As we all know, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. However, when musicians grab a riff here, a bass line there—perhaps even a lyric—songs can become more a compilation of other people's work rather than something unique.
As ex-Beatle George Harrison said, "Ninety-nine percent of popular music is reminiscent of one thing or another." (Though his line was in response to allegedly plagiarizing the Chiffons' "He's So Fine" in his hit "My Sweet Lord.")
And, yes, even musician moms—like Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez—have been accused of "borrowing" bits and pieces of other people's songs. Is this alleged sampling a harmless, even unconscious, process or a bold theft? Read on—and listen—and decide for yourself.