In 2005 Johnathan Coulton covered the timeless classic "Baby Got Back," by Sir-Mix-Alot, which is itself a cover of Pachelbel's Canon In D-Major, and put it on Youtube.
A painting of Sir-Mixa-Lot, circa 1717. Titled "In Repose"
CNET Military Times reports that GLEE then came along recently and did an exact version of his cover. John did his cover in 2005. In typical white-guy-covering-a-rap-song-ironically fashion, he turned it into a lilting, beautiful, sweetly sad indy song. Not to get into the condescending nature of privileged white males looking down their nose at cultural touchstones from other cultures they see as bombastic and over simple and therefore "inferior," we can admit, as you'll see from the two songs played below, that the Glee version and Johnathan's version are eerily identical:
Admittedly, Johnathan Coulton has a case. They definitely, 100% ripped off his cover. But here is where his case gets flimsy: his song is a f*cking cover. His song is a song that isn't a song he wrote. It's not his song! It's Sir-Mix-A-Lot's song. And if Johnathan is all butt hurt about his unclever,already been done attempt to make an indie version of a rap song, ask yourself this: do you think Johnathan Coulton contacted Sir-Mix-A-Lot before he covered "Baby Got Back"? Do you think he's paying Sir-Mix-A-Lot royalties every time he gets eight cents from Youtube? No, dude. I really doubt it. And I'll be happy to take that back if it's true. If anyone should be butt hurt here it's Sir-Mix-A-Lot. Because a bunch of people (Read: Johnathan Coulton) are getting famous, or making money (Read: Glee) by making fun of him.
Picture above: Sir Mix-A-Lot, taking the recent controversy in relative stride.
Johnathan tweeted "Hey Glee ripped off my cover of Baby Got Back and never even contacted me. Classy." Classy? Yeah, like how you were classy when you did a cover of I LIKE BIG BUTTS AND I CANNOT LIE and threw it up on Youtube. Apologies to the King Of Integrity Johnathan Coulton. But dude, get over yourself. Getting mad at someone for covering something you covered in your style is like if you were a comedian and you stole Rodney Dangerfield's joke, and you went around telling it, slightly modified. And then you found out someone is telling the Rodney Dangerfield joke onstage too, but they're doing it your way! Hey, someone stole that joke I stole and modified slightly! Mind you, Johnathan Coulton, I totally think it would be f*cked if Glee, or anyone, covered your original song without asking. But you can't complain when someone "steals" the work that you yourself "took and modified."
Johnathan Coulton, thinking about how incensed he's going to get when he does a Christmas themed cover of "F*ck Tha Police" and someone else covers that cover.
Do you think Johnathan has a case to make or not? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below!
Check out Brains that Even Zombies Wouldn't Eat!