Similar Song Intros

Recently, I was listening to the Kingsmen song “Called Out.” The introduction’s strong resemblance to the opening bars of the Cathedrals’ “Somebody Touched Me” was quite striking. That got me thinking about other similar intro combinations our genre has seen:

  • “Somebody Touched Me” (The Cathedrals, The Prestigious Cathedral Quartet, 1984) and “Called Out” (The Kingsmen, Better in Person, 1985)
  • “If God Didn’t Care” (The Statesmen, The Bible Told Me So, 1958) and “I Found the Answer” (The Statesmen, Message In The Sky, 1963)
  • “Valley Of The Shadow” (Old Time Gospel Hour Quartet, The Lamb is King, 2000) and “Heroes of The Faith” (Legacy Five, Heroes Of The Faith, 2001) (It seems I’ve discussed this one before.)
  • “When Morning Sweeps the Eastern Sky” (Happy Goodmans, Good ‘n’ Happy, 1966) and “When It All Starts Happening” (Happy Goodmans, Bigger ‘n’ Better, 1967) (This is probably the most famous example in our genre.)

What other examples have you all noticed?

(In case anyone is curious: We had a great discussion about our genre’s most unique song intros six years ago, here.)

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  1. We think Mark Trammell Quartet’s intros on “How Long Has it Been” and “It’s Almost Over” are similar. We just went and compared them, and “How Long Has it Been” is more majestic, which seems more fitting for “It’s Almost Over”. Anyway, we find those two intros similar!

  2. Oh man, this will be good. I have a busy day today so I’ll refrain until later with specific examples. But this is such a noteworthy post, because I will often hear a song that sounds like another song that was still relatively new. It’s the same as in your examples. They are only a year or two apart. I know a writer who heard a song by a group, and wondered as to why he had not yet received royalties for the song. The song was that similar.

  3. Ben Speer told a funny story on the “Homecoming Bloopers” regarding a hand-picked quartet featuring Jake Hess who were to sing “I’m Winging My Way Back Home.” When Anthony Burger played his intro, it sounded so close to “On The Jericho Road” that Jake started singing “As you travel along….” Bill stopped the song, Anthony started again, and again, Jake sang “As you travel along….” Bill stopped once again, Jake looked at (I believe) Ben and Rex Nelon, as he couldn’t remember the opening line for “Winging My Way.” Ben and Rex both looked at him and said, “As you travel along….”

    A lot of the older songs used very similar chord structures and melody patterns, so it’s easy for them to get confused.

    • I don’t think I’d ever heard that story before!

      Yes, a lot of older songs used similar chord structures and melody patterns, so much so that we could fill the list completely with those alone. For that reason, I focused my examples primarily on newer songs, precisely because nearly-identical intros are a little less common since, say, 1975.

  4. Greater Vision’s 1992 intro to There Is A River is the same as Natalie Cole’s 1991 intro to Mona Lisa (wait through the first 7 seconds).

    • wow! spot on

    • Good call. Tell me this Chicago song doesn’t resemble the intro to “Champion of Love”.

      • I definitely hear the resemblance! Thankfully, it’s not quite the same opening lick, but I certainly hear what you’re hearing.

      • I couldn’t find a YouTube of it but The Greenes’ Arise My Love intro from their 10th Anniversary Live recording sounded a lot like Chicago’s You’re The Inspiration intro. I guess The Greenes we’re saying that of Chicago at that point.

  5. The intro to Ernie Haase & Signature Sound’s remake of “Boundless Love” sure sounds very familiar to a popular secular tune….

    It sure made heads turn when played at a church skating activity! 😛

    • that wouldn’t be We Will Rock You would it? what was a God fearing Gospel group doing using a Godless secular song intro?

      • (For the spectators: I believe the above was intended as tongue-in-cheek humor. Sometimes I delete comments of this nature, if it’s not clear that they are meant to be taken in that way, but I think this one is clear enough. 🙂 )

  6. Anything by the Inspirations. Trust me…I had to fill in for them one weekend. I was prepared, yet found myself looking at the lead and baritone asking “What song is this?” in the middle of every intro… I had learned the material listening to their CD’s. Since they don’t use tracks and Martin plays all the intros on piano I was having a time of it!

    • I remember hearing about that weekend! (Yes, I heard good things!)

      When I was drafting this post, I was actually guessing whether someone would come on and say “Anything by the Inspirations.” 🙂

      • I was just scanning the comments to see if anyone had mentioned the obvious group that starts every song the same way, but I wasn’t thinking about the Inspirations.

