You might have idolised Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, swore by Led Zeppelin's music and stated "Stairway To Heaven" as your favourite song of all time. But, did you ever wonder whether the song was actually lifted or not?
According to a Los Angeles judge, the introductory arpeggio and the opening chords of "Stairway To Heaven" were possibly lifted from a song called "Taurus" by 1960s psychedelic rock band Spirit. The song is from Spirit's self-titled debut album that released in 1968.
The lawsuit was filed in 2014 by Michael Skidmore, a trustee of Spirit frontman Randy Wolfe's estate, who claimed that Page's inspiration for "Stairway To Heaven" may have come after hearing Spirit play "Taurus" during a 1968-69 tour featuring both the bands. According to the lawsuit, Wolfe had initially mentioned the similarities between the songs in an interview in 1997 before he drowned in the Pacific Ocean in an attempt to rescue his son. Skidmore claimed that Wolfe never got the credit that he deserved.
In February this year, Plant, Page, Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones and their representatives appealed to R Gary Klausner, the Los Angeles district judge, to dismiss the case, stating that Wolfe was a hired songwriter who did not hold the copyright to the composition. But, according to Reuters, the judge overruled the appeal recently and asked Page and Plant to appear before court for trial while stating: "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. [sic]" The trial will take place May 10, 2016.
"Stairway to Heaven" is an iconic Led Zeppelin song and is widely regarded as one the greatest rock songs of all time. If the claims are proven to be true then it might as well change rock music history. But this is not the first time that the band has faced such a lawsuit. In their almost five-decade-long history, the band has had to alter credits and pay damages for copyright infringement for some of their most renowned songs such as "Whole Lotta Love," "Baby I'm Gonna Leave You," "Since I've Been Loving You" and "The Lemon Song."