The soundtrack to a Beats commercial that features 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and aired during this weekend’s NFL Playoff Games, Aloe Blacc’s “The Man” has faced two notable consequences.
On the positive front, it has continued its surge up the iTunes Single Sales Chart. After pushing into the top ten this past week (following previous inclusion in Beats campaigns), “The Man” has ridden the NFL-themed commercial all the way up to number two. At press time, only Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse (featuring Juicy J)” had sold more in the past twenty four hours.
On a more negative–and also considerably more baffling–front, it is also making waves over the homage it pays to Elton John’s classic “Your Song.”
An obvious tribute to the 1970 hit, “The Man” opens its chorus with the same, iconic, “you can tell everybody.”
While the call to action is different–Blacc’s invitation is to tell everyone that he is the man–the reference is undeniable.
That is the point.
Much like the homages to Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” on J. Cole’s “Work Out” and Dead Or Alive’s “You Spin Me Round” on Flo Rida & Ke$ha’s “Right Round,” the interpolation makes a deliberate effort to conjure up memory of the Elton tune. It is paying homage to a previous narrative while setting the stage to deliver his own message.
Numerous Twitter users are struggling to grasp that concept. They, due to ignorance to the notion of a tribute, a proclivity to see the worst in mankind or a lust for controversy, are absurdly assuming (and alleging) Aloe Blacc thought he would trick the masses into believing he coined the “and you can tell everybody” line. They are accusing Blacc of ripping off “Your Song.”
Example Tweets included “That new Aloe Blacc song completely rips off Elton John” (PF), “Wait what are some other Elton John songs that we can pretend Aloe Blacc wrote?” (ElliotLeBoeuf) and “The bastardization of elton john with that ‘im the man’ song by aloe blacc makes me sick. It’s acceptable to blatantly plagiarize now” (Monte Barnard).
Faced with two options–that Aloe Blacc is referencing “Your Song” or that he felt he could get away with passing “you can tell everybody” off as his own–who could possibly believe the latter?
But if one truly were vulnerable to such illogical paranoia, he could escape its grasp by looking at the credits of the song.
Along with a live version of “The Man,” Interscope posted the complete production credits for the song.
Included in those credits is the following line:
“The Man” contains an interpolation from “Your Song” written by E. John & B. Taupin.”
Elton John and Bernie Taupin are also unmistakably listed as co-writers.
Whether one’s instinct is to think the best or the worst of Aloe Blacc, there is no denying what the credits say: the artist simply did not steal from “Your Song.”
(The full-length commercial follows; “The Man” begins at 1:07)