The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Coldplaygiarism: Satriani Sues Coldplay Over ‘Viva la Vida’ Riff

2 min read


Coldplay is facing pending lawsuit and hearing could potentially cripple sales of their most recent album “Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends.”

Virtuoso guitarist Joe Satriani filed suit on Dec. 4, 2008, suing Coldplay for stealing “substantial original portions” from “If I Could Fly” and used those portions in their Grammy-Nominated “Viva la Vida,” according to “If I Could Fly” appears on Satriani’s 2004 album “Is There Love in Space?” Satriani wants a federal judge to hear the case and perform an accounting in to determine exactly how much money Satriani could collect in damages, according to

Satriani spoke directly with MusicRadar in an interview on Dec. 6, 2008, regarding his initial reactions to hearing “Viva la Vida”.
“I felt like a dagger went right through my heart. It hurt so much. The second I heard it, I knew it was [my own] If I Could Fly,” Satriani told MusicRadar.

Satriani said that after the song debuted, he received an appalling number of emails from sympathetic and frustrated fans claiming that Coldplay ripped off Satriani’s riff.

Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, Coldplay released a statement on their website addressing the plagiarism accusations and pending lawsuit.

“With the greatest possible respect to Joe Satriani, we have now unfortunately found it necessary to respond publicly to his allegations,” read the statement. “If there are any similarities between our two pieces of music, they are entirely coincidental, and just as surprising to us as to him. Joe Satriani is a great musician, but he did not write the song ‘Viva La Vida.’ We respectfully ask him to accept our assurances of this and wish him well with all future endeavors,” according to

If you are not convinced that Satriani has a case, take into account the blatant similarities between these two songs.

Both songs are in the same key, same tempo, and the chord structures are almost completely identical, which may be more than enough material for Satriani to build a case with.

Sophomore Marshall Schulte, is a fan of Coldplay and had a few opinions about the Satriani’s accusations towards Coldplay.
“I feel like while Satriani may have a case, because what I heard did sound like similar but definitely was not the same song.  I feel Satriani should get some money but not royalties, especially not all the royalties,” said Schulte.

Many expected Satriani to have Coldplay served publicly at the 2008 Grammy Awards, especially after Satriani’s legal team told Coldplay it would happen; however, it did not and the rest of the world waits with baited to breath to see what could very well be the most prolific plagiarism case since George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord.”
Until the case is settled, Coldplay still rules the world.