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Joe Satriani Sues Coldplay For Biting His Riffs [Updated]
Empress Eve   |  @   |  

SatchGuitar wizard Joe Satriani is suing snooze rockers Coldplay, claiming that the band’s hit song “Viva La Vida” uses riffs from his 2004 instrumental “If I Could Fly.”

In the lawsuit, Satriani states that “Viva La Vida” used “substantial original portions” of his song from the album Is There Love in Space? One listen to both of these tunes and it’s obvious that this is an open and shut case, in favor of Satriani.

Now, I should be really angry with Satch (a musician for whom I happen to love) for making me actually listen to Coldplay for four whole minutes, but I was laughing so hard at Coldplay’s blatant rip-off that I decided to forgive him.

You can listen to both songs here below — and I apologize in advance for subjecting you to Coldplay, but seriously, you have to hear this. At almost a minute into “If I Could Fly” there’s a lead guitar track that is the exact melody of the chorus of “Viva La Vida.”

Oh, and get this: At this year’s Grammy Awards (another snooze-fest), Coldplay has seven nominations: “Viva La Vida” is up for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Rock Song [ack] with the guy who’s married to Gwyneth Paltrow and his three other bandmates being named as the songwriters. The band is also up for Best Pop Performance and Best Rock Performance for the song and Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends is up for Best Rock Album [seriously, rock? and against Metallica’s Death Magnetic — HA HA!].

Please oh please let Satriani win this case so he can actually afford to retire one day and live a comfortable life off all that Coldplay pop music money.

Here’s Coldplay’s song …

Now compare and cleanse with Satch’s song …

Now tell me that Satch doesn’t have a case.

Get “If I Could Fly” for only 99 cents and prove that there are still people out there that like real music.

UPDATE: Reader J has pointed up to a video con YouTube which not only compares the similar parts of each song, but then also overlaps them so that there can be do doubt. Check out the video below. The comparison part comes in at 50 seconds in.

[UPDATE: 9/2009: A judge has dismissed the case; speculation is that it was settled out of court, though there’s no proof of that and neither parties have made a statement.]


[Source: BBC]


  1. This has to be a sarcastic post… you got me though, I thought you were serious for a minute.

    Hey Satriani, the 80s called and are suing you for stealing all their riffs.

    Comment by Anrkist — December 5, 2008 @ 11:56 pm

  2. Uh, did I miss something? Why so much blatant hate for Coldplay? I and everyone I know loves their style of music. Anyway, that is an uncanny likeness in those two songs. Wonder how thats going to play out.

    Comment by Foshi — December 6, 2008 @ 12:50 am

  3. Ah, just took a look at your profile Eve. I can’t stand your kind of music, but to each his own.

    Comment by Foshi — December 6, 2008 @ 12:53 am

  4. I don’t even care how similar the songs (or the parts in question) are, the fact is Coldplay must be stopped! But, ironically, this lawsuit will only give Coldplay more media exposure.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, i have a bad case of Coldplay in my ears. Nothing a good blast of Surfing With The Alien won’t fix.

    Comment by Bondy — December 6, 2008 @ 6:49 am

  5. I can understand the catchiness of coldplay, take radioheads early albums, duplicate, success.

    I dont understand all the praise for this last album…. glad i didn’t pay for it.

    Comment by mo — December 6, 2008 @ 12:58 pm

  6. coldplay did rip off satriani. here’s a better link with both:

    Comment by j — December 6, 2008 @ 1:34 pm

  7. Coldplay is awful, i hope they’re sued for all they have.

    you should feel bad about yourself if you like washed up garbage music like that.

    IMO bands like coldplay, radiohead and others have no place in music.

    Comment by Derek — December 6, 2008 @ 4:04 pm

  8. and eve listens to SLAYER!!!

    how could anyone talk down on slayer? please goback2gradeschool

    Comment by Derek — December 6, 2008 @ 4:05 pm

  9. You know how I know you’re gay? Because you listen to Coldplay.

    Comment by Tom — December 6, 2008 @ 7:57 pm

  10. I really don’t think Coldplay listens to Joe Satriani. For that matter, does ANYONE listen to Joe Satriani? I don’t care for either of these artists, but if musicians start suing each other over songs that sound similar we’d have thousands and thousands of lawsuits.

    Comment by Jack — December 7, 2008 @ 2:44 pm

  11. Go Satch!

    Jack- this is no different than plagiarizing written material. The century old process of pop acts blatantly stealing from lesser-known innovators and not crediting or paying for the material needs to stop. The chord progression is the same, but their Coldplay’s melody lacks balls (like all of their music). If they are going to outright steal riffs, they need to pay for them.

    I have no doubt that Coldplay or their label wouldn’t have a problem with suing music pirates who illegally copied their plagiarized album.

    Comment by David — December 7, 2008 @ 10:52 pm

  12. Whoa, Satriani isn’t the most electrifying of performers, but I dig his sound. Coldplay on the other hand, should go for the proverbial long walk off a short pier. As for Coldplay being up for a nomination in the category of Rock, please shoot me now because obviously all that is good in rock is being disgraced. And I don’t want to live in a world where Coldplay is considered “Rock”. I mean, if Coldplay is rock music, then Hootie is Swedish death metal

    Comment by DrNecropolis — December 8, 2008 @ 4:57 pm

  13. @Jack

    Yes, I listen to Joe Satriani. And nearly everyone I know ALSO listens to and appreciates Joe Satriani. He’s one of the best and most famous guitarists every to grace our planet. Come out of your musical cave, my friend.

    Comment by Dave3 — December 8, 2008 @ 5:13 pm

  14. There are so many songs copied, even unintentionally, because music is going to sound good in certain chord progressions, etc. Go listen to “killing me softly with his song” and “who needs a house out in Hackensack” same thing there and many other places. Feed it all in to Dave3’s computer and you’ll find hundreds of songs sounding alike.

    Comment by Master Beef — December 9, 2008 @ 8:28 am

  15. Look, Everybody I know listens to Coldplay and understands how musically talented they are.I bet most of you people dont even play an instrument, let alone understand musical composition.Ive been playing guitar for close to 8 years and Its hard not to do things like come up with the same progression.It happens.They are two different styles of songs and two completely different forms.Let it go.I am also aware that people who compare the two songs at the same time take the key of Viva and make it higher, thats right, two different keys! Get over it, it happens. And for anyone who wants to really find out how hard it is to be original in this day and age, pick up an instrument that way you can really understand, if not, quit crying.

    Comment by Dustin — February 4, 2009 @ 11:29 am

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