The courtroom battle of “Joe Satriani vs. Coldplay” might be getting a little more crowded. Yusuf, formerly Cat Stevens, says he noticed a similarity between his 1973 song “Foreigner Suite” and Coldplay’s Grammy-winning “Viva La Vida” as well. Satriani first accused Chris Martin and Co. off ripping off his song “If I Could Fly” for “Vida,” which resulted in a lawsuit.
“My son brought it to my attention and said, ‘Doesn’t that sound like ‘Foreigner Suite?’ ” Yusuf told Reuters. “The song definitely sounds like it. It has such logical chords and the melody has to be what it is.” While he hasn’t filed any legal papers, he hasn’t ruled out a possible future lawsuit either, adding that “it depends on how well Satriani does.” Satriani is seeking damages from the supposed plagiarism plus any royalties the song accrued which, considering it won a Grammy and soundtracked an Apple ad, is probably a lot of royalties. Conveniently, Yusuf chose the same week to both accuse Coldplay of aping his song and release his new album Roadsinger, which is released today.
While we can hear the obvious similarities between “Viva La Vida” and Joe Satriani’s “If I Could Fly,” the resemblance between “Viva La Vida” and Stevens’ “Foreigner Suite” is less apparent. “Foreigner Suite” is nearly 20 minutes in length, and it isn’t until the start of the 16th minute that something slightly comparable to “Viva La Vida” begins. However, it’s inevitable that a song that long and with that many shifts in style and genre will sound like other songs, and in “Foreigner Suite” we’re pretty sure we hear at least half a dozen Billy Joel songs, the piano coda from Guns n’ Roses’ “Estranged,” some King Tubby dub track and a passing hint of the Killers’ “All These Things That I’ve Done,” before the supposed “Viva La Vida” piano line even kicks in.
Do the two melodies sound similar? Maybe. Do they sound lawsuit similar? Absolutely not. Then again, Coldplay claimed that Satriani’s song “lacked originality” in court, so maybe that’s because “Foreigner Suite” was the original. If “Viva La Vida” is found guilty of plagiarizing Satriani, can Stevens then go and sue Satriani for the money he took from Coldplay? Stay tuned…
• Coldplay Say Satriani “Lacked Originality” As “Viva La Vida” Fight Hits Court
• Coldplay Respond to Satriani Plagiarism Suit: “Just As Surprising To Us”
• Joe Satriani Says Coldplay “Figured This Little Guitar Player Guy Will Leave Them Alone”