While reseaching how this came about I found the following on Foxnews.com:
Joe Satriani, the famed and respected guitarist, has filed suit again Chris Martin and Coldplay.
The issue: that their soaring, magnificent song, “Viva La Vida,” also the title track from their Grammy-nominated albumof the same name, is plagiarized.
Satriani says a major portion of the song comes from his 2004 instrumental, “If I Could Fly.” The song is on his 10th album, “Is There Love in Space?” Listen to it and decide for yourself. And a You Tuber has already done the comparison work if you’re interested. Yikes!
Frankly, the similarity is shocking. It’s not going to take a musicologist very long to testify on this one. Not only are the two strikingly similar, the melody, the chord structure is surprisingly reminiscent of “Viva La Vida.” Listening to it, you can only wonder why it wasn’t a hit in the first place. That, of course, is another story altogether!
The Coldplay record is credited to all four members of the group. So the question will be, which one of them heard “If I Could Fly” and transposed it over to the group, either by accident or intentionally.