Coldplay accused of plagiarism...again.

by professor.knowsitall@evpl on Wednesday, January 14 2009, 2:42pm. Viewed 1,556 times.

ColdplayIn a June 2008 interview with MTV UK while promoting his band's upcoming album, Coldplay's singer-songwriter Chris Martin stated: "We look at what other people are doing and try and steal all the good bits. We steal from so many different places that hopefully it becomes untraceable."

Upon the album's release a couple weeks later, indie band Creaky Boards made headlines by accusing that the album's title track borrowed liberally from a song of theirs.  They claimed that Coldplay's song Viva La Vida was a rip-off of their track The Songs I Didn't Write (IRONY!).  Creaky Boards frontman Andrew Hoepfner claimed that Martin saw them play in an October 2007 concert where they performed the song, writing:

Andrew Hoepfner of Creaky Boards"We were flattered when we thought we saw Chris Martin in the crowd that night. He seemed pretty into it. Maybe too into it."

Coldplay immediately denounced the claims, as they'd recorded a demo of Viva La Vida in March 2007, prior to the alleged concert.  In fact, Martin couldn't have been at the October '07 concert, as he was in London recording.  Hoepfner retracted his claims, intelligently stating...

"I must have been mistaken about seeing Chris (Martin) at the show because all British people look the same. I lived in London for six weeks and I seriously thought every third person on the corner was Coldplay."

Wow, just wow.

So Coldplay's off the hook, right?  Nope.

Joe SatrianiIn court papers filed on December 4, 2008, instrumental guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani claims that Viva La Vida (the same song!) copies "substantial original portions" of his 2004 song If I Could Fly.  As the court papers have been filed, his team of lawyers thinks he has a case.

What peeves Satriani is that If I Could Fly isn't just any song. It's a composition, a love song dedicated to his wife, he'd been laboring over for more than 10 years before recording it.  According to him:

"Everybody assumes I'm trying to go after these guys in Coldplay, as if I'm doing this with malice.  That's the furthest thing from my mind. I'm just doing what I need to do as an artist, to protect what's mine, to protect those feelings I put down in song.

"I did everything I could to avoid a court case with this situation. But Coldplay didn't want to talk about it. They just wanted this whole thing to go away. Maybe they figured this little guitar player guy will leave them alone after a while, I don't know.

"But we're talking about a piece of art that I created, and that's something I feel is important. I think everybody should feel that way."

Listen to the songs in question via the YouTube links below or by checking out the CDs.  What do you think?  Is Coldplay a fraud?  Mere coincidence?  Or did all these songs rip-off Cat Stevens' Heaven?  Sound off in the comments section!

 YouTubeEVPL Collection
Viva La Vida by Coldplay Music Video Check availability of album Viva La Vida
If I Could Fly by Joe Satriani Listen (Skip to the 50sec mark) Check availability of album Is There Love in Space?
The Songs I Didn't Write by Creaky Boards Listen Not available

More Info

Comments (2)

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on Friday, January 16 2009, 5:23pm

I don't know the full story, but after listening to both I would seriously notate both versions.  They sound far to similar to be a coincidence.  Coldplays version is very simplified piece of the melody and Satriani has the same melody but with sparkle.  Strange and sad.  

on Wednesday, January 21 2009, 10:01am

@FiddleChick@evpl: Agreed!  Coldplay's melody is more basic, whereas Satriani throws in some embellishments.

Possibly just a big coincidence...but when not just the melodies, but the chord structure, tempo, & groove are all the same, it seems a bit fishy.

They are in different keys, but check out for comparisons of the notation when they're tranposed to the same key.