Lindsey Buckingham Accidentally Plagiarizes "Swan Song," Gives Credit to Blinker the Star and Medicine Songwriters
"It was a strange feeling of déjà vu, but a déjà vu where your hero is singing your song"
Published Nov 23, 2021Lindsey Buckingham has given retroactive songwriting credit to Blinker the Star's Jordan Zadorozny and Medicine's Brad Laner after accidentally plagiarizing their song "Mind's Eye" on this year's "Swan Song," from Buckingham's self-titled solo album.
In an interview with Spin, Zadorozny describes hearing "Swan Song" for the first time, saying "it was a strange feeling of déjà vu, but a déjà vu where your hero is singing your song."
The two songs sound markedly similar, particularly in their near-identical choruses. Here's the chorus to "Mind's Eye": "It isn't right to keep me waiting / Do you have to hold out on me so long now? / Is it right to keep me waiting? / In the shadow of our mind's eye." Compare that to the chorus to Buckingham's "Swan Song": "But is it right to keep me waiting? / Is it right to make me hold out so long? / Yeah, is it right to keep me waiting? / In the shadow of our swan song."
Zadorozny first met Buckingham in 2000 after signing to DreamWorks. Label president Lenny Waronker asked Zadorozny who his dream producer would be, and Zadorozny said Buckingham — Waronker set the two up, and they recorded a small handful of Zadorozny's songs with Laner on bass.
After the recording session, Laner gave Buckingham a CD of songs he's co-written with Zadorozny — including "Mind's Eye" — and asked that he cover one of them.
As it turns out, Buckingham did make his own recording of "Mind's Eye," rediscovered his cover more than a decade later, forgot it was a cover, and released the song as his own with some mild lyrical and melodic changes. It's more or less what happened with Islands and Julie Byrne earlier this year after Nick Thorburn's believed-to-be-original song "Carpenter" turned out to be a cover of Byrne's "Prism Song."
Thankfully, it seems that there's no bad blood between Zadorozny, Laner and Buckingham, as Zadorozny said "He's got years of integrity and no reason to be stealing songs from anyone, especially us."
"He'd taken our song, made a demo himself of it, put it away for a rainy day and, as it turns out, 16 or 17 years later found that demo and thought, 'This is a cool thing I did back in 2000,'" he continued.
After the discovery, a flat monetary sum was given to Laner and Zadorozny, plus a portion of the publishing and co-writing credits for "Swan Song."
Listen to both songs below.