Olivia Rodrigo’s Vampire, her long-awaited new single, dropped on Friday, and is already doing swift business on streaming services. A piano-led takedown of an ex, it builds steadily across its 3:40 running time before reaching a full-throttle conclusion.
Perhaps inevitably, though, some have been quick to suggest that Vampire reminds them of another song: Radiohead’s Creep.
The reason for this is quite simple, and relates to the I-III-IV-iv chord progression that’s used in both songs’ verses (and in the chorus of Creep as well). Vampire is in F major and Creep is in G major.
Coincidentally, Rodrigo actually covered Creep a few years ago:
The I-III-IV-iv progression, of course, has an interesting history. Radiohead ultimately gave songwriting credits on Creep to Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood, co-writers of The Hollies' The Air That I Breathe, due to those two songs’ similarities.
It doesn’t end there, either: back in 2018, Lana Del Rey revealed that Radiohead themselves believed that she had infringed their copyright on Get Free - another I-III-IV-iv composition - which was taken from her 2017 album Lust For Life.
In a now-deleted Tweet, she said: “It’s true about the lawsuit. Although I know my song wasn’t inspired by Creep, Radiohead feel it was and want 100% of the publishing - I offered up to 40 over the last few months but they will only accept 100. Their lawyers have been relentless, so we will deal with it in court.”
Warner/Chappell, Radiohead’s music publisher, responded by saying: “As Radiohead’s music publisher, it’s true that we’ve been in discussions since August of last year with Lana Del Rey’s representatives. It’s clear that the verses of Get Free use musical elements found in the verses of Creep and we’ve requested that this be acknowledged in favour of all writers of Creep. To set the record straight, no lawsuit has been issued and Radiohead have not said they “will only accept 100%” of the publishing of Get Free.”
This matter was soon resolved, though details of exactly how remain unknown (Radiohead aren’t credited as songwriters on Get Free).
Although Rodrigo’s Vampire uses the I-III-IV-iv chord progression in its verses, it moves away from this in its pre-chorus, chorus and middle eight sections. Rodrigo and her producer Dan Nigro are the credited songwriters.
If that's not enough I-III-IV-iv action for you, check out piano YouTuber David Bennett's recent video, which discusses some other songs that use the progression, too.