Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin are facing a copyright lawsuit after a judge ruled Friday that the question of whether the opening riff for Stairway to Heaven was pilfered from another band can go before a jury. CNN reports:
The lawsuit was brought by a trustee for the estate of the late Randy Wolfe, also known as Randy California — a songwriting member of the American rock group Spirit.
The suit claims that the arpeggiated guitar introduction to “Stairway to Heaven” — widely viewed as one of the all-time great classic rock songs since its release in 1971 — infringed on the copyright of the instrumental “Taurus,” released on Spirit’s debut album three years earlier.
The suit, filed by Wolfe’s trustee Michael Skidmore, claims Page may have drawn inspiration for the smash hit after hearing Spirit perform their song at three U.S. festival performances at which both bands appeared prior to the release of Led Zeppelin’s track.
The judgment notes that Page said he had never seen a Spirit performance.
The band ‘Spirit’ used to open for Led Zeppelin and the two bands have played many shows together early on in their careers.
Here are the two songs, both separately and overlay-ed. What do you think? Was Stairway to Heaven a rip off?
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