Harry Styles of One Direction performs onstage during 102.7 KIIS FMs Jingle Ball on December 4, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty)
Harry Styles‘ road to a solo musical career has been one steeped in triumph and setback in equal measure. While generally well-received by critics, his debut single “Sign of the Times” underperformed in its first week due to a Spotify glitch, and how, his second song, “Ever Since New York,” is facing allegations that it borrows the basic guitar riff of a hit from the 1970s.
According to The Sun, “Ever Since New York,” the wistful guitar ballad that Styles debuted on Saturday Night Live last week, is an almost note-for-note recreation of the song “Baby Blue,” which was recorded by the rock group Badfinger in 1971. For those who are unfamiliar with Badfinger or “Baby Blue,” you may recognize it as the song that was included in the final scene of the AMC series Breaking Bad (2008-13). You can watch the scene here, but for those who wish to avoid any spoilers, you can simply listen to the song below.
An industry insider told The Sun that “This is the last thing Harry needed. His solo launch hasn’t quite gone to plan and this is another distraction. He takes real pride in his new material and to be accused of nicking a riff will really hurt.” Fans on Twitter have been vocal in pointing out the similarity, with many wondering whether Styles was even aware of of the original song’s existence. Based on the musical influence of his previous song, however, which ranged from Pink Floyd to David Bowie, we’d say he’s well-versed in classic rock. Others keep their fingers crossed that Styles will at the very least credit Badfinger songwriter Pete Ham.
I wonder if Harry Styles has ever heard Badfinger's Baby Blue, and if he will hear from their lawyer.
— Peter Kirkpatrick (@pkirkpatrick) April 16, 2017
So did Harry Styles get permission from Badfinger to use the "Baby Blue" riff for that song? #SNLLiveCoastToCoast
— Ross Maxwell – WAPL (@RossMaxwellWAPL) April 16, 2017
I get extra defensive about Badfinger. Putting a Pete Ham credit on that Harry Styles song is VERY important.
— JoAnna (@Pizzawitjo) April 18, 2017
hey Harry Styles Badfinger already did that song
— Realitygal (@realitygal) April 16, 2017
So, the second song played Harry Styles on SNL last night sure did a good job ripping of Badfinger's Baby Blue, eh?
— Dr. October (@DoctorOctober) April 17, 2017
This isn’t the first time Styles has been involved in the alleged “rip-off” of a classic tune. When he was with One Direction, the group was often criticized for lifting guitar riffs and entire vocal melodies for their singles. This includes seminal 1D songs like “Best Song Ever,” which emulates The Who’s “Baba O’ Riley” (1971), “Steal My Girl,” which riffs on Journey’s “Faithfully” (1983) “Midnight Memories,” a reworking of Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me” (1987) and perhaps most notably, “What Makes You Beautiful,” a blatant nod to the song “Summer Nights” (1978) from the Grease soundtrack. TMZ even caught up with Leppard drummer Rick Allen in 2014 to ask him about it. Watch the video below.