Rihanna’s ‘Sledgehammer’ and 9 other recycled song titles
Rihanna’s new single for Star Trek Beyond, “Sledgehammer,” aptly arrived in a grand fashion: scoring a new trailer, and having its music video slam viewers in IMAX Theaters. It’s galactic and epic in scope and subject.
It comes one year after Fifth Harmony brought their own “Sledgehammer” out of the musical shed. While Rih’s song is more about resolve and enduring, 5H fills the speakers with their pounding heart and emotions. Both of their “Sledgehammer” takes are their own empowering pieces. (And there’s also the Peter Gabriel version, released 30 years ago, which took on a life of its own thanks to this funky music video.)
The fact that it happened one year apart with Rihanna and Fifth Harmony is harmless and fun, but sometimes these mutual titles pop after years and years, too. Justin Bieber, Adele, Faith Hill, Madonna, Katy Perry, and The Beatles are a small handful of artists sharing song titles with another. Here are our 9 favorite coincidences.
It took all of 10 minutes after Adele gloriously returned last October with “Hello” before people started making mash-ups of her and Lionel Richie. Given the importance of phones in both music videos, it made for a good combination. In between 1983 and 2015, Beyoncé made her own salutatory song, and one far more romantic than Adele and Richie. The list of “Hello“ ‘s in music is astounding: Karmin and Oasis had their own, and that’s just a small sample.
“California Gurls / Girls”
The difference of one letter isn’t enough to prevent a Katy Perry/Beach Boys comparison. Given the specific title, the subject matter is similar: No matter where you go, West Coast women are touted as the best. It’s a shame Snoop wasn’t around in the ’60s to prep bars for Brian Wilson.
Sure, The Beatles’ title has a parenthetical, but that’s negligible (for this exercise, at least). Both British rock groups wanted to be paid — fair. John, Paul, George, and Ringo did so with a standard musical structure. Meanwhile, Pink Floyd brought in a sax to fill out some of the 6 minutes.
“As Long As You Love Me”
Two gigantic male pop acts bare their soul to their amours. They did it in different ways: Backstreet Boys goes slower, more balladic, and in a more earnest manner, with megaproducer Max Martin behind the scenes. Biebs goes full energy and has Big Sean. To each their own.
Contemporaries inasmuch as they both occupied the ’80s, Madonna and N.W.A actually sound more alike than one would think on “Express Yourself.” It helps Madonna made her track into an uplifting effort — as did Dr. Dre. The producer focuses on positivity, all over a groovy Charles Wright sample.
Here are two counter-positions on the same topic. Hall & Oates try to convince the titular woman she can live life outside the power and influences of a man’s deep coffers. Gwen Stefani, alternatively, dreams up her luscious life she could have if she was lucky enough to find some funds.
There are approximately a million songs called “Breathe” — even Taylor Swift and Pearl Jam have one. “Breathe” isn’t quite at the level of Michelle Branch’s breakout, “Everywhere,” but it was definitely played at events in the early 2000s. Up against Branch’s “Breathe” is U2’s. It closed out the Irish band’s 2009 record, No Line on the Horizon, but was never a single, despite possibly being the record’s standout.
“Best I Ever Had”
Drake and Gavin DeGraw were at different points in their careers when they both opined on their life superlatives. Drizzy broke out on his own with the half rap, half slow jam, along with showing off his, uh, skills at coaching basketball. DeGraw was a relatively grizzled vet, nearly 10 years in the game and removed from his debut single “I Don’t Want to Be.”
This wins oddest connection — yes, more than Drake and DeGraw. Sia and Faith Hill both immortalize the song title by going on about a free spirit in their own lives. If only someone mashed the two efforts together. Their perspectives reflect their respective career stages.