Chris Martin and co. seem to have mastered the art of the generic pop-rock song when they wrote the title track for their last album Viva La Vida. Why else would the British alt-rockers keep finding themselves under scrutiny from other musicians accusing Coldplay of ripping them off? First it was Joe Satriani, claiming the foursome stole the melody for “Viva la Vida” from his song “If I Could Fly”, but now Cat Stevens has joined in on the drama, claiming the band actually ripped off the melody from his song, “Foreigner Suite”.
Unlike Satriani, Stevens has not said he will take legal action against the group, but the musician told The Sun that he is the real inspiration behind Coldplay’s music. Though this claim might seem a bit more plausible than the Satriani case, (can’t you envision Chris Martin rocking out to Cat Stevens over Joe Satriani any day?) we have to say, it is probably one more instance in pop song writing, where a generic melody takes the shape and sound of some other melody that was already written. It is the risk you run when in pursuit of writing a three-chord hit, too bad Coldplay just found a bit more success than their accusers while doing so.
This is not the first time Stevens has been a victim of song writing copy cats. In 2003, Stevens and The Flaming Lips agreed to split the royalties from the Lips’ song, “Fight Test” after it was said to be too similar to Stevens’ 1970 song, “Father and Son”. Even though Stevens doesn’t seem interested in pushing legal action against Coldplay, let this be a note to Chris Martin while in the studio: Just let Jon Hopkins and Brian Eno write all of your songs.