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Alicia Keys Hit with Copyright Lawsuit Over 'Girl on Fire'

Songwriter says Keys lifted from his song 'Lonely Boy'

Alicia Keys
Michael Buckner/Getty Images for The Painted Turtle Camp
December 17, 2012 5:35 PM ET

Alicia Keys has been hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit over her hit "Girl on Fire," according to the Hollywood Reporter. Songwriter Earl Shuman says Keys' track sounds too similar to his 1962 composition "Lonely Boy," which hit Number Two on the Billboard charts when recorded by Eddie Holman as "Hey There Lonely Girl." Shuman became aware of the possible similarities after reading a story by Roger Friedman, a blogger for Showbiz411, that said, "In the middle of the song, Alicia sings a couplet or so from Eddie Holman's 1970 classic 'Hey There Lonely Girl,'" calling it an uncredited sample.

Photos: Live at Jingle Ball 2012

Though Friedman noted, "Keys only uses two seconds of the original," Shuman's complaint says the statements "concerning 'two seconds' of use are not accurate" yet "in their essence, apt." Hear both songs below.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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