The song was released in 1991
U2 has been accused of stealing “The Fly,” the lead single from the 1991 album Achtung Baby. British singer/songwriter Paul Rose has accused the band of lifting elements of his song “Nae Slappin’” while searching for a new sound.
The New York Post reports that Rose has filed a suit in a Manhattan court seeking $5 million in damages, lawyer fees and songwriting credit for “The Fly.”
Rose claims that the band heard “Nae Slappin’” after Rose sent a demo tape to the band’s former label, Island Records, in 1989. Rose claims he recently found a former employee who has confirmed that label execs were listening to the tape “often” while U2 were present and exploring a new direction in their sound.
“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,” Rose’s lawsuit claims. It continues to say that the band wrote a new version of Rose’s song with “an elaborate and distinctive guitar solo nearly identical to [“Nae Slappin’”].”
Rose’s lawyer, Thomas Mullaney, claims the British singer is coming forward 26 years later because he was just starting out at the time and accusations of plagiarism would ruin his career.
Neither the band nor its former label have commented at this time. Both songs are below. Listen and judge for yourself.