Ever read ‘The Manual: How to have a number one hit the easy way’ by the KLF? It’s both a case study of their hit (as The Timelords) ‘Doctorin’ the Tardis’, and a step-by-step guide to producing a hit song with no money or musical talent. At its core is a simple message; you have to sound like everything else to succeed.
It’s not a new philosophy, and its roots go back at least to the work of the Father of Musicology, Theodor W Adorno, who spent a great amount of time examining the ways in which popular music repeats themes and styles, in the 1930s. So what, right? Music tends to sound similar, particularly tracks and songs within a genre; that’s how we identify tracks as belonging to a genre after all. But how similar is similar?
The recent news of Sam Smith settling with Tom Petty has again brought musical similarities into the news, and we’ve been sitting on this video for a while and figured now was as good a time as any to share it. We've held back this far because we’re sick to the back teeth of ‘mash-ups’, but have decided if you ignore the word (which in this case in misapplied anyway), then you have a rather interesting study on the similarities of hit tracks.And before anyone thinks we’re getting down on Country, we’re not. To reassure, there’s some Uncle Tupelo below too.