Good pop songwriters are often good thieves, taking inspiration from work that has come before them. But there's always the PESKY LAWSUIT problem. Let us look at the trajectory of one of my all-time favorite songs, and what happened to our friends, The Good Thieves.

1. The Staple Singers: This May Be The Last Time (1955)

Based on a "traditional" song, which means you don't have to pay anyone for using it. The Staple Singers are wonderful though, and it's hard to sue anyone when they are singing about god and stuff. Not to mention that "Traditional" doesn't have the money to retain a lawyer.

2. James Brown: Maybe The Last Time (1964)

James Brown could make a song out of anything, and this is likely based loosely off the same gospel song the Staples were interpreting. Please note the words "heart of stone" in the lyrics.

3. The Rolling Stones: The Last Time (1965)
Around ten years later from the Staple Singers song, two British musicians are locked in a room together with instruments and other people's records and told by their manager to write songs THIS VERY MINUTE AND DON'T COME OUT UNTIL YOU GOT SOMETHING GOOD. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards did so, and here we have their first "self-penned" smash hit, "The Last Time." Note to #2: They also wrote "Heart Of Stone" in late 1964. Oh you kids, and your R&B 45s!

4. The Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra: The Last Time (1965)

Common to the day, Producers Who Lock Musicians In Rooms And Order Them To Do Stuff also often released the Symphonic Album Capitalizing Further On Pop Hits. I mean, for chrissakes, even the Kinks had one. Anyway, "The Last Time" was given quite a different arrangement here.

5. The Verve: Bittersweet Symphony (1997)

Moving way way ahead with our little tune, British band The Verve likely figures that everyone in the world has forgotten about the obscure orchestral version of "The Last Time" and decide it would make for a great NEW song. They ask for and receive a license to sample the ALOO version -- 5 notes of it -- but ended up pretty much plopping new words on top of the whole thing. Lesson: Do not mess with Stones' catalog owner and Evil (Now Dead) Lawyer, Allen Klein. The Verve now pays "Jagger/Richards" for life.

When I first heard "Bittersweet Symphony" I nearly POPPED. I ran around frothing and going HEY HEY HEY HEY WHUT WHUT OMG OMG HOLY CRAP, because I had the ALOO LP in my collection forever. I am that kind of dork, yes. LISTEN TO THIS! I said as I pulled the record out again to compare. I love the song, of course. Please note, I am posting the video of this song with Spanish subtitles.

6. Instituto Mexicano Del Sonido: Sinfonia Agridulce (2009)

And now we are up to the present day, quite a distance from "Traditional," British Beat, and Britpop and lawsuits. The Mexican Institute Of Sound asked for, and received, a full license for their mariachi version of the song. QUE BUENO, is what I think all the versions are.

Some people get paid, some don't. This will definitely not be the last time, I bet.