Is Britney Spears' new single a rip-off? The Bellamy Brothers tell EW why they think so

Bellamy-Brothers-Britney-SpearsImage Credit: Rick Diamond/Getty Images; Albert L. Ortega/PR Photos“It’s not every day you get in the middle of a Britney Spears brawl,” David Bellamy tells EW, laughing. True. But that’s where he finds himself today after taking issue with Britney Spears’ new single “Hold it Against Me,” which he feels rips off the title of the Bellamy Brothers’ 1979 No. 1 country hit, “If I Said You Have a Beautiful Body Would You Hold it Against Me,” which he penned. Spears’ track, produced by Max Martin and Dr. Luke, hit the Internet Monday, and Bellamy’s son called him from Nashville to tell him it was using “pretty much the same title.” He hasn’t heard from anyone in Spears’ camp (a rep for the singer declined to comment), and he’s not making a decision about whether to take legal action until he learns more about the laws involved. “I just have to see what the intent was,” he says. “I just kind of found it unoriginal, and I guess it makes us realize how old we are, because they’re recycling our titles already.” This May, the Bellamy Brothers will celebrate the 35th anniversary of their first No. 1, “Let Your Love Flow,” and have already released a two-volume anthology to commemorate it. They’ll be doing 180 shows this year.

Bellamy concedes that a lot of people use the “If I said you have a beautiful body…” line. The first time he remembers hearing it was when he was watching reruns of You Bet Your Life in the ’70s, and Groucho Marx said it to a buxom blonde one night. “Of course, this was back when you could say that to a buxom blonde, before everything was PC,” he says. “It was just really funny, and I thought, Well, that’d make a really good song title.” He also knows a lot of people use the same titles of songs now, and it’s really not that surprising. “But this particular title is kinda hard to disguise, because the title is the song. It’s not like saying, ‘I love you, baby.’ I think songwriters have become watered down. This makes me sound like an old man again, but I find that songwriters now are not as strong as they used to be in the ’60 or ’70s. I naturally gravitate to that. I like singer-songwriters, strong hooks, old rock, and old country. I’m not really a big fan of the Euro dance mixes, but I think there’s just more original stuff out there to do than just rehashing old titles.”

That leads us to our final question: If Spears were to rip off another Bellamy Brothers track, which would he recommend? “Well, we’ve got plenty of tracks if she wants suggestive titles. We’ve got ‘Do You Love As Good As You Look’ and ‘Lovers Live Longer.’ We’ve even got a song called ‘My Wife Left Me For My Girlfriend,’” he says, chuckling again. “Britney, she could get away with singing those. We can’t, because they would call us dirty old men at this point. I guess that’s why she’s doing it, ’cause she can get away with it…. Maybe she’ll come over and we’ll do a duet or something.”

Read more: Britney Spears’ ‘Hold It Against Me’ leaks early: What do you think?

Comments (160 total) Add your comment
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  • Justin

    Well he just admitted he got the line from a tv show he watched in the 70s so he basically ripped them off first haha

    • Art

      Exactly. He didn’t even come up with the line. This is a bit desperate. Oh, and yeah old man. You can’t hit on women anymore in our scary PC world! Pathetic.

      • Marijo Sommers

        At least he’s man enough to admit that he didn’t originate the title! Bet you wish you were as talented as that old man! They’ve made a lot of good music!

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    • RM

      What I was going to say

    • Fake

      Fake controversy is fake.

    • Leah

      So true!

    • anya

      That’s what I was thinking too!

    • ej

      exactly..what a dumbass

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    • Michelle

      He said he was watching a *rerun* in the ’70s. “You Bet Your Life” ran originally, I believe, in the ’50s. That is a verrrryyyy old pick-up line/joke. So, yeah, he didn’t originate it. It would be like naming a song “Take My Wife, Please.”

