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Iggy Pop vs. Jet – Song Parallels

Iggy Pop Jet
Jim Dyson / Simon Fergusson, Getty Images

With its distinctive galloping beat and instantly memorable chord progression, Iggy Pop‘s ‘Lust for Life’ has popped up repeatedly in commercials and movie soundtracks over the years — and perhaps also in the strains of Jet‘s 2003 hit ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl.’

The similarities between the two songs are certainly hard to ignore — you could play their instrumental sections virtually side-by-side, at least until the sideways tangle of notes that Jet added to the end of each verse. But things aren’t always what they seem, according to Jet frontman Nic Cester. He insists he wasn’t ripping off Iggy Pop when he co-wrote ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’ with Jet guitarist Cameron Muncey. In fact, he says, they were both ripping off the same earlier source: early Motown.

“It’s funny because I asked him point blank about that. He said I was crazy,” said Cester of meeting Pop in an interview for Uptown magazine. “He said that when he and David Bowie were writing ‘Lust for Life,’ they were ripping off Motown’s beat.” While making it clear that he was annoyed by the constant ‘Lust for Life’ comparisons, Cester admitted he understood why it happened. “People just go, well, ‘Lust for Life’ is more well-known, so that’s what they go for, but if you listen to a song like ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’ I think you’ll find it’s closer to ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’ than ‘Lust for Life’ ever was. And that’s what Iggy said as well.”

Listen to Iggy Pop, ‘Lust for Life’

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Listen to Jet, ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’

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Next: The Rolling Stones vs. YACHT

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