After accusing Coldplay of ripping off his 1973 song “Foreigner Suite” with their own Grammy-winning “Vida la Vida,” Yusuf, or Cat Stevens as he was once known, has forgiven Chris Martin and company, acknowledging that any similarities between the two songs wasn’t intentional. “I stand by what I said. They did copy my song but I don’t think they did it on purpose,” Yusuf told the Daily Express.
Coldplay were first sued over “Vida” by guitarist Joe Satriani (now a member of Chickenfoot) in December 2008. Satriani claimed that the band plagiarized his 2004 instrumental “If I Could Fly” for the Viva title track. After Satriani took the band to court, Yusuf said that similarities between “Viva” and “Foreigner Suite” had come to his attention, adding that he’d wait until the verdict of Satriani vs. Coldplay before deciding whether he to pursue legal action. “It depends on how well Satriani does,” Yusuf said then. However, Yusuf has backed off those claims, admitting sometimes he evens unknowingly rips off his own songs.
“I have even copied myself without even knowing I have done it. I’ll write down what I think is a good melody and realize it’s the same as something I have already done,” he said. “I don’t want them to think I am angry with them. I’d love to sit down and have a cup of tea with them and let them know it’s okay.”
As Rock Daily previously noted, while “Foreigner Suite” and “Viva” shared a brief moment of resemblance, Yusuf seemed unlikely to score a legal win. For their part, Coldplay have responded to potential legal battles over the song by calling them “inspiring.”
Yusuf has taken legal action in the past, however. After the Flaming Lips used the melody of Stevens’ “Father and Son” for Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots‘ opening track “Fight Test,” Yusuf reportedly walked away with at least half the royalties from the song, Rolling Stone reported in 2003.