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Here’s an interesting story – not the first of course – about songwriters claiming their song was pinched. As a blues obsessive I particularly like the bit about the chord sequences – so who was the first and only person to write a three chord, twelve-bar blues and do the rest owe him billions*?



Author: pompeypop

University lecturer, longtime local musician and recently historian of popular music - especially in and around Portsmouth. My blog is entirely about that topic

One thought on “‘Nicked’

  1. You can’t copyright a chord sequence, only a melody, and possibly lyrics.

    The term is ‘borrowing’, not ‘nicking’, and is one of the oldest blues traditions. Record it, or publish it ….then you have problems.

    However, all of Robert Johnson’s material is public domain in the European Union, because he’s been dead more than 70 years. In the US it has to have been published before 1922 to be in the public domain. Memphis Blues, written by WC Handy is one of those.

    So, it seems…….somes ye can ‘nick’, and somes ye cannae, Jimmy!

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