Avril Lavigne faces a lawsuit by the members of a 1970s rock band who claim her hit song “Girlfriend” rips off one of their tunes.
Songwriters Tommy Dunbar and James Gangwer alleged in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court that Lavigne and her co-writers lifted their 1979 song “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend,” which was originally performed by new wave band The Rubinoos.
“We are not so naive as to chalk it up to some sort of cosmic coincidence,” Dunbar said Thursday. “The lyric, the meter, the rhythm — they’re identical.”
The first court date has been set for Aug. 28 in Oakland.
A spokeswoman for Lavigne declined to comment.
Videos comparing Lavigne’s song with the Rubinoos’ tune were among the most popular on YouTube Friday. Nearly half a million people had watched various clips highlighting the similarities between the songs.
The lawsuit is not the first mention of the similarities between the songs. Music critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine, in a review published on Billboard magazine’s Web site, noted that the chorus of “Girlfriend” was a “total lift from the Rubinoos’ ‘I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend.”’
The Rubinoos toured and recorded from 1975 to 1983 and had a hit with a cover version of Tommy James and the Shondells’ “I Think We’re Alone Now.” They also wrote the theme song for the movie “Revenge of the Nerds.”