They say there’s nothing new under the sun, and there are few arenas in the world more suitable as evidence than the pop music world. It’s hard to hear anything on the radio that doesn’t have a sample of another track, a reference to another artist or a borrowed piece of melody. So it’s not entirely shocking that somebody has already come forward to accuse Britney Spears of stealing “Hold It Against Me.” Except in this case, the artists in question are more bothered by the title than anything else. David Bellamy, author of the Bellamy Brothers’ 1979 chart-topping country hit “If I Said You Have a Beautiful Body Would You Hold it Against Me,” is debating whether or not to take legal action against Spears for the use of the line.
“I just have to see what the intent was,” he told Entertainment Weekly in an interview conducted on Tuesday (January 11). “I just kind of found it unoriginal, and I guess it makes us realize how old we are, because they’re recycling our titles already.” Of course, even Bellamy concedes that the gag itself is lifted from a line that Groucho Marx used to use when he hosted the game show “You Bet Your Life,” which aired back in the 1950s. Still, he seems particularly flummoxed by the Spears song. “This particular title is kinda hard to disguise, because the title is the song. It’s not like saying, ‘I love you, baby.’ I think songwriters have become watered down. This makes me sound like an old man again, but I find that songwriters now are not as strong as they used to be in the ’60s or ’70s,” Bellamy said. “I like singer-songwriters, strong hooks, old rock, and old country. I’m not really a big fan of the Euro dance mixes, but I think there’s just more original stuff out there to do than just rehashing old titles.”
Bellamy may be barking up the wrong tree, as people copy song titles all the time without any sort of repercussions (consider that there are over 2,000 songs that carry the title “Call Me”). But it will be interesting to see whether or not the country star (who will be celebrating his group’s 35th anniversary this year) will be able to set a legal precedent for copyrighting pick-up lines.
Do the Bellamy Brothers deserve to get paid for the use of the title? Let us know in the comments!