    • I knew them both personally

      They are only doing it for publicity. The titles come from totally different contexts and meanings. Furthermore, Howard Bellamy definitely cheated on his wife while out on tour all those years..And his poor daughter had to be subjected to it. I was 15 years old and went to one of their concerts and not unlike some others, I stood in a short line to ask for an autograph. First David Bellamy, then Howard Bellamy, asked me for my name and phone number and if I’d like to go see their touring bus. Both David and Howard Bellamy were married with children, I was underage, but with the lack of ethics of any kind it didn’t bother them at all. At the time I didn’t know they were married and I didn’t realize that they just wanted to have sex with me. I was there because of my interest in music as I had completed six years of both vocal and piano instruction and had worked many hours to win dozens of musical competitions and was interested in music, because it was the love of my life at the age of 15 years old. But the Bellamy Brothers were and still are just going to lie and cheat on their wives while they are out on the road touring because they are the lowest of the lowest. There’s a reason why they have attended more Country Music Award Ceremonies than any other musician and yet have never won any awards, not one, ever. It’s because of their hideous reputations that the Bellamys try so hard to hide. David Bellamy used cocaine for many years and Howard smoked pot, and Howard offered me some pot to smoke and I was only 15 years old. Howard asked me to meet him and bring some of my recordings, and I did and yet he never had any intention of listening or even treating me like a person. I paid my own way to where he invited me and was planning on staying in my own room, but he made it very clear that that wasn’t what he had in mind. My family and friends now refer to them as the Bellony Brothers, Howard Bellony and David Bellony, both liars and cheats. If the public knew the truth about them, the Bellamy(Bellony) Brothers would be run out of the country, or worse.

  • eliott256

    Wow, someone’s desperate for publicity

    • chris

      absolutely agree…

    • Razor

      Um, even George Harrison lost a plagiarism suit—so I wouldn’t dismiss it so casually. They could probably win, since the title is also the lyric to the song and it’s VERY similar.

      • Leah

        Its not even in the least bit similar. He needs to get over it. How desperate.

  • John

    Ridiculous old men. Not even close!

  • JohnT

    Wow, I see someone needs to get back in the limelight and what better way then to hang on to Britney Spears tail. It`s a saying, noone owns it. And as Justin said: he ripped from a show himself. Oh my, at least they got some attention again. Sure the anthology and concerts needed the promo.

  • Flip

    What the f*** is a “Bellamy Brother”???

    • simps

      I was wondering what happened to Bill Bellamy…

    • B Bop

      The Bellamy Brothers is a Country Music band, jerk. They have been around for year. I hope they they win this case.

  • RayT

    Is this a joke?! I clicked on this article already skeptical that one of the biggest artists in the world (who employs the best producers money can buy) would rip off a song, and then I find out this guy is only talking about the title! Does he realize he has no case at all? First off, to “hold something against someone” is a commonly used expression. Second of all, there are tons of songs that have the same names! How about Jill Sobule’s “I Kissed a Girl” (1995) and Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl” (2008)? Why is EW even interviewing this no-name idiot and entertaining his delusions of grandeur? Me reading this article was a waste of life and, now that I’ve commented on it, I’m an even bigger idiot for wasting more of my life!

    • John

      Well said

    • Classy

      Very well said!

    • j

      well sed u could name ldz of songs with the same title (takethat and cheryl cole the flood) britney is a ledg 1 of her best songs ever this is the year Queen of pop rises all hail queen britney

      • Marijo Sommers

        Brit Queen of Pop? Boy I’m going to die laughing! She’s queen of something, but difinately not Pop!

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    • Steven Barnes

      Pretty much my sentiments.

    • Tracy Murray

      I agree ” Would You Hold It Against Me ? ” is a common phrase used everyday and a lot of songwriters and musicians use it frequently in their song titles , this is essentially a non issue here , one that does not need to be discuss and I am suspecting it is all a publicity ploy drummed up by her people who somehow got in touch with David Bellamy and paid him to ” complain ” .

    • laura

      Well said.

