22. Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” vs. Joe Satriani’s “If I Could Fly”
Released in 2008, “Viva La Vida” became Coldplay’s first No. 1 single in both the United States and the UK. The band even went on to win the Grammy for Song of the Year for it in 2009. So, it’s understandable that instrumental guitarist Joe Satriani felt a bit miffed when he realized “Viva La Vida” contained “substantial original portions” of his 2004 release “If I Could Fly.” Coldplay maintained it was entirely coincidental, although they did eventually settle with Satriani out of court.
23. Avril Lavigne, “Girlfriend,” vs. The Rubinoos, “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend”
In 2007, Avril Lavigne had a catchy little hit on her hands with her single “Girlfriend.” She was likely caught off guard, then, when ’70s pop group the Rubinoos filed suit against her for infringing on their classic song “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend.” Her manager (and presumably Lavigne as well) adamantly refuted the claim, but ultimately they reached an undisclosed settlement with the group.
24. One Direction, “Live While We’re Young,” vs. The Clash, “Should I Stay or Should I Go”
In 2012, pop sensation One Direction released the single “Live While We’re Young.” Naturally, teenybopper fans the world over rejoiced. However, critics panned the track for lifting the opening riff from the Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” Responding to the backlash, band member Harry Styles told the BBC, “It was kind of on purpose though. It’s a great riff.” Louis Tomlinson added, “I assume it must be quite difficult to do a unique riff now because there have been so many songs — surely there’s only so many riffs you can pull out?” So, yes. They’re saying yes, they did lift it.
25. Justin Bieber, “Baby,” vs. Perla, “Tremendo Vacilão”
There’s this sweet little Brazilian pop singer named Perla. Oh, you haven’t heard of her? You may not recognize her name, but you’ve heard her — via Justin Bieber’s mega-hit “Baby.” Just take a listen, paying special attention at the 30-second mark in her song. With his penchant for trouble, Bieber plagiarizing wouldn’t exactly be a shocker, sadly.
26. The Doors, “Hello, I Love You,” vs. The Kinks, “All Day and All of the Night”
Even though this case did end in litigation and the UK courts ordered the Doors to pay royalties to the Kinks’ songwriters for borrowing their riff, it didn’t necessarily end on bad terms. In 2012, Kinks band member Ray Davies told Mojo magazine, “The funniest thing was when my publisher came to me on tour and said the Doors had used the riff for ‘All Day and All of the Night’ for ‘Hello, I Love You.’ I said rather than sue them, can we just get them to own up? My publisher said, ‘They have, that’s why we should sue them!'” Davis laughed.