Most people know the song “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin released in 1971. Led Zeppelin are now being sued over the guitar riff used at the beginning.
A U.S. court will decide if the beginning riff that is played throughout the whole song was stolen from another band. Robert Plant and Jimmy Page will be required to go to the trial after a ruling on April 8, 2016, that sent the case further.
The case was brought to attention by a trustee for the estate of Randy Wolfe. Randy, who is also known as Randy California, was a member of the group Spirit. The trustee claims that the beginning of “Stairway To Heaven” was stolen from Spirit. The song in question is “Taurus,” which was released by Spirit in 1968.
“While it is true that a descending chromatic four-chord progression is a common convention that abounds in the music industry, the similarities here transcend this core structure…What remains is a subjective assessment of the ‘concept and feel’ of two works… a task no more suitable for a judge than for a jury.”
Judge Klausner ruled that the songs were similar enough for this trial to continue farther. Everyone is focused on the fact that the riff comes at the beginning of both songs in question.
Jimmy Page has said that he has never seen Spirit perform, but Michael Skidmore, Wolfe’s trustee, says that Page got inspiration after hearing Spirit perform. Skidmore suggested the song happened after hearing Spirit perform at a U.S. festival that both bands appeared at and touring with them in 1968 and 1969.
A trial has been scheduled for May 10, 2016.
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