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Joe Satriani Sues Coldplay For "Viva La Vida" Plagiarism

December 5, 2008 9:00 AM ET

Coldplay, no strangers to plagiarism accusations, are now being sued by guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani, as the guitarist is accusing the band of ripping off his 2004 track "If I Could Fly" for their own Grammy-nominated hit "Viva La Vida." Satriani filed a copyright infringement suit against the band in Los Angeles yesterday, accusing Coldplay of stealing "substantial original portions." The Satch is seeking a jury trial, damages and "any and all profits attributable to the alleged copyright infringement." And considering the album and the single were among the biggest sellers this year, not to mention the centerpiece of an Apple iTunes campaign, Satriani stands to make a sizable profit if the jury agrees with him. However, Satriani's lawyers will have to prove Coldplay somehow heard "If I Could Fly," which may be a difficult task. That being said, the hook to "Viva" is almost exactly the same as the guitar lick in "If I Could Fly," as evidenced by the 50-second mark in the video below. Coldplay's management has not yet commented on the case.

Joe Satriani, "If I Could Fly" (2004)

Coldplay, "Viva La Vida" (2008)

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On the Road With Coldplay

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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