If I was ever to attempt the impossible task of narrowing down my top five favorite songs that clock in under two minutes and thirty seconds, Elastica’s “Connection” would undoubtedly be a front-runner.
Fronted by Justine Frischmann, Elastica was formed by Justine and fellow ex-Suede member and Justin Welch in 1992. Originally calling themselves “Onk,” the band changed their name to Elastica in October of 1992. Elastica released their debut single “Stutter” the following year, but it wasn’t until 1994 with the release of “Connection” that most of us in America were properly introduced to the band.
“Connection,” which shamelessly stole the guitar riff off of Wire’s 1977 song “Three Girl Rhumba,” began to find an audience and climb the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks Chart in late 1994. While the track wasn’t a massive hit in America, peaking at number fifty-three on the Hot 100, the song received a much warmer welcome in the United Kingdom; peaking at number seventeen. It was even nominated for the Mercury Music Prize.
“Connection” was met with criticism for “borrowing” from more than just one song from Wire. In the February 1995 issue of CMJ New Music Monthly, the magazine said: “…the main riff of “Connection” is blatantly stolen from Wire’s “Three Girl Rhumba,” and lots of other elements owe, well, everything to Wire too: the handclaps at the end (lifted from “I Am The Fly”), Frischmann’s word- stretching sneer (the slight rewrite of “A Question Of Degree”), and probably some others.”
Just before the release of their self-titled album in 1995, Elastica was sued by Wire for using the riff without permission. English rock band The Stranglers also sued Elastica for stealing the riff from their song “No More Heroes” for the Elastica single “Waking Up.” Elastica settled the plagiarism case out of court for an undisclosed amount.
All the negative press didn’t seem to have much of an impact on the band’s success in the United Kingdom, though. Their self-titled debut album reached the top of the UK charts, becoming the fastest-selling debut since Oasis’ Definitely Maybe the previous year. The album had some success in America, peaking at number No. 66 on the Billboard Hot 200 before eventually being certified Gold.