creativity and originality would steal? What gets even crazier is that they accused a certain pop singer for ripping off “Creep”.

Image result for lana del rey

This is a thievery chain going on! Lana Del Rey was bashed for her song “Get Free” for ripping off “Creep”, the same song that lost a copyright infringement case against the song “The Air That I Breathe”. I heard her song and the vocal line is pretty similar. Here’s a video containing excerpts of The Hollies’ cover of Albert Hammond’s song, “Creep”, and “Get Free”. You be the judge of this.

Sounds like an easy mashup to make at best, right? I didn’t realize how insane this case was. Granted, I was most familiar with “Creep” by the Radiohead mainly because that was a big song that came out during my childhood and later when I talked with some music fans I was friends with who were big into that band.

For my song Albert Holly, I decided a basic piano ballad would suffice. I make a TON of Radiohead and Lana Del Rey references in the lyrics as one might guess. Yes, the “They’re so desperate” part of the song parodies the pre-chorus of “Creep” including the random ghost notes by hitting the keyboard instead of chucking an electric guitar.

Hope you all appreciate this story behind the song.

The picture of Albert Hammond is from BBC.

The picture of The Hollies is from Britannica.

The picture of Radiohead is from the Irish Times.

The picture of Lana Del Rey is from Discogs.

Ospreyshire Origins: Halstead’s Trophy

Lyrics:

I no longer wanted to be down
After you took my crown and cashed it in for millions of pounds
So shamelessly

I had to strengthen my heart
To withstand all your darts that multiplied from the start
Of your thievery

Originator be my guide
May justice be on my side
Halstead will be filled with pride with the trophy that’s rightfully mine

You think you can do what you will
I made you admit your guilt
How does it make you feel that you’re forced to know my name?

Take a picture now (X6)
To immortalize your shame


Do you want to know what can really suck about plagiarism cases? It can force me to actually defend mainstream pop stars on certain occasions when I would never do so otherwise.

This is one of those times.

Meet Matt Cardle. He’s an acoustic pop singer/songwriter hailing from Halstead, Essex, England. Yes, the name of the song refers to his hometown. Cardle has been quite popular in the UK even though he’s unknown in America. He got his big break after winning on X Factor, so he certainly has several ears throughout Good Ol’ Blighty. He had a song on his first album called “Amazing” which was a minor hit in the UK back in 2011. Wouldn’t it be crazy if another Brit were to steal his song? Whoever could it be?

THIS GUY!

Image result for ed sheeran

That’s right. Ed Sheeran stole someone else’s song! That is just annoying since his fanbase defended him and called Matt Cardle some nobody. Sure, Matt Cardle doesn’t have as much of a worldwide popularity as the Ipswitch-based pop star, but I wouldn’t call him obscure especially when it comes to English music. Matt Cardle has sold over 2 million records, has been on major labels even to this day, and like I said earlier: he’s an X Factor winner and I know that show is popular in the United Kingdom. Here’s some more context. Do you want to know who Matt Cardle beat out in the finals of X Factor in the same season he won it? Cher Lloyd and this one boy band that no one’s heard of called ONE DIRECTION! Yeah, think about that for a minute.

In case you’re wondering, the song that ripped off “Amazing” is “Photograph”. Sure, it wasn’t as big of a hit in America compared to “Sing” or “Thinking Out Loud” which were on the same album, but I know I heard that song playing on the radio whenever I was shopping or eating at some restaurants. To be just, the verses themselves are independent, but those choruses…WOW, Ed didn’t even try besides having different lyrics. Here’s a video of both song’s choruses and tell me he didn’t listen to this Essex crooner’s song!

Matt Cardle’s co-writers/producers actually sued Ed Sheeran and the beat him down in court! Sheeran was forced to give writing credits and royalties to everyone involved who made “Amazing”. Good on them for doing that. I never thought I would have to defend someone who won a freaking music reality show, but that was the day.

Much like both songs, I decided to do a light acoustic ballad, but with my ukulele as a main instrument and I got to use my “pop star” voice which is a rarity as Ospreyshire for obvious reasons. I hope you also appreciate the stealth puns with both songs in Halstead’s Trophy.

You’re welcome, Essex!

The album cover of Matt Cardle is from Wikipedia and is property of Syco music.

The photo of Ed Sheeran is from The Independent.

Ospreyshire Origins: Larceny By Dirigible series

Larceny By Dirigible I Lyrics:

Do You feel shame stealing melodies? (X2)
The spotlight must feel so nice
You can’t see the enlightened leaving you

Its larceny in your backyard (X2)
Don’t act like you’re so confused
You put ignoramuses in a big daze

You live atop a mountain of theft (X2)
I hope endless water floods your realm
You won’t rise anymore

How many years must you get away? (X2)
I guess your fans became a shield
Protecting you from swift justice

Joan Baez
Anne Bredon
Jake Holmes
Bert Jansch
Howlin’ Wolf

Larceny By Dirigible II Lyrics:

Quit complaining that success was the only reason you got caught
You need reality to set you straight, not a whole lotta fantasies
Your excuses are lemons better suited for lemonade to quench your desires
Watch your step on that killing floor, you band of pirates
Keep trying to bring your subterfuge

Willie Dixon
Howlin’ Wolf
Robert Johnson
Albert King
Bobby Parker
Sonny Boy Williamson

Larceny By Dirigible III Lyrics:

There will be no hats off
To the glorified filchers of rock n’ roll
Raking in millions for their laziness
Resting on instrumental talent
Its time to shake this fake originality down to make way
For real innovators
There will be no more pinching and crediting one’s self in this zone
That will never happen
Since people have been lambasting you

Moby Grape
Bert Jansch
Bukka White

Larceny By Dirigible IV Lyrics:

Did it feel good opening for that band?
Did it excite you when you wanted that heavenly acoustic riff?
Did it arouse you to become rock gods from one song?
Did it please you when their leader drowned saving his son?
Did it heal your soul that the plaintiffs didn’t match your bank accounts?
Did you smile even when that constellation called you on your stolen bull?

