LATEST: The Streets star MIKE SKINNER has slammed claims he stole the melody from new hit DRY YOUR EYES from an unknown singer.

MICHAEL GAGLIANO, who goes by the stage name EPIC, says he recorded the tune for a track called YESTERDAY AND TODAY PART ONE two years ago (01), before releasing the song last year (03).

However, Skinner has hit back, insisting he discovered the catchy strings hook featured on his song from a free samples CD used by a host of artists.

His management company says, "The strings were taken from a CD which provides royalty-free samples for artists.

"This is standard practice nowadays. Mike has never heard of the other song. But it was apparently released toward the end of 2003, while Dry Your Eyes was recorded as early as March 2003 and CDs of the track have been kicking about the label ever since.

"We've no idea how the other artist thinks Mike heard his music before recording the track and we find it all a bit strange. If the other artist had contacted us before now, we could have explained that. But he didn't."

20/07/2004 13:35