In blues music, the time honoured tradition of referencing art that has gone before us is referred to as quotin'. We could call it homage, we could call it a nostalgic nod – whatever you label it, it's a/ not a crime against humanity OR advertising and b/ a completely reasonable, legal way to utilise material, compositions and arrangements that exist in the music market. It's actually how composers and arrangers make money after the initial release of a piece of work.
Given the extraordinary furore over The Monkey's spot for the Star, I can't help wondering if the all these nasty commentators have got jobs at all? Pages and pages of such high level vitriol all over the tiny details of song arrangements? Is there nothing better to do with one's time?
I love retro lounge. I love Frank Bennett (referenced by one of the commentators) and I love Richard Cheese. What is the problem in using these sources/references as inspiration to create a specific mood for a commercial?
The Facebook reaction from the US-based Cheese is slightly over the top and if he checked with his manager, agent and/or publisher he might get his legals straight. Either way, why is it so insulting to be aped on screen in this way? If he thought about it, maybe he would even be slightly chuffed – after all, isn't imitation the highest form of flattery?
That the agency and production company liked him and his style enough to emulate that feeling in the ad is not a reason to dive into the disgusting name calling on the pages of several industry websites.
If actual phrasing and enunciation were enough to qualify as plaigarism then Amy Winehouse was just ripping off Dinah Washington and Billie Holiday and Michael Buble is ripping off Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett and any reggae singer doing a rendition of Is This Love is ripping off Bob Marley.
Are the Saturday Night Live comedians ripping off their subjects and therefore 'talentless and unoriginal' when doing impersonations in a routine?
It's all a bit ridiculous and hopefully we all move on and focus on producing good, entertaining, creative work.