National plagiarism

If you’re visiting here due to today’s BBC piece on plagiarised anthems, then first, buy my book! But with that out of the way, here is the music you’ve come for.

This is Bosnia’s anthem followed by the music from Animal House:

Yes, they do sound remarkably similar.

Is it coincidence? I clearly think so and not just for the reason of wanting to avoid a lawsuit. But could someone have heard that in a film and remembered it 20 years on? Here’s Animal House’s opening scene where the ‘anthem’ is prominent, although so is another melody someone could equally have taken for an anthem. I’ll leave you to decide what actually happened here.

As the BBC piece makes clear, lots of anthems have similar problems. This is Uruguay’s followed by Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia.

Uruguay’s is also similar to one of Beethoven’s sonatas, and the other day I heard a similarity in one of Mozart’s piano concertos, so make of that what you will.

For all the other comparisons, please trawl through my book’s audio guide although I’ll happily put more up here if there’s a clamour. Yes, some anthems I did leave out (hello everyone in South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe!), but I had to save something for people to discover in the book.

Anyway, to finish, this is South Korea’s anthem played in the style of Auld Lang Syne just because it’s fun.

Update: The Daily Telegraph has also published a fun piece of mine today on the world’s strangest anthems. It features Nepal’s and Kazakhstan’s, which have chapters in the book. The stories surrounding those songs – one’s linked to a Maoist revolution, the other exemplifies the madness of a dictatorship – should really be more widely known. Enjoy!

6 thoughts on “National plagiarism

    • Thanks for reading, Robin. And I didn’t know about Bangladesh’s so thanks for drawing it to my attention. There’s a few others in my book too. It seems all the world’s anthems are stolen!

  1. Just read the BBC piece – I had forgotten that the “Star Spangled Banner”s tune was ripped off from “To Anacreon in Heaven”. But what is different from the other rip offs is that if I’m in an American bar today, I am more likely to hear the Star Spangled Banner then a rousing rendition of To Anacreon in Heaven – which I don’t think I have ever heard. Manifest destiny?

    • Hi Arno – I haven’t missed any of them by accident. The ones I left out of that BBC article are deliberate as otherwise the piece would never have ended! But I hope you enjoyed it anyway.If you did, check out the book! Alex

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