Cat Stevens v. Flaming Lips

posted by Andy Baio   Jun 30, 2003

Cat Stevens v. Flaming Lips.

Reader comments

bradleyJun 30, 2003 at 11:49AM

they should tour together.

LanceJun 30, 2003 at 12:23PM

don't think Cat Steven's is going to tour anywhere - he gave up music when he converted to fundamentalist Islam

toddJun 30, 2003 at 12:40PM

Actually, he hasn't completely given up music. He recorded an album of kids songs in the mid Nineties and a more recent album to aid Bosnian Muslims. Not exactly Top 40 material, but something.

More here: http://catstevens.com/faq/#00010

REDDJul 06, 2003 at 12:29AM

Well I'd just like to say that it sounds like bullshit to me that the flaming lips didnt realise their song sounded the same. 'Father and Son' is one of the most famous Cat Stevens songs. I can't figure out how they managed to write, demo, record, mix, produce and then release this song without someone saying 'hey....'. Think of all the people involved with putting a song out there - all the musicians, the studio technicians, the record company people, not to mention the friends and family of the band....am I supposed to believe that not one of those people recognised the song???
I reckon they knew but just thought they'd see if they could get away with it.

PierceSep 16, 2003 at 11:07AM

I'd just like to say that I've listened to both songs extensively and never realised until now.

Next Britney will be suing herself because her new song sounds exactly like her last fucking song.

Song similarities happen. There's only so many arrangements possible.

James LeonOct 08, 2003 at 5:12PM

I listened to a recent interview with Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, in which he said that they did realize that there were some similarities when they were recording. He stated that they made several chord changes and structural changes to the song to make sure that it was different enough that they could record "Fight Test" without anyone getting upset. Well, they were wrong. It seems like everything is intellectual property now, including thoughts about what you might possibly sing in the future, or your name (Spike Lee). Cat Stevens always seemed like a nice enough guy, but come on...The Lips, especially Coyne, admire the guy and were influenced by him. He should never have sued them. He should have approached The Lips about the similarities on a personal level, not in a legal and public forum. My respect for Coyne and The Flaming Lips is still intact, and I don't feel like this was any attempt to steal a song. If you want examples of stolen songs, look no further than the current rave scene, where every new song is an imitation of the song before it.

KyleDec 16, 2003 at 8:17PM

There are only 12 notes people... this isnt an ICE ICE BABY type of scenario. I dont think that anyone is going to hear these songs seperately and confuse them. In other words, the Flaming Lips are in no way cutting in to the Cat Stevens catalog market. No harm no foul. I would love to see the estate of Robert Johnson try to sue everyone who was influenced by his songwriting and playing style. You couldnt fit all of them in court. Point is, unless someone is damaging the marketability of your intellectual property, leave it alone. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.

momarJan 01, 2004 at 10:58PM

I'm a musician, a lawyer, and a fan of both the lips and cat stevens. And this was pretty much a rip off. I like "fight test" and "father and son" very much, but give credit where credit is due.

Chris GeenJan 28, 2004 at 2:33PM

I heard the song "Fight Test" on the radio. I thought to myself- is this an intentional copy of the Cat Stevens melody? I got on the internet and entered "Flaming Lips Fight Test Cat Stevens" into Google and discovered the lawsuit. If a person who was not aware of the lawsuit and not familiar with the Flaming Lips draws this conclusion, then I find it impossible to believe that it did not occur to the Flaming Lips at any point before the release of the song that they were ripping off a melody. They need to admit it. It happens.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.