Did Gorillaz rock down to Electric Avenue and rip off a song by Eddy Grant for their Plastic Beach single “Stylo”? That’s what Grant himself is alleging, saying in a statement that Damon Albarn and his animated band borrowed heavily from his electro cut “Time Warp.” “I am outraged that the Gorillaz have infringed the copyright of my song ‘Time Warp’ claiming their song ‘Stylo’ to be an original composition,” Grant said in a statement (via Addict Music). “My song sits almost note to note with their release and is a blatant rip off.” Listen to “Time Warp” above, and compare it with the Gorillaz’ video for “Stylo” here. Requests for comment from Gorillaz’s reps were not answered by press time.
Albarn and his Gorillaz crew undoubtedly had knowledge of Grant’s oeuvre prior to recording Plastic Beach, as two guests on the LP, the Clash’s Mick Jones and Paul Simonon — also a member of Albarn’s the Good, the Bad and the Queen side project — covered Grant’s “Police on my Back” on the Clash’s 1980 album Sandinista!. Still, while “Stylo” may be styled and inspired by Grant’s “Time Warp,” if doesn’t quite sound enough alike to border on infringement.
Grant faults EMI Publishing’s administration division, who oversee the work of both Grant and Gorillaz, for not spotting the likenesses sooner. “I do not blame my publishers but, the state of the industry at the current time with all labels and publishers folding into one and becoming incestuous,” Grant said. “It’s such an obvious copy that from day one the band and their management should have taken control of this situation with EMI Publishing.” It’s unclear whether Grant is seeking monetary damages for the supposed rip-off, but he is demanding that he receives an apology from the animated band as well as a full credit for the track.