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Joe Satriani walks Coldplay down Lawsuit Lane

Being the world's second biggest band seems to get you nothing but trouble these days. At least, that's how it must seem to Coldplay, who are being sued by shred-guitar godhead Joe Satriani for plagiarism. Ol' Crazyfingers maintains that the ubiquitous title track from the band's latest album, Viva La Vida, is a rip-off of his 2004 instrumental tune "If I Could Fly." 


Those of you with memories that extend further back than the last CNN news cycle may recall that Coldplay has already been down this road, when New York indie band Creaky Boards claimed the same damn song to be derivative of their tune, entitled (ironically enough) "The Songs I Didn't Write." The leader of that band claimed that one of the Coldplayers attended his gig at CMJ pre-Vida and thus a theft was born. However unlikely anyone may have found that scenario, it seems more difficult still to imagine that Chris Martin was busy catching up on his Satriani catalog during the writing of the album in question, but you can be the judge by checking out this handy YouTube comparison, which is a clear example of why God made the internet.



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Joe Satriani

They certainly sound very similar. What I don't get is, the album's been out for a while...why no lawsuit until now? It's taken him that long to figure this out? Seems like it should have hit him the first time he saw that iPod ad.


ahah, total chaos at that youtube comments section....

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Kadgi/DSC04569.JPG Kadgi

You usually wait until the song does well so you can make a substantial financial demand


The so ripped the song off, it's unreal. There's nothing original about Coldplay. They have a familiar sound becuase it's so much like U2 it crazy, although no where near as good as U2-not even by a long shot, but anyway it just goes to show they are quite limited in their own creativity. Way to go Joe! It's not right...


I hate how in any article I read about this whole thing its COMPLETELY biased in favor of coldplay. They make Satriani out to sound like a hack. Anyone who knows anything about music knows that Satch is clearly an extremely well trained musician, and has an extensive musical knowledge.

Now, I've never been a huge Satriani fan, but I certainly respect the guy. It makes me angry to see him made out as a hack and Coldplay being made out as some musical super-group. Honestly, I've never heard anything musically inventive or original come from Coldplay.


I have no idea if it's coincidence or if it's a blatant rip-off. I like Satch, & I like some of Coldplay's stuff. But...I think this is a weak melody, actually. Probably my least favorite Coldplay song....or Satch song...


There is no doubt that both songs sound very similar and I actually prefer the Joe Satriani version because Coldplay gets over the top after a while. That instrumental guitar piece by Joe Satriani is relaxing and almost psychadelic. I have no reason to say that Coldplay didn't copy it and you know what, there is alot of reason for them to have copied it. Apart from the fact that it sounds almost exactly the same and it is over the top of the same chord progression. Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends is boring as hell and there are only a few listenable tracks which means Coldplay were down in the dumps in terms of creativity and think about it, the only other successful single they released from the album was not original either and it was farely forgettable, still is. Coldplay were low on originality and a famous guitarist had a reasonably unknown (in the mainstream) melody so the Coldplay pounced.


Yeah they sound similar. But we're talking mainly about the first four notes in the major scale. I can hear the same sequence in the verse of 'Love Walked In' - a tune penned decades before either of these two. I can also hear it (and many Beatles riffs) in two Church of England hymns. Point is, nothing is original, it all started somewhere. Gershwin owes Debussy, and back it goes. A good lawyer and musicologist should be able to sue Colplay AND Satriani on behalf of a few composers that pre-date them. Look, guys, there are only 12 notes, and in the case of only 4, there are bound to be similarities. There are factors that make the Coldplay piece very different indeed. The arrangement. The repetition of notes in a sequence not present in the Satriani composition - possibly dictated by the lyrics. All composers like to believe they've stumbled upon the most original melody ever, but it's a bit unrealistic. I hear bits of the 'Brideshead Revisited' score in Coldplay's piece also, but then it really happened long before either one of those in a couple of film noir tracks. Ain't history a bitch??!! And hell, it's good music from both - and very different, too. Stop suing, Mr. S and write some more stuff - with the help of those who've gone before you. You're both okay. But neither of you is totally original. :-)

Ted Arrangeroz

I don't think we can just think the first four notes are the same the melody goes right along with the guitar riff as well. Unless you are tone deaf or so biased towards Coldplay then this is a no brainer's a rip off!


Wasn't there something similar going on between the Rolling Stones and the Verve a few years back and in which the Stones eventually won ?


Yep, and the Stones won out - to a large degree.
As will J.S. in all probability.


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