    • Rich

      I can’t wait for Britney’s follow-up singles: “It’s Been A Hard Day’s Night,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” and “Hey Jude Don’t Make It Bad Take A Sad Song And Make It Better.”

      But as long as she doesn’t steal the melodies, they’re completely original. Just titles, right?

      And maybe later she could do “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” Or “I Love Rock And Roll.” Whoops……

      • Jase

        You aren’t funny or clever. Step away from the keyboard.

      • Leah

        I agree. Pretty dumb statement

      • Exactly, Rich

        Thanks for bringing reason to this discussion. All these people saying “who cares” would feel differently if they had protected copyrights and someone else ripped THEM off. And BTW, every song title is based on what someone said at sometime. So unless Groucho Marx had a copyright on the phrase, it was open for anyone to use, so he didn’t rip it off from Groucho Marx. And keep in mind, he’s been honest and upfront about where the title came from, unlike the people in this case.

      • Actually, Exactly, Rich…

        The point is not made. The Bellamy Brothers and Britney Spears titles are both based on the same expression. The titles are not the same. To Rich’s point, her title is not “If I said you had a beautiful body would you hold it against me.” It’s “hold it against me” and the words in the song don’t even match the other title, it’s based on the original, non-protected expression. There are about a dozen songs called “hold on” from anyone from Freddie Mercury, Jet, Good Charlotte, Wilson Phillips, and Envogue. They share exact tiles and yet no one is freaking out because the songs are not the same. “Strawberry Fields Forever” is an original phrase and tile that is identified exclusively with The Beatles. “…Hold it against me” was a cliche when the Bellamy Brothers used it.

    • CNJ

      THis happened las year when the Beach Boys wanted to sue Katy Perry over the one line Snoop said in her song “California Girls” simple line of “I wish they all could be California Girls”. They lost that suit, if this goes anywhere it will lose, but someone wanted to whine. Ridiculous!!!!!

    • Miguel

      Totally agree. I started to laugh as I was reading the article.There are more than 3000 songs with the same title and the phrase “Hold it against me” is in the working title of some songs. Well this didn’t stop BRITNEY from going to #1.

      • D’s Advocate

        Name 2,467 of them :)

      • Stiven

        His punishment, if any, will depned on who he has been paying all these years. For his sake, it better have been places deemed appropriate by the chief counsel at the local grievance committee.

    • Mike

      The bellamy brothers have charted 10 #1 songs in their Genre. Although this article may be ridiculous, the group isnt. They are not no names, but very successful musicians who write their own music and are protecting their own interests. They do not have a team of producers, and they dont need it. They are true artists who deserve respect. Britney has only 5 #1 singles in her genre… and she didnt write or produce a single one.

      • Marijo Sommers

        Well said!

  • Jase

    If they shared a melody maybe they’d have a point but all they have in common is a couple of words. As someone else wrote- they’re desperate for publicity.

    • Troy

      Actually, the melody in the chorus of Britney’s tune is almost the same as Survivor’s “Too Late to Turn Back Now”.

      • Troy

        Sorry, that’s “I Can’t Hold Back”; “too late to turn back now” is the last line of the chorus. The chorus melodies are strikingly similar.

      • Leah

        OMG then Survivor should TOTALLY sue the writers!!! GOD people need to get over it

  • chris

    country repeats its own topics and titles within its own genre. how many jokes are there about leaving your wife and your dog? it’s a common bar pickup line, not something they invented. sheesh-old farts.

    • Miguel

      That’s funny!

  • Drew

    They’re considering suing because they have similar titles? Wow. Avril Lavigne and Rihanna both have songs called Complicated- i guess Avril should sue. And how many songs have the word Crazy in the title?
    This is one of the stupidest articles i’ve read on EW.

    • jack

      for sure, one of the dumbest articles I’ve ever read here. I kept reading it expecting it to get to an actual point, but no…

  • Tom

    Yeah but they never used or needed Auto-Tune!!

    • Jake

      you’re a moron.

    • @Tom

      Way to go Tom you’re an a**hole…that has nothing to do with this article.

