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Cat Stevens Could Be Next To Sue Coldplay for Plagiarism

Oh hi! We're the biggest tools in the UK! Hey kids, did you know about the latest trend? Why, it's all the rage with the celebs! You may think I'm talking about adopting kids from Africa, but that's so 2005. No, the craze that's hip with all the celebs these days is suing Coldplay!

Six months ago, Joe Satriani filed a plagiarism suit against Coldplay, accusing the overrated, pretentious-as-fuck Britpop band of ripping the melody for "Viva La Vida" from Satriani's 2004 song, "If I Could Fly." As previously discussed here at MamaPop, the two songs are indeed eerily similar, and that's being kind. However, Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, says that, actually, he's the one who was ripped off.

Islam has not filed suit against either Satriani or Coldplay as of yet. However, speaking to the UK Sun about the issue, he had this to say:

"There’s been this argument about Coldplay stealing this melody from Joe Satriani. But if you listen to it, it’s mine! It’s the 'Foreigner Suite,' it is!"

And, you know... he's got a point. If you listen to the track 4 minutes in (see videos below), the melody in that part of the song is the same as both "Viva La Vida" and "If I Could Fly". Of course, what we probably have on our hands in at least one of these cases, if not both (I will begrudgingly give Coldplay the benefit of the doubt), is a case of accidental plagiarism. However, legal precedent shows that ignorance of a rip-off is no excuse. IN 1971, the late George Harrison was forced to forfeit the majority of royalties for his song "My Sweet Lord," after a court ruled that he had "unintentionally copied" The Chiffon's hit, "He's So Fine."

Foreigner Suite (skip to four minutes in)

Satriani v. Coldplay comparison

If Islam were to file suit and win, it would be the second time he won such a suit in recent history. In 2003, The Flaming Lips settled with him over the unintentional similarities between "Fight Test" (the opening track from Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots) and Islam's 1970 hit "Father and Son". These two songs are, in my opinion, far more similar than "The Foreigner Suite" is with either Satriani's or Coldplay's songs, so if he were to file suit, I doubt it would be as peacefully settled.

However, the bigger question is, wouldn't Satriani be the person to sue, rather than Coldplay? I'm inclined to say no, for two reasons that probably wouldn't hold a lot of water in a court of law:

1) Coldplay has waaaay more money than Satriani. Like oodles and oodles and gobs and gobs more. Everyone knows you mug the person with the biggest purse, right? Duh.

2) Satriani is talented and has a body of work that demonstrates he is an accomplished composer and an original artist, whereas Coldplay has demonstrated time and again they are a hackneyed, milque-toast imitation of groundbreaking bands with actual talent, like Radiohead. So, essentially, they have it coming, nyah nyah nyah *ptttttttttttb*.

At any rate, Yusuf Islam is not, to my knowledge, currently suing either artist. However, I think we should all file a class action lawsuit against Coldplay. Not for the plagiarism stuff or anything, but for their totally lame matching outfits that they can't seem to get enough of. Seriously, who the fuck do those guys think they are, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band?


I rest my case, your honor.


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I think they are trying to be The Police circa Synchronicity with those outfits. Just a wee bit more reserved than Sting's concert tour jacket, but the sentiment is there. Another rip off.


Well, if Coldplay plagiarized Satriani, and Cat accuses Coldplay of plagiarizing him, doesn't that mean that Satriani plagiarized Cat?

kelly jeanie

I don't understand the fuss. Pop music is all derivative. It's all been done. With all the albums that come out every year, each with 12-15 tracks, there's bound to be melodies that sound alike.

I also don't understand the loathing of Coldplay. Like 95% of pop bands, they built their sound on the bands that came before. What's new?


Funny, I have that Coldplay CD and I always skip over that song 'cause it's the worst one on the CD. We (the public) should sue them all for writing such a bad song.

Stephen Cole

While the melody lines are similar, the three pieces of music sound totally different from one another.

The harmonies are different and they don't mirror one another at all.

I think patent/copyright laws need to be a little easier. I'm all about people owning their work. That's not the issue. Can anyone really "own" eight, ten, or twelve bars of melody?

Yes, entire marketplaces have been created for ringtones and the like, but that has never passed any sort of sniff test.

If you play a Beatles song on your phone, you should pay royalties. If you record yourself playing a few bars of Let It Be on your piano and/or guitar, the lawyers should just leave you alone.

To me, all I see is greed. This is not about protecting one's work or artistry. It is about making a buck off of somone else. Satriani is pointing a finger at Coldplay. Cat Stevens is pointing a finger at Satriani. I wonder if we could find someone to point a finger at Mr. Stevens?

When lawsuits like this happen, everyone loses.

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