The melody of The Beach Boys classic Surfin’ USA is almost identical to the melody of Chuck’s 1958 classic Sweet Little Sixteen. They sounded so alike in fact that The Beach Boys had to give Berry co-writing credit in order to avoid a lawsuit. When the single was released in 1963, the record listed Brian Wilson as the sole composer although the song was published by Arc Music, Chuck Berry's publisher. Later releases, beginning with Best of The Beach Boys in 1966, listed Chuck Berry as the songwriter. Later releases list both writers although the copyright has always been owned, since 1963, by Arc Music. Under pressure from Berry's publisher, Wilson's father and manager, Murry Wilson, had given the copyright, including Brian Wilson's lyrics, to Arc Music. Hear for yourself, how the two songs are almost exactly the same. A cheeky move on Wilson's part.
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