Vanilla vs Bowie/Queen

Discussing copyright infringements in class earlier this week made me think more and more about the issue. I started searching online and I came over the case about Vanilla Ice versus David Bowie and Freddie Mercury, which I found pretty funny and ironic.

I’m sure many of you have heard Vanilla Ice’s song “Ice Ice Baby” from 1990, and how the intro is exactly like Bowie’s and Mercery’s “Under pressure“. Vanilla Ice’s song was sampled but not credited under Bowie’s and Queen’s creation, so, the duo decided to sue Vanilla for copying their song. Vanilla claimed that he in fact had made small changes to the intro, and therefore, it was his own work. However, he quickly realized that this statement wouldn’t last in court. Vanilla was facing a lawsuit by the duo, so he confessed later that he did, in fact, sample the work. Since this song came to be the most ┬ápopular song on Vanilla’s record “To the Extreme” he realized that he couldn’t afford to lose it. ┬áThe case was later settled privately between the two counterparts trough Vanilla paying a unknown sum of money to the duo, and he also credited the two on his track.

This case wasn’t as severe as it might have became if Vanilla didn’t confess to his mistake in time. However, I just think it is funny that he tried to claim that his intro was different from Bowie/Queens’ when it is clear where he got it from.

-Alex Carlbom


  1. First of all: I love both songs!!!!

    Anyway, yes, it’s really funny that Vanilla tried to make it look like his song (or at least his intro) was different than that from Queen’s “Under Pressure”.
    If I would’ve been Vanilla during that time, I think I would’ve done the same thing. I wouldn’t want to lose a number one hit.
    However, if something like this would happen now, I think it would be immediately brought up in social media and on the news, which will force the band or singer to either rewrite the song or scratch the song as a whole.

    Thanks for your blog!

  2. Hey Alex,

    i really enjoyed your post and I agree with you and Bregje that it was funny how Vanilla Ice tried to play his song off as something very different from “Under Pressure.” Especially since you really have to wait for the lyrics to begin to figure out which songs is actually being played!

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