Jay Ferguson
Mark Andes
John Locke
Ed Cassidy
Randy California
SPIRIT!!!

Larceny By Dirigible V Lyrics:

You think crediting someone’s mom was good enough?
How pathetic
It shows how much you don’t care
You’re too busy making custard with blues legends’ works
Heads are hurting from your ill-gotten success
Yet the masses continue praising
You when it was undeserved on so many levels

Sleepy John Estes
Bukka White
Blind Boy Fuller
Ritchie Valens

Oh, so now you want to start acknowledging others?


I’m going to tick off some people with this Ospreyshire Origins post especially with classic rock fans and potentially those who are older than me. What annoys me is when people from older generations crap on newer music today by saying it’s all garbage or it steals from others who came before. To be just, a lot of modern mainstream music is trash in my opinion, so I do have some agreements over there in that regard. As far as stealing other people’s music, yes, it does happen and I do talk about it in later songs on Dear Innovare. If I do hear that in real life especially about ripping off people’s music, then I have the right question to ask them.

“Do you listen to Led Zeppelin?”

Image result for led zeppelin

For starters, I was never a fan of their music. It was roughly ten years ago when some musician friends of mine told me that Led Zeppelin had a career full of plagiarizing other people’s music. I thought it was crazy until I listened to some examples which were mind-blowing. There’s one specific one that involves the band picture I used for this post which I’ll describe later on.

Led Zeppelin fans annoy me with how much in denial they are about this mega-selling influential classic rock band ripped off a good portion of their discography from blues artists, folk singers, and other rock bands. In each installment of Larceny By Dirigible, I explicitly name each singer and songwriter Led Zeppelin stole from their albums. The fact I number them in roman numerals is a parody of LZ’s discography and the songs from each album. Here’s a list of songs that were stolen. Funny enough, Led Zeppelin actually LOST against some of those singers in court like Jake Holmes (the real writer of “Dazed and Confused”), Anne Bredon and Joan Baez (“Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You”), and Willie Dixon (“You Need Love”) just to name a few. I hate how Zeppelin fans are saying “Yeah, but they did it better.” That excuses nothing and I know they wouldn’t say that if the situations were reversed. Led Zeppelin would be NOTHING without the several musicians they stole from. I believe it was Howard Stern who called them “The World’s Greatest Cover Band” which I find to be hilarious because there’s truth to it. With those blues musicians, one could make a case that they were guilty of cultural appropriation since them and several other classic rock bands probably think that stealing from black people is alright if the rock stars who steal them are white, but that’s nothing new in history.

From a musical standpoint, it was fun recording and writing since it involved some of the most folksy and bluesy songs I’ve ever written under the Ospreyshire moniker. I wanted the recording to be simple without that many effects even when I busted out the Omnichord in one of the songs. I also had to practice my ukulele lead work to give that acoustic rock and blues vibe for most of the tracks. This was my way of homaging the original artists without coming across as an anachronism even though the Larceny By Dirigible songs are WAY more straightforward compared to most Ospreyshire tracks on this and previous works.

If there was an example of something that really got my gears grinding, it involves the topic of Larceny By Dirigible IV. That was the angriest song of the bunch despite being a mostly acoustic ballad with some subtle keyboards in the background. The song in question is “Taurus” by the band Spirit. My jaw dropped when I heard that guitar riff and I thought “OH MY GOD! ZEPPELIN STOLE THIS TO MAKE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN!”. This was the musical equivalent of watching a certain Osamu Tezuka anime and realizing that a certain American animation company shamelessly stole from it (you should know what I’m talking about at this point). Zeppelin even opened up for Spirit for some of their first American tours, so they totally knew that song. Seriously, check out this video and tell me no one from that famous band stole from Spirit.

This was maddening and I’m sick of people defending that band even when they lost some of their lawsuits. At the time of this post, Randy California’s (from Spirit) family is appealing the plagiarism lawsuit against Led Zeppelin. His story is so tragic and I referenced part of it in IV. Randy California just waned his band to get credit for “Stairway to Heaven”, but Led Zeppelin refused. Not only that, but he died saving his son from drowning in the ocean after that. Randy California and Spirit didn’t deserve this.

Wouldn’t it also be funny if one of the members admitted to stealing? Oh, wait…

Seriously, shame on this overrated band of thieves and especially that pedophile Jimmy Page. How is it that R. Kelly is locked up and not him for sleeping with minors?

The image of Spirit is from Ultimate Classic Rock.

The image of Led Zeppelin is from Variety.