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Kelly Osbourne Versus Visage


A controversy is brewing concerning Kelly Osbourne's recent single "One Word" that was penned by hit writer Linda Perry. For months, readers have left messages on this blog questioning the degree of authenticity of Perry's composition. Some have claimed the similarities between Osbourne's "One Word" and Visage's "Fade to Grey." Yesterday, Numanoid commented that the co-writers of Visage's "Fade to Grey" (Midge Ure, Chris Payne, Billy Currie) are  interested in Osbourne's single as well.

Billie Currie writes this week on his website: "There is a particular hurtful irony about the 'Fade to Grey' track as I am discussing with Chris Morrison's (80's Ultravox & X Midgeys Manager) secretary, and attempting to resolve with Midgey through this route, the copyright abuse of "Fade to Grey" by the writer Linda Perry who wrote 'One Word' for Kelly Osbourne."

Kelly Osbourne acknowledges the similarities between the two songs as well in the August issue of Interview. "[One Word]  was one of the last songs we recorded. The studio we'd been recording in was remodeled and turned into a film editing studio, so we had to move into this other studio. It was really gothic and black, and there were gargoyles on the wall, and then we started playing with the sound of an organ," she tells interviewer Rufus Wainwright. "It's very Visage Fade to Gray."

Listen to a clip of both songs to compare:

Listen to a verse of Visage's "Fade To Grey"  [Real]
Listen to a very of Kelly Osbourne's "One Word" [Real]

To be continued.

August 24, 2005 | Permalink


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THey have a pretty strong case, don't they? They should have been credited from the start - maybe they could have said "One Word" contains an interpolation of "Fade To Grey" or whatever the correct term is. I bet they settle with Linda Perry.

Posted by: xolondon at Aug 24, 2005 5:30:06 AM

Well i also think that Ministry's Alain Jourgeson should also sue over the song on the lp called, Entropy, It steals from two early Ministy tracks off of "With Sympathy." Ministry's lyric is "I am not an effigy" and Linda Perry's is "i am living in entropy" The song is complete ripoff of Ministry. Also, there is that Berlin rip on the cd of Metro.. but not as blantant..

Posted by: kirk at Aug 24, 2005 2:06:09 PM

which songs sounds like Metro?

Posted by: xolondon at Aug 24, 2005 5:37:57 PM

"Secret Lover" uses the same drum key sound of Metro as its rhythm in the background, i am sure this was the inspiration for this song.

When Kelly or whoever wanted to go in this 80's/synthpop direction, it looked Linda went on a synth crusade to write tracks "like" the 80's.

Posted by: kirk at Aug 24, 2005 7:36:23 PM

Well, one of these is taken care of...

Billy Currie emailed me and told me that Linda "Ripoff" Perry will be giving him, Midge Ure and Chris Payne 100% of the profits from One Word. She must have smelled the legal smackdown coming from a mile away.

My question is... if this woman is constantly thieving and getting busted for it by fans, why does she still have a career in music? Why hasn't she been publicly tarred and feathered, as she deserves for messing with my favorite musicians? :\

Posted by: Luna at Aug 27, 2005 5:31:40 AM

There is also the matter of Linda Perry vs. Sugababes. The verses for "Make Over," a track on Christina Aguilera's last album, are a complete rip of Sugababe's "Overload," which was such a huge hit in the UK that one is left to assume that stealing from it was a cry for help on Perry's part (she penned the Aguilera track). I heard a rumor that Perry would be working with Sugababes-- not sure if that's the case, but if so, perhaps that arrangement was payback in order to avoid litigation.

Posted by: Relby at Sep 1, 2005 9:27:58 PM

I was on a CD store, I heard the song one word and I thought hey... is should be a tribute for Visage.
It is a copy... too bad.

Posted by: Vegeta at Sep 3, 2005 10:00:53 AM

I was sloggin' around on MusicMatch looking for some cool 80s-sounding tunes for my collection, and happened upon Kelly's stuff. I took a listen. When I previewed "One Word", I said "Holy s**t! That's freaking 'Fade to Grey'!" The verse notes are verbatim. I hadn't even heard about the "controversy" brewing (or having already brewed). Unbelievable. I mean, it is so EASY to construct a tune like "One Word" and not stray anywhere close to anyone else's melodies. Why rip the stuff? If all the proceeds from this tune are indeed going to Currie/Ure/Payne, then I guess I'm satisfied.

Posted by: radec at Sep 6, 2005 2:40:56 PM

Arjan... brilliant site! I was also listening to the song today... Something made me think of Fade to Grey (I love the version done by Gregorian Masters of Chant by the way.), cranked up Fade to Grey on one winamp and One Word on another and voila! the lyrics seemed to fade as the two songs became one! Even the beat is virtualy the same timing, I could get them to synch for most of the time. I wonder if the french lyrics differ or are the same?
Then I decided to google for info on the song while I wrote my blog and found yours!
Personally I do think this is Kelly's best so far... pity its is a sort of "cover version".
Plaigiarism aside I actually like the song. :-)

Posted by: RobC at Sep 17, 2005 10:47:53 AM

Just came across this site. Loved Visage when I was in Germany in 1982 and am glad that people are getting a chance to hear their music, but Kelly Osborne wouldn't be my choice. I also perked up my ears when I heard the first release from Madonna's new album. I don't like the song at all.... except for the wonderful sample that they decided to use. And yes Visage was a great dance/clubbing band and Madonna's video tries to reflect something about dancing and clubbing, but I have to say it doesn't do it for me.

Posted by: milos mom at Nov 3, 2005 8:24:57 PM

"One Word" is an excellent catchy song; however, it breaks my heart that it is a direct rip off of Visage. I'm relieved that so many Visage fans caught on and have posted their thoughts.

Posted by: manases at Nov 24, 2005 1:51:56 AM

I've loved Kelly Osbournes song ever since it came out. I just listened to this song on you page and they DO sound really firmilliar...but, what French is in the other song the Kelly might have copied? I didn't hear any. =\

Posted by: ALII BABBA at Oct 25, 2006 5:27:19 PM

Stuff like this happens all the time. And yes Visage's Fade To Grey is a tremendous song undeniably, but I think Kelly just made it better. It's sad that people really dont care that One Word is a good song, and just won't admit it because of who sings it. I think people just wanted her to just do a cover of the song, instead of renaming it to One Word. It's complete bullshit that is being blown out of porportion.

Posted by: Seb Savage at Jul 19, 2008 5:09:23 PM

I don't think anyone is ripping on Kelly. I think it is more on Linda Perry and her obvious rip off of Visage. I think also the producers should be held accountable for the dubbing of the French they add to Kelly's song which makes it seem even more of a plagiarism. The first of line of each song starts off with the lyrics "One word...". I like both songs and I like Kelly's rendition, so to speak. I think what was brought to "One Word" was a little more of a hook than "Fade to Grey".

Posted by: Trey Blu at Feb 19, 2009 7:24:27 AM

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