Did Kenny Chesney Steal My Song Title?

 Kenny Chesney laughing at a sad kitten

Kenny Chesney laughing at a sad kitten

I noticed on Soundcloud recently, that one of my songs started to get a lot of listens, currently sitting at 1,104. It’s titled ‘Bar at the end of the World’, and was posted about three years ago. The reason it seems to be quite popular at the moment, is that Kevin Chesney released a song recently called ‘Bar at the end of the World’, which has probably resulted in click throughs to my version.

The lyrical content and the music are different, but to be honest, the title bothers me.

Sure, there are lots of song titles that have been used over and over. ‘Beautiful Day’ is one that springs to mind. However, even though I was influenced by ‘The Restaurant at the end of the Universe’ by Douglas Adams, I still thought it was kind of an original title. But obviously not.

I’ve written a load of songs over the years, but have never officially copyrighted any. With titles, my guess is that unless it’s EXTREMELY unique, it’s probably pretty difficult to copyright. Do I think that my song title made its way to Kenny Chesney’s songwriting team? Maybe! One of the reasons I think this, is that it is the most popular song I have written. When I say popular, it means that my parents like it, and it’s had the most plays out of all my public songs on Soundcloud. This at at least gives it a bit more exposure in a search.

It’s also one of the few songs I have ever tagged as ‘Country’ on Soundcloud. When writing the song, I conceived it as a duet. When thinking of the female part, I imagined someone like Miranda Lambert singing it, so I could try and channel a female voice. I also deliberately used some country imagery, mainly horses, due to the fact that my wife and I have been horse riding for years, and I was making a conscious effort to write with more of a country style. I also had the crazy thought of sending it to Nashville once I recorded a studio version of it.

A side note, is that there is no use of ‘The’ in Kenny Chesney’s title. I deliberately didn’t use ‘The’, and thought for a while about it. It’s a small but important detail, as I wasn’t writing about a physical place, but a situation that everyone can end up in at some point.

A final point, is that I think ‘Bar at the end of the World’ is a good and reasonably unique title, which would be unusual for a non Douglas Adams fan to think up. From my perspective anyway! That’s all I have.

What may have happened, is that Kenny’s Chesney’s songwriters were looking for inspiration online by searching for country songs about bars. He has been know to sing about bars and drinks. This isn’t so inconceivable, and probably happens quite a lot when writers are working with a deadline. If this did happen, I think it’s a little lazy.

I’m more of a fan of how John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival) writes songs, by just staring at a blank wall. I also love this quote:

‘Born on the Bayou’—I wrote that title down in my little notebook, and I would sit and meditate, looking at the beige wall in my unadorned apartment. Mostly in the wee hours of the morning or night, not being bothered by the family or anybody else, just kind of being given the time to follow my mind. It’s a form of meditation, I think. It’s certainly some kind of literal place that I was able to go'

My version is based on a bar at the end of the international terminal in San Francisco airport, where I have taken several flights to the UK. I’ve had many a beer and pizza there. I nicknamed it the ‘Bar at the end of the World’ due to it being at the end of the terminal. There was one time when my wife was on a different flight to the same destination, and we said goodbye at the bar. I think that this may have been the point where I came up with the idea of the song, based on a dysfunctional relationship and written in the style of a conversation. I imagined a couple talking at the bar, then one of them leaving for a flight after breaking up. Important note - the relationship idea was imaginary and not based on mine!

Do I even like Kenny Chesney’s song? It’s ok, and reasonably catchy. I also woke up to it on the radio this morning, and I’ll admit to it being stuck in my head. It’s in A major, and follows an A, D, G repetitive progression through most of it. At least it’s not in the same key as mine. There’s a Kenny Chesney song called ‘Pirate Flag’ which I think is much better. He definitely has a thing for nautical elements in his songs, which you’ll find in ‘Bar’.

Do I think it’s better than my song? Of course not! I think I have a better story, and I like the interplay between the male and the female voice. I spent a lot of time writing it, and it went through multiple drafts. The final version is something I’m very proud of. I’ll have a studio version in the near future with an actual female singing the female part.

Here’s the original soundcloud version from nearly four years ago:

 
 

Here’s a video of the first time it was recorded as a duet with my friend Jenn:

 
 

Here’s the lyrics, also saying who sings what:

Bar at the end of the World

Guy
In the bar at the end of the world she's calling to me
I got some bad news for you and me
I don't know how you'll take it but we'll see

Girl
I'd have your kids but I need to carry on
There's two lives here and I'm tired of living one
We used to say our lives should just be fun

Girl
Where did he go? I'd like to see him again
I can't remember when you lost your way
But maybe for one last night you can stay

Break

Guy
Well I'll spend the night and feel ok for a while
But how I'll feel when tomorrow comes we'll see
It's the bar at the end of the world for me

Girl
Were we happy, or really just fooling ourselves?
I really love a man who can make me laugh
But most of the time
You're making me feel sad

Girl
You need to pick up you clothes and
get the fuck right out of my house
There's a horse saddled up outside, she's ready to go
You can leave her at the bar 10 miles up the road

Guy/Girl
I should have known it would end like this
I really should have known it would end like this

Guy
The neighbours thought it was me that was beating you
You gave me a bloody nose and left me bruised
I'd hold a grudge with anyone else, but not with you

Guy
I finish my drink and pick my hat up from the bar
I turn around and she's standing at the door
She says, going so soon, would you like to have one more

Guy/Girl

In the bar at the end of the world she's calling to me
In the bar at the end of the world she's calling to me