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Hawkwind and Blue Oyster Cult connection.

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  • Hawkwind and Blue Oyster Cult connection.

    Bear with me, all. It's probably a coincidence, but the similarity between the riff in BOC's Black Blade during the verse, and the riff in the pre-chorus of Hawkwind's Song of the Swords (Take up the sword, And take up me, The Chaos lord's answer is to be) is absolutely striking. Is there a connection? (except for Elric of course.) It's a fantastic, simple and sardonic 4 chorder that really goes brilliantly with the subject at hand. Was this a result of your involvement musically Mike?
    Throw down the sword,
    The fight is done and over,
    Neither lost, neither won.
    To cast away the fury of the battle
    And turn my weary eyes for home.
    There were times when I stood at death's own door
    Only hoping for an answer.

  • #2
    From what I've been able to ascertain, 'Black Blade' (1980) was composed by Eric Bloom and John Trivers, with lyrics by Mike & Bloom; 'Song of the Swords' (c.1985) is credited to Dave Brock alone for the Elric-themed concept album Chronicle of the Black Sword. However, there are others here with far greater and more detailed knowledge of Hawkwind and BOC's musical works than I who might know more definitively.
    Last edited by David Mosley; 09-11-2012, 08:06 AM.
    _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
    _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
    _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
    _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

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    • #3
      I just found Song Of The Swords and had a listen (Black Blade's already deeply embedded in the music section of my memory). Both of them certainly feature two pairs of chords, where the second chord in each pair is a fifth above the first one, and the second pair is pitched a tone above the first pair.

      The verse in Black Blade is C - F - D - G, the section mentioned in Song Of The Swords sounds very much like G - C - A - D. So it's same progression played in a different key (a fifth lower). Then the guitar solo section extends the progression a bit.

      Since I can't imagine that Dave Brock wouldn't have been familiar with Black Blade, I reckon he probably stole that chord progression from it for his own song. That's not a criticism (well, we knicked a tiny bit of BOC's "Joan Crawford" for one of our own little ditties - a bit they had already used in Unknown Tongue). I still agree with Stravinsky's "A good composer does not imitate, he steals" and I don't actually think there's any other way to write music (unless you go for something random and probably unlistenable).

      The only difference is sometimes it's unconscious and sometimes you know exactly what you're doing.

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      • #4
        happens

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Robin View Post

          Since I can't imagine that Dave Brock wouldn't have been familiar with Black Blade, I reckon he probably stole that chord progression from it for his own song.
          That chord progression is from ancient myth!

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          • #6
            Don't get me wrong, it's a brilliant chord progression, jolly in a sinister way, I was just wondering if there was any connection. I'm not bothered by the fact anything is ripped off, I'm a musician myself, and like you said Robin, influence is the only thing that will really get you anywhere, and both songs rock. If I ever do an Elric themed song I'll remember to use the same chord progression.
            Throw down the sword,
            The fight is done and over,
            Neither lost, neither won.
            To cast away the fury of the battle
            And turn my weary eyes for home.
            There were times when I stood at death's own door
            Only hoping for an answer.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Slaney View Post
              Don't get me wrong, it's a brilliant chord progression, jolly in a sinister way, I was just wondering if there was any connection. I'm not bothered by the fact anything is ripped off, I'm a musician myself, and like you said Robin, influence is the only thing that will really get you anywhere, and both songs rock. If I ever do an Elric themed song I'll remember to use the same chord progression.
              A tough call. George Harrison certainly had his own anxiety of influence with "My Sweet Lord".

              MW

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              • #8
                It's always amused me that I've never heard of anyone getting done for ripping off Beatles things, but George Harrison DID get into bother...

