Did Adele Rip Off This Kurdish Singer? (Probably Not)

2015! Menschen, Bilder, Emotionen - RTL Jahresrueckblick
Is Adele a-thief? Photo: Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images

Did Adele rip off a 30-year-old song by Kurdish singer Ahmet Kaya for one of the tracks on 25? (No.) That’s what some fans in Turkey are saying online, accusing Adele’s “A Million Years Ago” of borrowing too liberally from Kaya’s 1985 song “Acilara Tutunmak (Clinging to Pain).” (It doesn’t.) The furor is reminiscent of the hubbub over Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me,” in which Smith handed a songwriting credit to Tom Petty after realizing he’d subconsciously borrowed the melody from Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.” (But it’s also different in that Smith had clearly heard Petty’s song before.) Kaya was a Turkish Kurd who died in exile in Paris in 2000; his widow told a Turkish newspaper she didn’t think Adele stole the song, but that “if she consciously did it, then it would be theft.” (She didn’t, so it wasn’t.)

Did Adele Rip Off This Kurdish Singer? (No)