Maddenation

Coldplay Plagiarism? You Decide.

NPR’s Brian Unger analyzes recent plagiarism charges against Coldplay. He does a funny job too! Turns out three bands/artists (Cat Stevens, Joe Satriani, and Dan’s favorite band, Creaky Boards) are suing Coldplay for their song “Vidva la Vida”. Have a listen and see what you think.

I think not.

DavidFunnies05/11/09 5 comments

Comments

Patrick • 05/15/09 5:44 PM:

Before I finish listening to them all, here’s an informative video from a guitar teacher who breaks down the Satriani/Coldplay similarities. More soon.

Patrick • 05/15/09 5:52 PM:

Add another to the list: Here’s a song called Frances Limon by an Argentine band called Enanitos Verdes (I kind of like a couple of their songs). They released this in 2002 or earlier (I don’t have time to look it up more thoroughly). This, I think, would mean that they beat Satriani to it.

Patrick • 05/15/09 6:03 PM:

OK, now, what do I think? There are 12 notes in “Western” music. If you play within a key, then there are basically 7. Rock and roll or “popular music” is a limited art form. It’s unavoidable that different artists will come up with similar sounding songs. Sometimes the similarities will be subtle and only audible to experts. Sometimes they will be blatant. Sometimes the similarities will be due to conscious influence (plagiarism). Sometimes they will be unconscious. Sometimes they will be simply because EVERYBODY does the G-A-D chord thing. It’s just a simple structure that can hold a lot of vocal riffing on top of it. I think Cat ought to cut the crap. I think somebody smart ought to find artists that predate Cat Stevens whose songs sound a lot like his. I am most disappointed in Cat, who’s supposed to be this peace-loving holy man nowadays. Get off the money train, Cat! As for Joe Satriani: who cares? The guys puts out like an album a year of his “guitar goodies.” Somebody’s bound to write a song that sounds like one of Satriani’s hundreds. But that doesn’t mean they plagiarized, because NOBODY LISTENS TO JOE SATRIANI. If they’ve never heard his song, how can they consciously copy it?

And, as I mention above, Satriani therefore plagiarized the Enanitos Verdes.

As for the Creaky Boards, well: they have a video wherein the Creaky Boards guy seems to not get too overheated about it, so I think I can still respect them.

But it’s stupid for anybody to go around believing they own a certain chord structure.

I’d like to see this whole thing blow up really big with at least 20 songs that all share some aspect of the Coldplay song. Gimme a break.

Dad • 05/16/09 6:33 PM:

I’d be happy to give you a break. That said, I’ve listened to all the songs and read some of the comments and I think there are lots of similarities. The Argentine band sounded exactly like the Foreigner Suite, but I think Cold Play is different enough that they should beat the suit. However, I remember the Cat Stevens song very well, and I can tell you that the first time I heard it I thought he was ripping off someone else. I’m not planning on researching this any further, but I think there’s another original melody out there from which the Cat man got his idea. Regardless, this particular melody and chord progression is easy to stumble on to while you think you’re writing something unique. I think maybe I wrote it back when I was a teenager learning how to play the guitar.

Patrick • 05/18/09 11:58 AM:

Other people have compared the songs to:

Pounding by a band called Doves

Jen ai marre by a singer called Alizee

Un histoire simple by Babik Reinhardt

Honesty by Billy Joel

and probably the best song to copy from,

Hearts by Marty Balin, the guy from Jefferson Starship. I’ve heard this song before, but I never realized until now that it was the Jefferson Starship guy. “We built this city! We built this city on rock AND roll!”

I’m not sure about any of these, frankly, but there you have it. What do we have now, 9 different songs that all have something like the Coldplay song.

Also, in reading up some more on the subject, I find that it’s only Satriani who’s actually taken legal action, which makes me want to dig through some boxes, find my copy of Surfing with the Alien (which uses Marvel Comics’s Silver Surfer on its cover he, Joe, did you draw the Silver Surfer all by yourself!? I don’t know if Wikipedia can be trusted, but the page says that “The artist, John Byrne, has noted that the image [of the Silver Surfer] was used without Marvel’s permission and that he has never received payment for its use.” The page also notes some other “influences” that Satriani used to write his songs.), and burn it in a tiny little bonfire.

C’mon, Satriani. Get off it!

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