Not Again: Coldplay Now Accused By Cat Stevens Of Plagiarism

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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.

POSTED May 4, 2009 1:00PM IN THE TRIPWIRE Comments (1) TAGS: , , , , , , ,

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  1. puddleshark says:

    I agree the similar tune section in Viva La Vida is so generic and unoriginal it may well sound similar out of sheer co-incidence rather than actual copying. And it just sounds like any other generic Coldplay song to me, can’t believe the fuss and that it’s considered a great song.

    However, part of me is pleased they are getting sued as it seems they have ripped off many people’s ideas. The one I noticed was ‘Til Kingdom Come’ on the X & Y album being an unbelievably weak but obviously deliberate and knowing copy of what Johnny Cash was doing on his late-ish album ‘The Man Comes Around’. The sounds used, the guitar rhythm, the feel of the lyrics – have they no shame, don’t they realise people listen to and adore Johhny Cash?

    This is not overlapping of generic tune fragments but idea-copying of a degree I’ve never come across in pop music and that could never be unintended (maybe they consider the song a ‘hommage’ to Cash?). I was really quite offended by this and Coldplay fell very low in my estimation (sure, I know they won’t be losing sleep). Until then I’d just considered them a very boring and overrated act.