November 3, 2015


Adele's "Hello" Accused of Copying Tom Waits Song

Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

In today's case of this-is-sorta-similar-is-it-a-RIPOFF? music news, Adele's "Hello" is being accused of stealing the basic premise of Tom Waits' song "Martha," from his 1973 album Closing Time.

The accusations are mostly coming from Twitter users, and mostly stem from the similarities in the opening verses. Here's how Adele's new No. 1 smash opens:

"Hello, it's me / I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet / To go over everything / They say that time's supposed to heal ya, but I ain't done much healing."

And here's Tom Waits' "Martha": 

"Hello, hello there, is this Martha? This is old Tom Frost / And I am calling long distance, don't worry 'bout the cost / 'Cause it's been forty years or more, now Martha please recall / Meet me out for coffee, where we'll talk about it all."

Interestingly, "Hello" producer Greg Kurstin name-checked Waits during an interview with EW about the track. “[Adele] didn’t want to just go through and write a pop song with any particular formula,” Kurstin said. “We talked about Tom Waits, and different storytellers like that. I think that was the idea, that we wanted to do something that was very honest about where she was at right now, and she wanted to do something that was real and believable.”

This one definitely seems like a case of "directly influenced and maybe a little similar, but not a copycat." Go back to bed, Twitter sleuths! Meanwhile, Adele's "Hello" is the No. 1 song in the country, and the first one ever to sell over 1 million downloads in the U.S. in one week. Her 25 album is due out Nov. 20.