Did Andrew Lloyd Webber rip off Les Mis?

Any discussion related to any production or staging of Boublil and Schönberg's Les Misérables.
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Majestic_Picnob
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Did Andrew Lloyd Webber rip off Les Mis?

Postby Majestic_Picnob » Sun Jul 28, 2013 4:12 am

Has anyone here seen Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard? If not, I'd definitely recommend it, though I'll confess to not having seen the original film version so it could be terrible compared to that for all I know. Anyway, Webber's had a few plagiarism lawsuits sent his way, though to be honest I don't think most of his work sounds like it was cribbed from anything else... aside from a few certain notes in Sunset. In the middle of the otherwise-awesome song "New Ways To Dream," there's a very familiar-sounding instrumental "deedoodoodoodeedoodoodoo." What do you guys think? Am I on to something?
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Re: Did Andrew Lloyd Webber rip off Les Mis?

Postby Acaila » Sun Jul 28, 2013 4:16 am

Got a link perhaps so we can have a listen? :) I don't actually know SunBo very well I'm afraid!
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Re: Did Andrew Lloyd Webber rip off Les Mis?

Postby Majestic_Picnob » Sun Jul 28, 2013 4:32 am

Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxxZk8GtwYU Starts at about 2:09, though it's very faint on this recording.
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Re: Did Andrew Lloyd Webber rip off Les Mis?

Postby deHavilland » Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:37 pm

I don't really hear it there, but Sir Andrew's done his fair share of creative borrowing from Mendelssohn and Puccini in particular, I wouldn't be surprised.

But if John Williams can get away with it for as long as he has, ALW's not going to have any problems.
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Re: Did Andrew Lloyd Webber rip off Les Mis?

Postby Acaila » Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:43 pm

Also, Memory is a total rip off of Ravel's Bolero.

If it's the descending pattern I think it is, I think it's more that it's pretty common generally. Have you seen the Les Mis Pachelbel's Canon video?
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Re: Did Andrew Lloyd Webber rip off Les Mis?

Postby Enjolvert » Mon Jul 29, 2013 1:37 am

I haven't seen it although he has had accusations in the past. The Phantom of the Opera theme had accusations of plagiarism for copying the Pink Floyd song Echoes. I think Roger Watters eventually dropped any accusations and didn't bother pursuing it. It might be that ALW genuinely did want the chromatic pattern and it was just a coincidence that it was the same as Echoes with the same time signature and generally a similar rhythm, but he has had a few accusations over his time. I'm fairly sure something else in Phantom was accused of being ripped off although I'm not sure.
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Re: Did Andrew Lloyd Webber rip off Les Mis?

Postby Majestic_Picnob » Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:25 am

Enjolvert wrote:I haven't seen it although he has had accusations in the past. The Phantom of the Opera theme had accusations of plagiarism for copying the Pink Floyd song Echoes. I think Roger Watters eventually dropped any accusations and didn't bother pursuing it. It might be that ALW genuinely did want the chromatic pattern and it was just a coincidence that it was the same as Echoes with the same time signature and generally a similar rhythm, but he has had a few accusations over his time. I'm fairly sure something else in Phantom was accused of being ripped off although I'm not sure.


I've heard that one; there's an identical "duh duh duh duh duuuuuuh" but everything else is totally different, so IMO that's in the realm of coincidence.
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Re: Did Andrew Lloyd Webber rip off Les Mis?

Postby Prisoner 24653 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 3:37 am

Indeed, it does sound similar, but I don't think there was any intentional plagiarism there; much like ALW's "Phantom" and Pink Floyd's "Echoes," I think it was just a really interesting coincidence.

There was one plagiarism accusation that apparently did stick, though. The estate of Giacomo Puccini sued ALW because one running leitmotif in POTO was taken from Puccini. It wasn't part of any of the major songs, but was a melody that appeared a few times in the show -- the flute melody when Christine returns his mask after "Stranger Than You Dreamt It," which also comes up as a sung section in various other scenes ("Yet in his eyes, all the sadness of the world..." in the rooftop scene, "You said yourself he was nothing but a man..." in the managers' office scene in Act 2, "This haunted face holds no horror for me now..." in the final lair scene, and possibly other bits I'm forgetting at the moment). ALW settled the lawsuit out of court, indicating that perhaps he was admitting that he knowingly plagiarized, and I've heard some people say that he pays royalties to the Puccini estate for every production and recording of POTO.


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