Avril Lavigne is pissed about allegations that she stole a song from ’70s pop act the Rubinoos. So pissed, in fact, that she’s invoking lyrics by the Ramones.
In a post on her MySpace page addressed to “My Dear Media [hey, that’s me!], Friends and Fans,” Lavigne ripped the Rubinoos’ claims — and subsequent lawsuit — that her tune “Girlfriend” rips off their 1979 semi-hit “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend.” She wrote that she “had never heard this song in my life” and “all songs share similar lyrics and emotions. As humans we speak one language.”
“You may have heard some news that two guys who wrote for some band from the 1970s I have never in my life heard of called the ’Rubinoos’ are trying to sue me. They have a song called ’I Want to Be Your Boyfriend’ that has no musical similarities to the song ’Girlfriend,’ ” the post reads. “They claim that a small part of the lyrics are the same and are saying that I took these from them. … Off the top of my head, two other songs that I can immediately think of with this type of lyric are ’Hey, hey, you, you get off of my cloud’ by the Rolling Stones [’Get Off of My Cloud’] and ’Hey little girl I want to be your boyfriend’ by the Ramones [’I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend'; not to be confused with the Rubinoos song of the same name]. Simply put, I have been falsely accused of ripping their song off.”
Last week, Rubinoos frontman Tommy Dunbar and co-writer James Gangwer filed suit in U.S. District Court in Northern California against Lavigne, her songwriting partner Dr. Luke, RCA Records and — rather inexplicably — Apple Inc., alleging that “Girlfriend” is too similar to “Boyfriend.”
“We are not so naive as to chalk it up to some sort of cosmic coincidence,” Dunbar said in a statement on Thursday. “The lyric, the meter, the rhythm … they’re identical.”
The first court date is set for August 28 in Oakland.
Last week, The Washington Post and other outlets reported that Lavigne’s manager, Terry McBride, called the suit “baseless.” He pointed out that the two songs were listened to by a musicologist, who found no basis for the allegations, but McBride added that he was considering settling the suit out of court to avoid the legal costs of a trial. On Monday (July 9), however, McBride released a statement that seemed to snap that olive branch in two. In fact, it seemed very much like fighting words.
“We … find it ironic that in the suit they named Apple as a defendant, what a great way of getting it out there to the media. On the topic of Apple, it seems like the Rubinoos have an issue with the Beatles among other great bands. This quote is directly from the Rubinoos Myspace page: ’Bands that have ripped us blind: the Rasberries, the Beach Boys, the Beatles,’ ” McBride’s statement read. “As we have clearly stated, upon the expert opinion of one of the country’s foremost musicologists, there is no basis for this claim.”
MTV News’ attempts to contact Dunbar for comment on, well, the comments, was unsuccessful, though on the Rubinoos’ site, they have now posted Lavigne’s “Girlfriend” alongside their song, as well as covers of “Boyfriend” by British shoegazers Lush and former Mouseketeers the Party under the headline “Avril Lavigne Vs. The Rubinoos: You Decide.”
Since news of the suit first broke, nearly 1 million YouTube users have viewed videos comparing the two songs, with reactions ranging from “F— Avril … she committed plagiarism” and “It’s not similar … Rubinoos only need to get some money because they [weren’t] popular in 1970″ to perhaps our favorite: “Both songs suck.”