They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but sometimes things are a little too close for comfort. That’s exactly the case for these seven acts, who all were not down with some pretty famous covers of their hit songs. In all honesty, it would’ve been best if these artists had just stayed in their lanes—but we did receive some shady remarks that will remain frozen in time as a result, so #blessed? (When Etta James comes for Beyoncé, then you know things aren’t pretty.)
Etta James and Beyoncé
Beyoncé portrayed Etta in the 2008 film Cadillac Records; however, it was Bey singing “At Last” during President Barack Obama’s inauguration that really ticked her off. “Like I said, she ain’t mine. … I can’t stand Beyoncé,” Etta said back in ’09. “She has no business up there, singing up there on a big ol’ president day, gonna be singing my song that I’ve been singing forever.” She later backtracked and insisted the comments were just meant to be funny, but who was laughing? Um, no one.
George Harrison and The Hollies
George criticized The Hollies for soullessly covering The Beatles’ song “If I Needed Someone” in 1965. (Isn’t it an unspoken rule not to mess with The Beatles?!) “[The Hollies] version is not my kind of music,” George told NME in December ’65. “I think it’s rubbish the way they’ve done it! They’ve spoilt it. The Hollies are all right musically, but the way they do their records they sound like session men who’ve just got together in a studio without ever seeing each other before. Technically good, yes. But that’s all.” We guess the Allan Clarke and Graham Nash-helmed band didn’t get the memo.
Gotye and the Glee cast
Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” was arguably the hit of 2012, which explains why Glee eventually covered the song in its third season. When Gotye caught wind of the cover, though, he wasn’t exactly pleased. “They did such a faithful arrangement of the instrumentals but the vocals were that pop Glee style, ultra-dry, sounded pretty tuned and the rock has no real sense,” he said to Sunday Mail, according to Billboard. “Like it’s playing to you from a cardboard box.” He then added that the alternative version of his track sounded “dinky and wrong.” Yikes.
Don Henley and Frank Ocean
The Eagles frontman had a serious bone to pick with Frank after he used the “Hotel California” instrumentals as the backing for his own song “American Wedding.” Even after threatening legal action, Frank didn’t remove the song. “He was clearly in the wrong,” Don said. “I wouldn’t dream of doing something like that. What kind of ego is that? I don’t understand it.” Mr. Henley does have a point…
Blondie and Atomic Kitten
Even worse than shade? Indifference. When asked what she thought about the pop group Atomic Kitten covering her classic tune “The Tide is High,” Blondie said, “I thought it was…OK.” We wonder how the girls from AK took this one?
Dionne Warwick and Cilla Black
When Cilla covered Dionne’s track “Anyone Who Had A Heart,” she was mostly upset about how similar the two versions were. “If I would have sneezed on my recording, Cilla would have sneezed on hers,” Dionne quipped when asked about the track. Those are definitely fighting words.
Lady Gaga and Madonna
After Lady Gaga first came out with “Born this Way” in 2011, Madge made it very clear she thought it was a little too familiar to her 1989 anthem “Express Yourself.” She retaliated by covering “BTW” during her 2012 MDNA Tour and singing it en tandem with “Express Yourself” to highlight the songs’ similar melodies. Gaga didn’t appreciate the dig, and during her Born This Way Ball Tour, she gave a speech that many viewed as a response to Madonna’s shenanigans. “It sometimes makes people feel better about themselves to put other people down or make fun of them or maybe make mockery of their work,” she told her Little Monsters at a New Zealand show in June 2012. This is both the high road and such a life-giving read.
Primal Scream and Frankie Cocozza
The band took to Twitter in 2011 and expressed discontent over Frankie, a contestant on The X Factor, covering their song “Rocks.” “Sorry to hear ’Rocks’ was used on X-Factor,” the band tweeted. “We don’t endorse this.”