Galway Girl - you mean the Steve Earle song…no I mean the Ed Sheeran song…Pardon me?
Is it good form to name a song with a title that is already a well-known song by someone else? I was surprised today to read that one of the top songs in the Irish charts (and many other charts as well) is "Galway Girl" by Ed Sheeran, an extremely successful pop singer. The song was released last week. I easily found it on youtube. I expected a new version of Steve Earle’s "Galway Girl", which I have always enjoyed immensely, and which has been performed many times at my local session over the past 10 years. Sheeran’s song is totally different. There’s no similarity whatsoever other than the title. I know US copyright allows this because I looked it up. Titles are not sacrosanct. I could write a song and name it Penny Lane or The Wild Rover if I wanted to. But should I do this? It seems sleazy to me. Maybe the new guy actually never knew about the Steve Earle song. That’s barely plausible, but someone along the way in the recording process, must have heard the Steve Earle song. It’s very famous, especially the Sharon Shannon version.
Well, this kind of annoys me. Hey fellow songwriters…does it annoy you? Or does it give you a new idea for promoting your songs? I’ve been thinking about ways to promote my own music more effectively. There’s no shortage of famous titles available. Any suggestions?