October 18th, 2011 / 3:56 am

Are my ears deceiving me, or does R.E.M.’s “E-bow the Letter” steal its melody (indirectly but essentially) from T. Rex’s “Cosmic Dancer” ? … If the latter, Michael Stipe foreshadows it three tracks earlier on “Wake Up Bomb” when he sings, “Practice my T. Rex moves and make the scene…”


  1. Anonymous

      good call

  2. Anonymous

      Gonna hear a lot of songs that go G Em, though.

  3. JW

      Point being?

  4. postitbreakup

      i dunno about the similarity in melodies, BUT i’m glad i now know about this t. rex band

  5. mimi

      You slide so good with bones so fairYou’ve got the universe reclining in your hair

  6. A D Jameson

      Don’t you see how this is very important?

  7. A D Jameson

      All of my songs do, since those are two of the only chords I can play.

      I can also play A, A7, and D.

  8. Matthew Simmons
  9. Jimmy Chen
  10. A D Jameson

      Oh, cool, I didn’t know that service existed… Thanks!

  11. Bradley Sands

      Very similar at the beginning, but there are much more blatant thefts in music such as Nirvana’s Come as You Are stealing from Killing Joke’s Eighties.

      From wikipedia: “Wary of the similarity between the main riff of “Come as You Are” and English post-punk band Killing Joke’s 1984 single “Eighties”, Nirvana and its management were unsure about releasing the song as the second single from Nevermind…Kurt was nervous about ‘Come as You Are’ because it was too similar to a Killing Joke song…And, he was right, Killing Joke later did complain about it.

  12. cvan

      The only matter of importance is that Marc Bolan ripped off Stipe.  Get it right, Jameson.

  13. dtomaloff

      There are twelve tones in western music. It should be of no surprise that much of popular music will share melodies and chord progressions. All that’s really going on in that intro is the magic minor third thing that makes up the most recognizable part of every doo-wop song ever written.

      The song is most likely meant as an homage not only to T-REX, but also, by extension, to the glam scene in the UK at that time. The verses in the REM song are clearly meant to invoke Bowie’s (via Mott the Hoople) “All the Young Dudes”, which, of course, takes it’s most recognizable musical features from changes common in classical music. Stipe is clearly going for the rambling vocal style as well. The fact that T-Rex is mentioned elsewhere on the record would support this. I think “steal” is a pretty tall word here.

      Also, it’s worth noting that just because two songs can be beat aligned and layered to fit on top of each other, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re particularly similar. Take the 99 Problems/Blitzkrieg Bop mash, for instance–mashable, but hardly similar except for the fact that they’re both beat oriented songs in common time.

      The Killing Joke one is interesting if only for the fact that Nirvana went quite far to get the whole guitar sound down as well. Still, that said, it’s not really the same song overall.