Was This Chicago Hit Ripped Off From a Teenager?

Songwriter Diane Warren is being sued by a man who claims she stole his idea for the song “Look Away,” which was a number one hit for Chicago back in 1988.

According to court filings, Brendan Greaves claims he wrote the song in 1987 when he was 14, and says he submitted it to the National Schools Make Music Competition in England, which was sponsored by a division of EMI Records. Just eight months later, Diane filed a copyright for her tune, and he believes EMI gave her access to the song. He says he waited 30 years to sue because he was “blissfully unaware” of the Chicago tune, since he lives in a small UK village. 

In the suit, which seeks $20 million, Greaves points out that lyrics in his song are very similar to Diane’s. In fact, his tune has the line, “If you see me walking by with a tear in my eye, look away, baby look away,” while Diane’s contains the line, “If you see me walking by and the tears are in my eyes, look away, baby, look away."  Check out the video below.  Does this sound like something a 14 year old wrote?  Maybe.   (video courtesy of YouTube)

Bill George

Bill George

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