Almost five decades ago, the band Led Zeppelin released a song titled ?Stairway to Heaven,? which gave them a lot of bucks. However, there are complaints stating that a part of the song was a rip-off and copied from another single titled ?Taurus? by Spirit.
?Stairway to Heaven? was launched late in 1971 by the band Led Zeppelin. The song was composed by the band?s guitarist Jimmy Page and vocalist Robert Plant for their fourth album. The track was also referred by some as one of the greatest rock songs of all time. However, there is as big issue behind that song, that the band stole the intro part of the song from the instrumental single of the Spirit.
The track by the band Spirit titled ?Taurus? was released in 1968, which is obviously three years earlier than the launch of Led Zeppelin?s Stairway to Heaven. A year after the song hit the market, Led Zeppelin and Spirit played together in Detroit, Atlanta and Seattle, as reported by The Guardian, and at that time, ?Taurus? was part of Spirit?s set list. It is probably the time when Page and Plant had the idea of using the track as intro to a song they were about to write. Here, listen to both tracks and decide for yourselves.
Back in May 2014, Spirit?s bassist Mark Andes and Michael Skidmore, trustee of the band?s late guitarist Randy California, who wrote the track ?Taurus,? filed a copyright infringement suit against Led Zeppelin and an injunction against the ?release of the album containing the song? in an attempt to obtain a writing credit for the deceased guitarist.
Luckily for Andes and Skidmore, Gary Klausner, a U.S. district judge, declared that the two songs had ?enough similar protectable expression? calling for a trial to take place, which has already started last May 10. ?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. The descending ?bass line is played at the same pitch, repeated twice, and separated by a short bridge in both songs,? said Judge Klausner in a 20-page opinion, as reported by Rolling Stone.
How about you? Do you think Led Zeppelin copied parts of the Spirit?s song? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. The second day of trial occurred last June 14, and its continuation has yet to be announced.