Is Beyoncé's 'Texas Hold 'Em' copying the 'Franklin' theme song?

A slew of TikTok videos are drawing comparisons between the two unlikely country-esque bops, and even the theme song's composer is weighing in.
Beyoncé is pictured next to an image from "Franklin."
Posted at 6:31 PM, Mar 01, 2024

Is it collective nostalgia or a copyright claim? 

It's a question that's been roaming across social media in dozens of TikTok videos comparing two unlikely songs: Beyoncé's chart-topping country hit, "Texas Hold 'Em," and the theme song for the animated children's series, "Franklin."

And just like every other social media-originated trend, the idea is garnering both support and backlash. 

On one side of the debate, you have a TikTok user saying, "Millennials trying to figure out why this sounds so familiar," as the No. 1 single plays ahead of the cartoon's intro. It's a similar message in dozens of other observant listeners' videos, with one post even garnering 2.1 million views and 46,000 likes.

@jarredjermaine People are saying Beyoncé “Texas Hold ‘Em” sounds like this song 🤔 #beyonce #music #texasholdem ♬ TEXAS HOLD 'EM - Beyoncé

But despite the slew of videos agreeing with the sentiment, most of their comments express a different thought. Many wrote that the video creators were "reaching" or called the comparison a "stretch." Others felt it was a diss on the Queen Bey herself, saying "people just love to hate." Some also pointed to "Texas Hold 'Em" being mostly written and produced by Canadians, so perhaps the single was an inspired, not copied, take from musicians who grew up watching the series.

At first listen, "Texas Hold 'Em" and the "Franklin" theme song do seem to share some characteristics in the instruments used and their chord progression, despite the tempo in Beyoncé's song being aptly faster than the turtle's theme. But as some more musically-inclined listeners pointed out, many country-esque songs can give off this familiar vibe, so the similarities are just that, not the Grammy Award winner taking a full sample of the kids' song.

This is the take the actual composer of the "Franklin" theme has gone with, telling PEOPLE "Texas Hold 'Em" is fully Beyoncé's song no matter what fans are hearing.

"I think Beyoncé's 'Texas Hold 'Em' is a good record. Unfortunately, I can't claim to have had any part in writing it," Bruce Cockburn told the publication. "The rhythmic feel is similar to my theme song for the 'Franklin' TV series, but to my ears, that's where the similarity stops."

Beyoncé releases 2 new songs after clues in Super Bowl commercial

Beyoncé releases 2 new songs after clues in Super Bowl commercial

After a string of social media teasers and clues in Verizon ads, Beyoncé dropped two new songs and announced a new album during the big game.


"Franklin" and its opening theme ran on TV from 1997 to 2004, showing the life of the young turtle and his village of friends. 

Meanwhile, "Texas Hold 'Em" is about dancing, dive bars and drinking. 

Beyoncé dropped the surprise genre-switched single after appearing in a Super Bowl commercial earlier this month. Since then, it's shot to the top of the charts and stayed there, making Beyoncé the first Black woman to secure the No.1 spot on Billboard's country charts.

The song along with "16 Carriages," another single she dropped with her Verizon commercial, are part of Beyoncé's upcoming album, "Act II," out March 29. This will be the country sister to the icon's "Renaissance," the house/disco-themed first album in her three-act project.