Musical coincidences # 212

April 4, 2012

This coincidence is what I might call A Tale of Two Michaels (if I was looking for a really bad pun). It was supplied by my friend Steve (Hi, Steve!).

Steve told me that he reckoned the start of Australian power pop balladeer Michael Carpenter‘s “Faith” sounded like the start of Michael Jackson‘s “Black Or White“. I must admit that I didn’t think the coincidence was all that strong. But then I wondered if it might sound a bit stronger if I joined the two bits of music together, mashup-style. I thoroughly enjoyed the results:

Michael Carpenter – “Faith” (2000) & Michael Jackson – “Black Or White (1991) (smooshed up mashy thing)


That was fun.

Here are the full versions:

By the way…

Call To All Coincidence Spotters

At the very start of Mr. Carpenter’s song is a little introduction before the full band kicks in. It reminds me very much of something, but I can’t for the life of me think of what that something is. My brain’s telling me that the coincidence is extremely similar, but it’s bothering me enormously that I can’t figure out what it is.

If you can help out a frustrated blogger by letting me know what the following snippet is reminiscent of, I’d be much obliged.

Snippet A:

Michael Carpenter – “Faith” (2000) (2000) (excerpt)


Snippet B:



Musical coincidences # 194

March 10, 2012

Today’s coincidence comes to you courtesy of a chap called Steve (Hi, Steve!) who emailed me about it.

Three songs are implicated in this coincidence, so I’ll just get out of the way and present them all to you in chronological order (oldest first):

REO Speedwagon – “Back On The Road Again” (1979) (excerpt)


Michael Jackson – “Beat It (1982) (excerpt)


Corey Hart – “Sunglasses At Night (1983) (excerpt)


That sure is a popular guitar riff.

Thanks, Steve, for point me in the direction of that clutch of coincidences.

Here are the full versions:

REO Speedwagon – “Back On The Road Again” (1979) (excerpt)


Michael Jackson – “Beat It (1982)
(Er, this proved surprisingly difficult to find a copy of. I’m one of the 23 people on Earth who didn’t buy a copy of Thriller in any format, so I wasn’t able to grab “Beat It” and turn into an MP3. I also wasn’t able to find a spare MP3 of “Beat It” anywhere. And I mean anywhere. The excerpt presented above comes from YouTube, with YouTube-quality sound. Maybe the people who own the copyright for the song are horrendously litigious and will sue anyone with even a sniff of a Michael Jackson song in MP3 format.)

Corey Hart – “Sunglasses At Night (1983) (excerpt)


Musical coincidences # 150

November 24, 2011

I’m currently reading Perfecting Sound Forever, a book about the history of music reproduction and the various ways in which it’s reproduced. One passage in it mentions a bit of wholesale thievery by Quincy Jones for a rather famous record he produced:

Perfecting Sound Forever, by Greg Milner

[pp. 323-324]

“You start with a pure sine wave,” [Cameron] Jones [of the New England Digital company, maker of the Synclavier] says of the expressive capabilities of the Synclavier. “Then you add harmonics, you put in an unrelated modulating frequency, change the index of the modulation over time, and you get these distorted-sounding bell sounds or horn sounds, and you turn those into a hit. Michael Jackson turned that into a billion-dollar record.”

He’s talking Jackson’s Thriller, released in 1982, containing arguably the most famous Synclavier-generated sound ever. It’s that “gong” that opens “Beat It.” Producer Quincy Jones apparently lifted those tones directly from The Blue Record, an NED promotional disc made to show off the Synclavier’s capabalities. (“It was the exact melody and the exact sound,” [Denny] Jaeger [of New England Digital] says of the song’s intro. “I had a copyright on that, and they just took it.”) It’s just a couple of repeating notes. If you haven’t heard them in a long time, it would be natural to edit them out of your memory, since what follows is one of the most recognizable opening guitar riffs in music history. But you remember them because the sound is so odd. The way the note decays sounds organic, as though someone were striking a surface like an oil drum. Yet it’s unsettlingly synthetic. It sticks in your mind because it really does sound like nothing else.

Here’s the sound of the “gong” in the Synclavier:


I found that at the faunæ or automat? blog. Much obliged, blog person.

And that’s the sound at the start of “Beat It” here.

The full song:

(I was going to give you an MP3 of “Beat It” but it seems that the estate of Michael Jackson is alarmingly enthusiastic in its litigiousness, so I won’t invite any legal threats from large American companies. I guess you’ll have to make do with that YouTube video, but at least I’ve linked to the place in the song where you can hear the nicked “gong”.)