        The intro for every Chuck Wagon Gang song is literally the same (with some variations due to different keys, of course, but not much).

      • Should’ve thought of that one! 🙂

  7. I think I may be crazy, but the intros to “His Name Was John” by the Perrys and “Don’t Let the Sandals Fool Ya” by Triumphant sound very similar to me.

  8. The Hoppers’ Stepping On The Clouds, The Nelons’ I’m On My Way (from The Light Of Home) and a Greater Vision song–it may be Looking For The Grace have similar intros. All Lari Goss arrangements.

    • You could add Greater Vision’s “Never Been” to that list as well.

  9. At praise fest last year, Gerald was at the piano. We sang “burning bush” and Mark wanted to turn it around. I didn’t know it was a turn around. Well the piano lick was identical to “old convention song”. Well 2 of us sang convention, while the other 2 sang echoes. Gerald covered it beautifully, but I was still a little bit embarrassed.

  10. The Hoppers “That’s What I Love About Him” & “God Already Knew”. The Nelons “We Shall Overcome” and “I Will Give You Water”

  11. Jeff & Sheri’s “The Giver” from “Brand New Love” and

    The Judds’ “Grandpa”

  12. Another one on the Inspirations. One night I watched Martin launch into an intro and the group’s response was, “Run that by us again Martin?” So Martin played the same intro again. The group remained clueless, so they simply altered the tempo (and not just a little either) and went into “I’ll Have A New Life”. I guess it goes to show when you don’t know where to go next, just make something up!

    • For all the pluses and minuses of a live piano player, that strategy only works with a live pianist! 🙂

  13. The Perrys’ “Through the Night” intro also sounds like a popular 90’s song by a secular Canadian artist…

  14. “Any Other Man” by EHSS sounds like a secular song called “The Chain,” but like Josh’s suggestion that probably don’t count!!

  15. “Jesus Will” – Wilburn & Wilburn and “God’s Promised Land” – Wilburns (the modulations are similar)

    “I Believe I’ll Go Back Home” – McKameys and “Somebody like Me” – Jason Crabb (so similar, but VERY different songs)

    “I Need You More Today” – Easters and “I Won’t Have to Worry” – Easters

    “He Is Alive” – Browders and “Land of No Goodbyes” – Browders (similar intro time, pacing)

    “Lazarus, Come Forth” – Bishops and “Thank God” – Tony Gore & Majesty

    • Wow! I can tell you’ve been paying attention to this longer and in greater detail than I have!

  16. The Old Paths have two songs on their most recent projects that I am convinced are not only the same intros, but the same melody throughout. “We Are Those Children” and “I Know My God Can Do It”. Also reminds me a lot of the old Cats’ song “My God Will Send A Moses”.

    • Yep, Jeff Gibson! I hear the same tendencies in Rodney Griffin–there are several My Name Is Lazaruses.

      • I agree with you, Tad!

    • So I wasn’t the only person that thought We Are Those Children and I Know My God Can Do It sounded alike (liked both songs though).

  17. I don’t things have gotten too far out of hand yet, but I’ll just jump in here with a little reminder: The intent of this post was to have a little fun, and to focus on intros specifically. Yes, there are songs that sound alike, but the writers would often take it as a criticism if we were to say that, and it might fall outside of the guidelines for positive/constructive comments. Song intros, on the other hand, are often an arranger’s choice, and not necessarily integral to the song itself. I think we’ll be able to keep things on more of a light, fun, not-too-terribly-serious note if we can focus on the intros.

  18. “Hallelujah, I’m Going Home” and “Leave Your Sorrows and Come Along”.

  19. The intro is important because its kind of the hook to get you interested. I can see why an arranger would use a similar intro. I dont have a problem with it as long as the melody is different.

  20. Also, almost anything by the Primitive Quartet.

  21. How about everything that the Chuck Wagon Gang did. The same guitar strum everytime. But that’s just too easy.

    I’m thinking the Kingsmen’s “Anchor’s Aweigh” and Legacy 5’s “I’ve Got that Old Time Religion in My Heart” (London).

    Another one is Legacy 5’s “Heroes of the Faith”, and Old Time Gospel Hour QT’s “In the Valley of the Shadow.” They both had that irish flute made popular on the movie, Titanic.

    • Nice thought on the Kingsmen/L5 song. Nobody thought of that one yet!

      • Oh, now I feel dumb. Don’t know how I missed your #3!!!

      • No problem. 🙂