According to the BBC, Coldplay has denied in a federal court that “Viva La Vida” was inspired by or originated from Joe Satriani’s “If I Could Fly” off the 2004 album Is There Love In Space? (For the last time, Joe, no: astronauts can’t love.) Satriani makes a decent living off the instrumental rock circuit and the G3 concert series, and, incidentally, hasn’t written an original melody since he penned the Top Gun theme song. (How bitter he must have been when listeners misattributed the brilliant “Cliffs of Dover” to him instead of maestro Eric Johnson!) So why did he go after Coldplay last December?
One can surmise from his lawyer’s statements to the BBC that Satch was looking for a handout (emphasis mine):
In court papers filed in Los Angeles, Coldplay also claim Mr Satriani’s song “lacks originality” and should not receive copyright protection.
The guitarist’s lawyer, Howard E King, said Coldplay’s response was typical for copyright infringement cases and he reiterated that he thought the matter could have been resolved without legal action.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like Satch hoped Coldplay would pay him to shut up and go away.
Click through to hear a YouTube video of “If I Could Fly.” The melody in questions starts at 52 seconds.