Separated at Birth: Futurama and Gli Angeli Del 2000

Songs that sound too similar to be coincidence.

This one is quite surprising because I never ever would have guessed the source. A couple years ago, while sifting through the Italian Cinema dump, I stumbled upon a track by composer Mario Molino that sounded just a wee bit familiar, like a demented, psychedelic version of a song I knew all too well.

It was the title track to a 1969 Italian film called Gli Angeli Del 2000 plot summary not available and it boggled my mind. Listen to it for yourself and tell me that it’s not uncanny. Go on, I’ll wait….

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All done? Good. Those of you who are acquainted with a device commonly known as a television (or “T.V.”) will most likely recognize some major elements to the theme song from Matt Groening’s Futurama program in that. Those of you who aren’t able to recall that theme, here’s a reminder. It’s an extended version by show composer Christopher Tyng himself.

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Remarkably similar, no?

At the time I first noticed the similarity, a discussion board (or other similar web page) told me that Gli Angeli Del 2000 was a direct and deliberate inspiration for the Futurama theme. I can’t locate that source now, but I’m going to take my memory at its word. That’s good, because no matter how much I like the theme which is a lot, that source is the only thing that’s stopping me from claiming rip off.

::

Update and correction 7/19/07: In the comments below, moogaloo, corrects my above assertions. The Futurama Theme song was derived from a Pierre Henry’s Psyche Rock (1967), not the above Molino track.

I had completely forgotten about Psyche Rock, and thus confused it for Gli Angeli Del 2000, which appears to be the true rip off in this case. But now that I’ve been reminded, I recall from the commentary on one of the Futurama DVDs that the producers wanted to actually use Psyche Rock as the theme, but couldn’t get the rights. So the producers decided to “pay homage” to it instead.

For some additional coincidences, check out a universal favorite: Louie Louie by The Kingsmen (1966). You can hear the similarity in the chord progressions and the back beat.

Though The Kingsmen’s version is probably to most well known thanks to its use in Animal House, the song’s origins stretch back even further. The video below compares 3 different versions of Louie Louie by three different artists with early rock n roll and rhythm and blues flavorings:

  • Richard Berry 1957
  • Rockin Robin Roberts and The Fabulous Wailers 1961
  • Little Bill and the BlueNotes

Who would have thought that the humble Futurama theme would have such a long and illustrious pedigree?

6 thoughts on “Separated at Birth: Futurama and Gli Angeli Del 2000

  1. Would you happen to know who owns the copyright to the extended Futurama theme?

    Thanks

    Reply

    tunequest Reply:

    My guess would be any combination of: Chris Tyng himself, The Curiosity Company (which produced the show) and/or 20th Century Fox.

    Reply

  2. And the Mario tune was ripped off/inspired by “Psyche Rock” by Pierre Henry!

    Reply

    tunequest Reply:

    Of course! Now that you mention it do remember that! I first found it years ago with regards to this Fatboy Slim remix of it:

    Then there’s the original version from 1967:

    Thanks for the correction, I had completely forgotten about Henry’s original.

    Reply

  3. yesterday I found the same similarity between Molino’s theme and Futurama. It’s not a simple coincidence! and now I listen to Pierre henry’s theme. OMG, i love this kind of discoveries!

    Reply

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