    • AcaseofGeo

      Excellent point Tom. It doesn’t really apply here but its true. Her songs are catchy gems but is it really her singing? I’m not surprised the Bellamy Brothers’ hit was referenced here, but I am a little surprised by the sour grapes. As many say, its not the melody, just the title, and not even the exact title. As for those asking who the Bellamys are, go find out, they did some great songs in the 70s and 80s.

  • Cleetus Bellamy

    Hey! Wait a gosh darn minnut! My famlee worked hard, loved hard and made good music!

    • n

      hahaha, thx, you made me laugh. : )

    • candacetx

      uh, you mean ‘musik, you illiterate.

  • Jessy

    When I heard Brit’s song, I immediately thought of the Bellamy Brother’s song. Also, I am not old, I wasnt even close to being born when it came out. What’s the matter that people are defending Brit and her crap over sung over auto tuned song that she didnt even come close to writing? The Bellamy Brothers are having a sense of humour over it, but they got ripped off. Listen to the classic and dump the Brit trash.

    • Jase

      No they did not get ripped off. The songs do not share a melody! They have 9 words in common. That is not getting ripped off. TONS of songs have the same song title!

    • Kat

      I understand the Bellamy Brothers are more talented than Britney…but they simply can’t claim that she ripped them off. It was a saying before they used it. That’s like saying I wrote a folk melody back in the 60s called “Hello There” and Lionel Richie ripped me off because he named a song almost-but-not the same thing.

    • Razor

      I thought exactly the same thing—all the Britney sycophants out there need to realize this is one of the most famous titles (and song lyrics) in all of country music.

      And yes, they could sue—and win.

      • Leah

        You are an idiot.

    • Leah

      They arent having a sense of humor over it! They are considering legal action! They are washed up and probably broke, and see $$$

    • B Bop

      Very well said!

    • Misty

      How are they washed up and broke when they are still doing 180 shows a year? Apparently they are making some money, and still have a fan base.

    • Marijo Sommers

      I agree and I’m not old either!

  • JJ

    Brit, the Bellamy’s catalog are a goldmine of double entendre songs to ripoff. “Let Your Love Flow” and “I Need More of You”

  • kaydevo

    The Bellamy Bros. are awesome and their sense of humor is outstanding, as you can tell by the interview. I doubt very seriously that they plan to sue Brittany. It’s great publicity for the Bros’ new release and I wish them well…. Some of you nasty-tempered posters here need to unfurl your sneer – your face might stay that way.

    • Matt

      Well said. I’ve never heard of these fellas (before my time) but read this out of curiosity. There’s a stunning amount of vitriol here in the comments considering – if you read the whole interview – they’re clearly not really interested in suing and maintain a good sense of humour about it all. I guess, die-hard Britney fans (do such people actually exist still? I thought they died out a decade ago!) lack a sense of irony.

      • laura

        Sense of humour or not, they do not have a case. They took the line from a TV show and thus there is no reason for them to say they are being ripped off.

      • Jessica A

        Not quite sure where u get that they are clearly not interested in suing, considering that they said in the beginning of the article that they wont take legal action until they learn about the laws involved. That to me is painfully obvious that they will sue, which would make them desperate and pathetic. “If I Said You Have a Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me” and “Hold It Against Me” is NOT pretty much the same title. They are really reaching with this. Must have been a slow day in entertainment news.

  • AK

    I think the fact that the Bellamy Brothers haven’t sued yet is very telling. We all know it’s just a common pick-up line they both happened to use in a song and this whole accusation has no merity, but they can sure get some unexpectedly good publicity in the process.

    • LOL

      I want to oil up Britney and then try to catch her like a greased pig.

      • Marijo Sommers

        Wouldn’t that be fun! But I wouldn’t insult a pig!

    • insOmuchluv

      That doesn’t make any sense. The song just came out today, and it takes more time than that to find a lawyer and file a suit.

    • Andrea

      They havent sued yet because the damn song just came out lol

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