Following allegations last year that Avril Lavigne plagiarised the Rubinoos an item on the BBC website notes a striking similarity between the Banana Splits' theme song and Bob Marley's Buffalo Soldier.
Listen to Buffalo Soldier - key lyric "Woy yo yo" - and The Tra La La Song, and there are distinct similarities. But while the Banana Splits came onto the scene in 1968 as hosts of The Banana Splits Adventure Hour, Bob Marley & the Wailers' Buffalo Soldier did not appear until the posthumous release of Confrontation in 1983.
According to the Bob Marley Foundation in Jamaica, the reggae legend would probably never have heard of the Banana Splits, let alone be inspired by them. Spokesman Paul Kelly says he is unfamiliar with the TV show, and nor has he dealt with other inquiries about the Banana Splits.
...." it's reggae - it's got the 'one drop beat' of the bass guitar and drums. The Wo yo yo is just Bob Marley being creative; it is Jamaican slang, an exclamation, a joyful noise the Jamaicans make when they laugh at a joke." he said. The song has a serious message: "In America, the red Indians used to say the black people resembled buffalos because of their dreadlocks - so 'Buffalo Soldier, dreadlock rasta' - and the song is about them being 'stolen from Africa, brought to America, fighting on arrival, fighting for survival' about 400 years ago."
But a musicologist, who asked not to be named for professional reasons, says the songs are "strikingly similar. The main differences are in bars two and six, where the timing and inflection in Buffalo Soldier is more jumpy and Marley sings with a groove, whereas the Banana Splits theme song is "straight". And in bars three and seven, a note is gained in Buffalo Soldier or omitted in The Tra La La Song. "The other difference is in bar four - where the final note goes down to a C in Buffalo Soldier but up to an E in Banana Splits. In bar eight they both go down."
Well there you have it. Will the Bob Marley foundation be required to pay royalties to the creators of a kid’s show? Somehow I doubt it but I wish I could get that damned banana splits song out of my head... Oh oh Chongo!