                Mind you, Noel Gallagher has to be the one that amuses me the most. The way he talked up his own Beatles "influence" did a great job of obscuring the fact that Wonderwall is a shameless lift from Pink Floyd (Wish You Were Here), Cigarettes and Alcohol from Marc Bolan, etc.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Robin View Post
                  I just found Song Of The Swords and had a listen (Black Blade's already deeply embedded in the music section of my memory). Both of them certainly feature two pairs of chords, where the second chord in each pair is a fifth above the first one, and the second pair is pitched a tone above the first pair.

                  The verse in Black Blade is C - F - D - G, the section mentioned in Song Of The Swords sounds very much like G - C - A - D. So it's same progression played in a different key (a fifth lower). Then the guitar solo section extends the progression a bit.
                  The BOC phrase isn't played as chords: played as octave/root alternate picking, plus it's a different key so sounds different. I'm not hearing any major similarities.
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                  Hawkwind tabs

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                  • #10
                    I've heard those chords in that order EIGHTY BILLION times.

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                    • #11
                      Smells like Teen Spirit...the list goes on.
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                      Hawkwind tabs

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by UncleDes View Post
                        The BOC phrase isn't played as chords: played as octave/root alternate picking, plus it's a different key so sounds different. I'm not hearing any major similarities.
                        No, it's not played as chords in the verse (later in the song the same riff is played as chords - fifths rather than triads) - but in the verse it's neither octave/root nor alternate picking. It's two guitars, the first playing the root, the second playing a fourth below the root.

                        The underlying chord progression (ie. I-IV-II-V) in the verse is exactly what I said though - if you played the song solo on an acoustic guitar, those are the chords you would play. Yes, it sounds different - as I said (well, as Stravinsky said), "A good composer does not imitate, he steals"...

                        Smells Like Teen Spirit is not the same pattern - it's G C E A rather than G C A D. The list could easily go on but, for now, it still stands at precisely 2 rather than eighty billion. So I'll make it 3 - More Than This by Roxy Music uses it.

                        Of course it's not a new pattern - although it's not one of the bog standard ones like I-IV-V or I-vi-IV-V either - it's not rare but it's a long way from ubiquity. That's not what the original post asked though - essentially, it was about whether or not the two songs using the same pattern was a coincidence.

                        I used the word "probably" because I don't know - but when two songs on the same subject, especially a subject I've only heard two songs about so far, feature the same pattern I tend to suspect it's probably not a coincidence. I could be wrong though, it's happened before...

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                        • #13
                          While we're talking Smells like Teen Spirit and BOC, the Smashing Pumpkins people claimed Teen Spirit was a rip-off of Godzilla.

                          I suppose there's a superficial similarity in sound, but there's around seven chords in the verse of Godzilla and the way it's played is just completely different. I'd have to sit down with pen and paper (and bug the real musician of the house) before I could provide an analysis like Robin just did, though.

                          Actually... maybe I ought to jump over to the "punch the singer in the head" thread as this reminds me that I walked out of a Smashing Pumpkins show.
                          Last edited by Heresiologist; 09-11-2012, 04:40 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Godzilla takes me back to 1978 : first time I ever saw BOC and they had the laser show (it was years before I saw them again, but that laser show kept turning up - I'm sure Black Sabbath had the same laser show when I saw them a couple of years later but I can't remember who else).

                            I have to agree that Godzilla, musically anyway, has very little in common with Teen Spirit other than the tempo. But my favourite snippet of information about Godzilla is that in the original lyric it was "Go Go Gorilla"...

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                            • #15
                              I'd love to see BOC, most of what I've heard by them is their own quirky and unique brand of rock. I haven't heard about them touring in Britain though lately
                              A few years ago, I had the chance to see Hawkwind in an unlikely one-off festival where I live (a small border Wales town) but didn't have enough for the £15 tickets, being an irresponsible 17 year old.
                              Throw down the sword,
                              The fight is done and over,
                              Neither lost, neither won.
                              To cast away the fury of the battle
                              And turn my weary eyes for home.
                              There were times when I stood at death's own door
                              Only hoping for an answer.

                              Comment

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