U2 Sued for Stealing ‘The Fly’ From British Songwriter
As the lead single from Achtung Baby, “The Fly” signaled a new direction for U2. But it turns out that they might not have found it on their own. British guitarist Paul Rose is suing the band, claiming they took elements of his song “Nae Slappin’” for “The Fly.”
The New York Post is reporting that Rose filed suit in a Manhattan court, saying that he and U2 were signed to Island Records in 1989, when he gave the song’s demo to the label. He claimed that U2 were looking for new musical ideas after the massive successes of The Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum, and often heard Rose’s song playing in Island’s offices. Thomas Mullaney, Rose lawyer, said that a former Island employee will confirm that the band had access to the song, an important aspect of proving plagiarism.
“Although perhaps the most popular rock band in the world in the 1980s, by that decade’s end the band felt in need of reinvigoration,” the lawsuit reads.
Rose is seeking $5 million in damages, songwriting credit and reimbursement of lawyer’s fees. Mullaney added that Rose has waited all these years to file suit because he felt that doing so at the time could have damaged his career.
The suit alleges that “The Fly” is simply a rewrite of “Nae Slappin’,” with “an elaborate and distinctive guitar solo nearly identical to” the song. “An ordinary lay observer would reasonably find that the songs are substantially similar and that an infringement has occurred.” You can judge for yourself. We’ve embedded U2’s song above and Rose’s song below.
Listen to Paul Rose’s “Nae Slappin’”