Lindsey Buckingham Gives Retroactive Credit To Blinker The Star And Medicine Songwriters
Lindsey Buckingham has given retroactive songwriting credit to Blinker The Star’s Jordon Zadorozny and Medicine’s Brad Laner after accidentally plagiarizing one of their songs. Upon hearing “Swan Song,” a standout on Buckingham’s new self-titled solo album, Zadorozny noticed that it sounded remarkably similar to “Mind’s Eye,” a song that he co-wrote with Laner over 20 years ago. “It was a strange feeling of déjà vu, but a déjà vu where your hero is singing your song,” Zadorozny tells Spin.
Here’s the chorus to “Mind’s Eye”: “It isn’t right to keep me waiting/ Do you have to hold out on me so long now?/ Is it right to keep me waiting?/ In the shadow of our mind’s eye.” Meanwhile, here’s the chorus to “Swan Song”: “But is it right to keep me waiting?/ Is it right to make me hold out so long?/ Yeah, is it right to keep me waiting/ In the shadow of our swan song.” You can compare the two songs below.
Zadorozny first crossed paths with Buckingham in 2000 when he signed to DreamWorks. The label’s president, Lenny Waronker, asked him who he wanted to produce his next record, and Zadorozny chose Buckingham. “It’s something I used to think about as a high school kid going to bed at night,” he explains. “It was pure fantasy. ‘Out of all my heroes, who could I work with?’ And then it was, ‘Wow, this is actually happening.’”
Buckingham agreed to produce two songs for Zadorozny, and they went into the studio to record with Medicine leader Brad Laner on bass. At the end of the sessions, Laner handed Buckingham a CD of songs that he’d written with Zadorozny, hoping that Buckingham might want to cover one of them. “It was obnoxious of me to give that to him,” Laner says. “But there was no way in hell I was not going to hand Lindsey Buckingham a CD.”
By 2021, everyone involved had pretty much forgotten the entire exchange… until Zadorozny heard “Swan Song” and called Laner up. “I said, ‘Oh shit, that CD I handed him worked out,’” Laner recalls. They reached out to Buckingham’s management, sending along their demo of “Mind’s Eye” and a photo of them with Buckingham, and figured out what had happened.
“He’s got years of integrity and no reason to be stealing songs from anyone, especially us,” says Zadorozny. “He’d taken our song, made a demo himself of it, put it away for a rainy day and, as it turns out, 16 or 17 years later found that demo and thought, ‘This is a cool thing I did back in 2000.’” It’s pretty much the exact same thing that happened with Islands and Julie Byrne earlier this year.
“Following the recent release of Lindsey’s self titled album, it was brought to his attention that significant elements of the song ‘Swan Song,’ had come from a song that had been shared with him more than 20 years ago while he was working in a Los Angeles studio, producing some music for Brad Laner and Jordon Zadorozny,” Buckingham’s management explains. “When this unintentional and inadvertent usage was raised to Lindsey, he quickly realised his mistake and a friendly resolution was made by all parties.”
Once Buckingham returned from touring in support of the album, legal paperwork was amicably drawn up. Laner and Zadorozny got a flat monetary sum, a portion of the publishing, and co-writing credits for “Swan Song.” Buckingham’s digital artwork, and artwork in future physical hard copies, is also being updated.
Zadorozny and Laner aren’t mad at all. “It’s magnificent,” Laner says. “He made it his own, and that’s a thrill. I have zero complaints about that.” “There’s almost no one else whose album I’d rather have my music on,” Zadorozny adds. “I’m grateful to Lindsey for rediscovering this piece of music and I love what he did with it.”