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Coldplay Sued Again: Unknown Singer Claims Band Stole Songs

January 14, 2010 12:00 AM ET

Coldplay have weathered copyright infringement claims over the past two years, when Joe Satriani, Cat Stevens and an obscure indie band all claimed authorship of "Viva la Vida." Now, Chris Martin and Co. are facing their most preposterous lawsuit yet, via a man named Sammie Lee Smith who claims the band ripped off his music for their hits "Clocks," "Trouble" and "Yellow," according to TMZ. In the lawsuit, Smith claims that since 1976, he's recorded roughly 4,000 songs on 100 tapes, and three selections from these private sessions wound up on Coldplay albums. Smith is asking the group to stop performing those songs, plus requesting some monetary compensation, of course.

Go backstage with Coldplay on their Viva la Vida tour.

We were able to suspend our disbelief when it came to the Satriani lawsuit because, however unlikely it was that Coldplay actually heard Satriani's "If I Could Fly" before penning "Viva La Vida," it still was marginally conceivable. When the Brooklyn indie band Creaky Boards alleged that Coldplay ripped off their song "The Songs I Didn't Write" for "Viva" after Chris Martin supposedly saw the band in concert, it was similarly unlikely but minutely possible. But Smith is alleging that Coldplay stole songs off cassette tapes that the band couldn't have heard. We're no lawyers but we're going to chalk this up to a "well-talented but unknown" Smith just trying to direct some attention his way after 35 years of recording.

More on Coldplay's legal troubles:

Satriani's "Viva La Vida" Copyright Suit Against Coldplay Dismissed
Joe Satriani Says Coldplay "Figured This Little Guitar Player Guy Will Leave Them Alone"
Coldplay Respond to Satriani Plagiarism Suit: "Just As Surprising To Us"
Yusuf Backs Off Claims Coldplay Violated His Copyright With "Viva"
New York Band Claims Coldplay Stole "Viva La Vida" Melody

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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