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The Jam vs. Weezer – Song Parallels

The Jam and Weezer
Chris Jackson / Michael Buckner, Getty Images

It’s always been easy to detect an enthusiasm for classic new wave, punk and power pop in Weezer‘s music — heck, they’ve been covering songs by the Clash, the Cars, Gary Numan, and the Psychedelic Furs for years. But when they sat down to record the ‘Raditude’ track ‘(If You’re Wondering if I Want You To) I Want You To,’ did they accidentally let their influences show a little too much?

If you’re a fan of ’80s British hitmakers the Jam, you already know what we’re talking about — the opening chords of ‘I Want You To’ are basically a sped-up, note-for-note lift from the Jam’s 1982 hit ‘Town Called Malice,’ which topped the British charts as a single from the band’s final album, ‘The Gift.’ The two songs diverge somewhat after the intro, but the similarities between those basic chord structures are virtually impossible not to notice, as a Google search quickly demonstrates.

But there’s more to the story — as you might remember from our previous Song Parallels entry on Iggy Pop and Jet, the chord sequence in question is one that’s been used repeatedly over the years, and has acted as a basic building block for hits by a number of artists throughout the rock era. So while Weezer may have been guilty of repeating history, perhaps they were looking a little further back than some have suspected. Have a listen to these two clips and see what you think.

Listen to the Jam, ‘Town Called Malice’

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Listen to Weezer, ‘(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To’

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Next: Led Zeppelin vs. Pearl Jam

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