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Red Hot Chili Peppers Accused Of Plagiarism

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are currently enjoying success with their new album Stadium Arcadium, but this success could soon be clouded by allegations of plagiarism.

Last week, radio presenter Dan Gaffney of Delaware-based WGMD accused the band of ripping off Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. He claims that the leading single from the new album, "Dani California," sounds almost identical to Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance."

"Mary Jane's Last Dance" was first released on the Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers album Greatest Hits in 1993 as a previously unreleased track. They even won an MTV award for the video for the song in 1994.

Gaffney's show producer, Jarred Morris has posted a track on his blog demonstrating the similarities between the songs. He is quoted as telling reporters:

"The chord progression, the melody, the tempo, the key, the lyrical theme… they're identical."

Morris is keeping track of the madness on his blog, even blogging about a death threat, along with a whole slew of hate mail. It's hard to understand why this is happening, as the two songs sound very much alike.

It is unknown whether RHCP intentionally made the song sound like "Mary Jane's Last Dance." There is still a very fine line between flattery and plagiarism. Neither band has commented on this new allegation.

One can only hope RHCP get burned for releasing such a crappy single.

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  • calibeezy

    one more thing…..the song dani california has a story behind it which is ALSO mentioned in by the way and californication

  • Blobb

    This article is bullshit. Tom Petty didn’t accuse them, the songs sound similar but neither party is taking action. How many songs sound similar?

    and Dani Cali isn’t a “crappy single”

  • Jessa

    For one thing, the article doesn’t say that Tom Petty accused them. Secondly, I think that Dani California is not a good single which is just my opinion. In comparison to the other great material that Red Hot Chili Peppers have released, this one doesn’t cut it.

  • Mike Lynch

    I hve played guitar for somewhere around 5 years. I have been Playing the Tom Petty Song: “Mary Janes Last Dance” for around 3. I Have only recently learned the RHCP song: “Dani California”. Where am I going with this you may ask? The chord progression is very similar, but the songs are both definately original.

  • aZn_rhcp_fan

    hey! its not possible these days to thnk up of a new rhytm n shit! its coincedence! its similar but nt the same! n hu the fuk say its crap!

  • richard

    come on why make such a big deal out of this when all rap music sounds the same

  • Shoes

    Oh dear… Bound to happen, as many here have pointed out the tracks are very similar in the way they sound but when you’re playing the same 5 chords over and over in the same way there isn’t much room for decent creativity . I remember when RHCP were an awesome band who could pump out some of the most funky original and raw sounds on the planet. Unfortunately like many good acts they have succumbed to commercialism, lined their pockets and are rapidly spiraling towards mediocrity. Real Shame.

  • Naomi

    Hey listen you fucker-who ever wrote this article can kiss my ass because the Red Hot Chili Peppers are the best band ever. It really hurts us fans when you criticize them like this and when we read this article it is a painful pill for us to swallow. Yeah, so the RHCP has some influences and maybe it could occur to you if you can get it through your fat head that Tom Petty just so happens to be one of them. Yes, I have read an article from John Frusciante and he said that indeed he did get his influence from Tom. But you have no right to do this to them.

  • Jack

    actually i downloaded the original and if u listen 2 the original mary janes last dance and this one on the audio clip the one the audio clip is sped up so looks like someone sped it up so they tampered it didn’t they?

  • Billybob

    My ex old lady had plegiarism once. She had to vist the doc once a week for shots because of all the warts on her crouch. Took her a year before the crouch warts went away. Then we had oral sex. My advice is be careful with sex or you might get that plegiarism stuff.

  • David Samuel

    First of all about the only thing you can copyright is lyrics. You cannot copyright chord progressions and even melodies are up for debate according to the copyright laws on account of melodies over certain chords are going to happen in a natural way. The only thing that one needs to worry about is lyrics when it comes to copyrighting. Melodies have to be changed a little but not much on account of the laws.

  • Marcia Neil

    ‘The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ is an album theme; ‘Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ is an album theme. Both originate from the same source and neither of them use mechanical music instruments as recorded. An entire recording can be copyrighted but copyrighted wrongly and illegally so that record factories can fire up their assembly lines and take home paychecks. Been robbed, original music snatched and mass-marketed? See the Motown entry describing the voice-recording machines once popular as a way to save your own voiceprints. There should be a library of sound spectrographs in the FBI that show the similarities and differences among vocal frequencies and instrument-music frequencies for all marketed music; each theme uses different frequencies but no music requires mechanical instruments. Some people inspired the music and are therefore hauled onto stage? Performers are not plagiarists, they are only performers — same as practising a piece in music class.

  • Mark

    The person who wrote this article is an idiot. A “crappy single,” the RHCP are one of the best who’ve ever lived, and the song has a similar rhythm but that’s it, not the same lyrics or anything and DC kicks the hell out of MJLD, if you listen to both of them in their entirety they’re totally different songs. Of course maybe TP influenced them but what’s wrong with that? Sueing them for having a similar beat, that’s retarted. And what’s this? If you do a little research you’d find out they have the same producer.

  • Mary

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion yes? However, calling someone an idiot just because you disagree with them is unacceptable. (Note the “personal attacks are NOT allowed” at the top there?) To be honest, ‘Dani California’ was one of the weaker singles released by RHCP. If you honestly believe that they are the greatest band who ever lived, you’re missing a lot of other great music out there. Having the same producer doesn’t mean anything. Big deal. So can we expect that Metallica’s new album will sound like BSSM because Rick Rubin is producing? No. It doesn’t mean anything. It is good that nothing came out of this, as they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But I don’t think that RHCP should be getting accolades for an album and single that is mediocre at best.

  • Tyler

    They are VERY similar. To me, the fact that it’s the same chord progression is not really that big of a deal. But, if you mix that with the fact that it’s played using the same strumming pattern, that makes it quite a bit worse. I’ve never been a huge fan of the RHCP though, and Tom Petty is my favorite artist of all time. So, I’m a little biased when it comes to this.

  • Dickman


  • dawn

    back in 2002 the RHCP stole one of my songs(“the zephyr song”, (I am an little-known female singer/songwriter) I talked to an attorney about it, who said he knew that in years prior, the RHCP stole the song “under the bridge” from another little-known female singer/songwriter.) They have nothing original, they never had and I’m glad nobody gives a hoot about them anymore!

  • NWCoast

    MMAANN! Plagiarism?! Chilli Peppers are too good and smart for that. If anything its a case of “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” Paying homage to a great with equal but different greatness! People get all uppity way to quick. Enjoy the track. Its not like they butchered it. Its amazing. Petty prolly thinks so to. He’s got a good ear.

  • Don

    first off, it’s not a crappy single, second off, the red hot chili peppers are just as original as tom petty, and thirdly, the chord prog means nothing

  • Anthony

    John did not rip off the solo from purple haze because he can’t come up with new stuff, he made it sound similar in honour of him. The chords aren’t even the same and just saying, this is now a 6 year old song, and it is still one of the best songs I’ve ever heard. You write an original song, and if I heard it, I would be able to find a song that sounds like it. Now as a bass player myself, I write a lot of riffs influenced by probably the best bass player of all time, Flea. They sound like something he would play, and sometimes an alternate version of what he has already played. Nothing is 100% different.