Coldplay's Will Champion baffled by plagiarism claims

Viva La Lawsuit, Part Deux? Possibly
Viva La Lawsuit, Part Deux? Possibly

Coldplay drummer Will Champion says that he is baffled at the plagiarism allegations centering around their song Viva La Vida, and he insists they "haven't done aything wrong."

Champion was responding the the latest allegation that Coldplay lifted parts of their Grammy-winning song, this time coming from what might be considered an unlikely source, Yufuf Islam, the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens.

Last week Islam claimed that Viva La Vida borrows from his 36-year-old song Foreigner Suite, recorded when the singer-songwriter was known as Cat Stevens. Islam's is the second recent plagiarism claim - guitarist Joe Satriani is already suing Coldplay for copyright infringement.

Only big songs get picked on

"There are only eight notes in an octave and no one owns them" Coldplay drummer Will Champion, discussing the latest plagiarism claim to hit the band

"It's tough when people accuse you of stealing something when you know that you didn't," Champion told Hampton Roads."For some reason, God only knows why, the successful songs seem to be the ones that are accused of being stolen."

Even so, Champion did acknowledge similarities between Coldplay's song and the others. "There are elements of our music that I've heard in other people's music," he said, "but it's kind of...I don't know. It's interesting, but a very difficult thing to define."

Eight notes and the truth

"There are only eight notes in an octave and no one owns them. And there are probably about 12,000 songs that feature the exact same chord progression. I think it lies on an intent to steal, which we certainly have never done and never would. So it's unfortunate but it's the way people are. That's that."

Or, that might be that. Did George Harrison 'intend to steal' He's So Fine when he was found guilty of 'unconscious plagiarism' with his track My Sweet Lord? Doubtful.

As always, this is one for the courts to sort out.

Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.