Published Mar 15, 2010Gorillaz' third album, Plastic Beach, is barely a week old, but already its whipping up controversy in the form of plagiarism allegations. In a public statement released today (March 15), Guyana-born/London-raised reggae artist Eddy Grant accused the cartoon band of ripping off his 1982 song "Time Warp."
Grant, who is best known for penning the classic '80s hit "Electric Avenue," noted the similarities between his song and the new Gorillaz single "Stylo." In his statement, Grant complained, "I am outraged that the Gorillaz have infringed the copyright of my song 'Time Warp' claiming their song 'Stylo' to be an original composition. My song sits almost note to note with their release and is a blatant rip off. 'Time Warp' is a very popular song and has been a staple of the DJ scene for many years and I feel total disrespect from Gorilliaz and their management company, especially as they are an established act."
Certainly, it's impossible to deny that the songs do have some common elements: both "Time Warp" and "Stylo" feature a similar minimalist electro groove, as well as an identical three-note synth riff (check out the melody that starts at the 40-second mark of Gorillaz' song below).
Of course, it's possible that this was unintentional. After all, "Time Warp" still gets played occasionally in clubs, so it's likely Albarn heard the song and copied it without realizing it. It's such a simple riff that it's even plausible that this is just a coincidence. Grant, however, is condemning everyone from Gorillaz to label EMI.
In terms of reparations, Grant said, "I would like the outcome to be that the band admits that they have lifted my song, that I have a full credit for the song and an apology from the band."
This is yet more bad news for floundering EMI, who were likely relying on Gorillaz' new album to help to keep them afloat. "I am very angry that this was not picked up by our mutual publisher EMI's administration division," said Grant.
He even told NME, "Damon Albarn knows in his heart of hearts - it's unfortunate that we cant get into people's hearts - he knows that this is a song that he's loved, in his club days"
Judge for yourself: