Did Johnny Depp and Jeff Beck steal lyrics from a man in jail?

Los Angeles, California - Rock duo Johnny Depp and Jeff Beck have been accused of stealing lyrics from a poem from the 1970s written by an incarcerated man.

Rock musicians Johnny Depp and Jeff Beck have been accused of stealing lyrics from an old poem written by an incarcerated man in the 70s.
Rock musicians Johnny Depp and Jeff Beck have been accused of stealing lyrics from an old poem written by an incarcerated man in the 70s.  © Collage: KEVIN WINTER/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/Getty Images via AFP & PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP

In the 1974 book Get Your A** in the Water and Swim Like Me, author Bruce Jackson featured a poem performed by Missouri State Penitentiary prisoner Slim Wilson.

According to Rolling Stone, Jackson has now claimed that Depp and Beck's new song Sad Motherf**kin' Parade lifts lyrics from the poem.

The poem, titled Hobo Ben, includes the lines, "Ladies of culture and beauty so refined, is there one among you that would grant me wine? / I’m raggedy I know, but I have no stink / and God bless the lady that’ll buy me a drink / Heavy-hipped Hattie turned to Nadine with a laugh / and said, 'What that funky motherf**ker really need, child, is a bath."

Depp and Beck's song, featured on their recent album 18, includes eerily similar lyrics: "I’m raggedy, I know, but I have no stink / God bless a lady that’ll buy me a drink" and "What that funky motherf**ker really needs, child, is a bath."

Credits for the song were given to Depp and Beck, without mention of Wilson or Jackson.

Johnny Depp and Jeff Beck did not credit other writers on the song

"The only two lines I could find in the whole piece that [they] contributed are 'Big time motherf**ker' and 'Bust it down to my level,'" Jackson explained to the outlet of Beck and Depp's song.

"Everything else is from Slim’s performance in my book. I’ve never encountered anything like this. I’ve been publishing stuff for 50 years, and this is the first time anybody has just ripped something off and put his own name on it," he added.

Johnny Depp and Jeff Beck's latest album 18 is currently streaming everywhere.

Cover photo: Collage: KEVIN WINTER/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/Getty Images via AFP & PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP

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