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There is a certain melody pattern appearing in - at least - three very different pop songs. I think that everyone knows about the pattern I am talking about when it comes to these three songs:

  • Gloria Gaynor: I will survive, 1978
  • Erasure: Love to hate you, 1991
  • Robbie Williams: Supreme, 2000

I always wonder:

  • Whom was this melody written by, and when?
  • In which song did it originally appear?
  • Why is the usage of this melody in so different songs not considered copyright violation?
  • Which background does it have that could explain its choice?

As far as I found out, the Wikipedia articles about Love to hate you and Supreme mention an

[...] interpolation of the string break from the Gloria Gaynor disco-era classic [...]

but this does not enlighten me any further.

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An interpolation is an insertion from one song into another. Sometimes, in modern times, this is an actual sample of the original, other times it is just the melody or other element, as recreated. It's generally done deliberately and openly, as a tribute of types, or an allusion to the original.

If the original is still under copyright, this usually involves flat payment, royalties or songwriting credits for the original artist. In this case, the piece of the song seems to be originally from "I Will Survive" and to be credited to that song's songwriters, Freddie Perren and Dino Fekaris, who are additionally credited, presumably because of this inclusion, as writers on "Supreme" (although not on "Love to Hate You").

As far as why, it's one of the most iconic disco songs, and for that reason, probably of interest to glam-rockers Erasure and Williams.

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