Adele is one of the world’s most bankable singers, possessing a voice that has seen her graduate from performing arts student to full on superstar, thanks to the success of her trio of albums, 19, 21 and 25, albums which together have sold over 100 million copies.
The 28 year old’s songs surround the themes of heartbreak and relationships, with hits like ‘Hello’ and ‘Rumour Has It’ generating a popularity reflective of her status as ‘the finest singer of her generation’.
But, amidst all the glory and adulation, exists the rumour that she bent the rules somewhat in the creation of one of her biggest hits, Skyfall, the theme from the James Bond movie of the same name.
The song has sold more than 2 million copies worldwide, earning Adele an Academy Award for Best Original Song alongside a Golden Globe in the same category and the Grammy for Best Song Written for Visual Media in 2014.
The Oscar win, funnily enough, came after Adele’s song trumped three other soundtrack numbers, one of which being – wait for it – ‘Suddenly’ from the film Les Miserables.
But listeners on Youtube have noticed that the song bears a quite strong resemblance to the song ‘Suddenly’ by the American rock-and-roll band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, a hit from their 2003 album Take Them On, On Your Own.
Lyrically, Skyfall is dark and moody, with a heavy orchestration that effectively captures the real James Bond ‘feeling’ of the Shirley Bassey era theme songs. Co writer Paul Epworth stated that the song is about “death and rebirth”, saying “It’s like, when the world ends and everything comes down around your ears, if you’ve got each other’s back, you can conquer anything. From death to triumph, that was definitely something we set out to try and capture.”
On the other hand, ‘Suddenly’ by BRMC doesn’t speak of all too dissimilar themes; themes concerning dark days, impending judgement, the sky and, most importantly, bitter love.
Perhaps any possible allegation labelled at Adele is best one of ‘aiding and abetting’, as part of a writing duo alongside producer Paul Epworth, who has produced acts similar to BRMC, artists such as Bloc Party, Primal Scream and Death From Above 1979 – who are themselves currently on tour with BRMC.
Epworth also worked with The Big Pink on their second album, ‘Future This’. BRMC’s guitarist/singer Robert Been also worked with the band, contributing to their 4 song EP ‘Empire Underground’.
This isn’t the first time Adele has been accused of ripping off other people’s tracks. Tom Waits fans believe her song ‘Hello’ shares a lot of similarities – lyrically – with Waits’s 1973 hit ‘Martha’.
Meanwhile, fans of Turkish/Kurdish singer Ahmet Kaya believe Adele ripped off Kaya’s 1985 song ‘Acilara Tutunmak (Clinging to Pain)’ with her own ‘Million Years Ago’ track off her 25 album.
Listen to both here and make up your own mind: