The opening riff in these three songs are too similar to be coincidence: (the Marley song is more of a theme than a riff)

  • No Woman, No Cry - Bob Marley (1975)
  • The Last In Line - Dio (June 1984)
  • Fight Fire With Fire - Metallica (July 1984)

There is a definite classical element to the guitar, so I suspect the inspiration to be a passage from some classical piece.

Can anyone say with surety from where this may have been 'appropriated'?

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    I don't think this is answerable, given that these riffs aren't actually very similar at all. All they really share is a few opening notes which are essentially just a fragment of a rising scale. and some rhythmic similarities. The Dio and Metallica do have almost identical sounding instruments, but that can be explained by the songs coming out at almost the same time. The chord progression between the three songs isn't even the same. – Chris Sunami supports Monica Aug 17 '15 at 19:54
  • It doesn't make sense. I grant the Marley song may be entirely different. However, how alike the other two songs' intros are is uncanny. And they were released with two months of each other. There is no way that one could influence the other. – Jason P Sallinger Aug 18 '15 at 9:16
  • You're really only talking about three notes here --which are in order in a scale --before the riffs diverge (and the Metallica has an extra leading tone before those three notes start). The three duplicate notes have the same rhythm and instrumentation, and they're in the same key, but that's really not enough to take us out of the realm of coincidence --particularly when you consider that music of a given era tends to have similarities just because of the time period, and that scales are one of the basic foundations of all music. – Chris Sunami supports Monica Aug 18 '15 at 14:12
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    @JasonPSallinger - I don't see anything wrong with Chris' post, in fact if it were an answer I'd upvote it. Let's just remember to keep it civil, please. – Johnny Bones Aug 18 '15 at 18:29
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    Sorry. I am thin-skinned, true. You're right. Nothing wrong with a different perspective on analysis. – Jason P Sallinger Aug 18 '15 at 19:10

What is similar about the three riffs is the timbre and tempo, a sharper guitar sound matched to a more resonating tone. All three artists were no doubt familiar with Procul Harum's "Whiter Shade of Pale", which does indeed take something from Bach. I doubt any of them were directly trying to quote "Whiter Shade", but that song did introduce a certain stately mood to rock music.


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