Chili Petty

A lot of reasons to blog about Tom Petty these days. With a full scale tour, a Peter Bogdanovich doc, a third solo album (future “classic” Highway Companion, out 7/25), and a hit XM radio show, the Last DJ isn’t slowing down in his thirtieth year with the Heartbreakers.

The juicy story, however, is: does Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Dani California” rip off “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”?

Jared Morris thought so (“The chord progression, the melody, the tempo, the key, the lyrical theme … they’re identical”), and posted excerpts from the tunes on his blog. Chili Pepper fans are not amused.

Here’s “Dani California”: QT | WMV

What do you think?

Rolling Stone inquired with University Of Chicago musicologist Travis Jackson:

“The opening parts of both songs have very similar grooves, they use pretty much the same chord progressions and the ways the melodies are patterned are similar. And it pretty much stops there. Chord progressions are really hard to claim as a basis [for a lawsuit]. That’s a pretty standard groove. You would have to do a lot more to say there’s outright copying.”

If Vanilla Ice can get away with “Ice Ice Baby,” I think RHCP are in the clear.

Incidentally, if someone could answer this for me, you get a gold star. When “You Don’t Know How It Feels” came out, they replaced the pot reference in the lyrics for radio and MTV and “joint” became something that sounds like “nowwwwj.” Any idea?