Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ in Copyright Trial … Copied From the Song “Taurus” by the Band Spirit
Heaven the Court Room …
Starting on Tuesday, a Los Angeles court will try to decide whether the members of the legendary rock band Led Zeppelin ripped off the riff from Stairway to Heaven. The copyright lawsuit was brought by the trustee of guitarist Randy Wolfe from the band Spirit. Attorneys for the trustee contend that 1971′s “Stairway to Heaven” stole the riff from the Spirit song “Taurus,” which Wolfe wrote in either 1966 or 1967. Wolfe died in 1997.
Generations of aspiring guitarists have tried to copy the riff from Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.”
Starting on Tuesday, a Los Angeles court will try to decide whether the members of Led Zeppelin themselves ripped off the riff.
The band’s guitarist Jimmy Page and singer Robert Plant are named as defendants in the lawsuit brought by the trustee of guitarist Randy Wolfe from the band Spirit. Attorneys for the trustee contend that 1971′s “Stairway to Heaven” copies music from the Spirit song “Taurus,” which Wolfe wrote in either 1966 or 1967. Wolfe died in 1997, drowning while saving his son in Hawaii.
Page, Plant and their bandmate John Paul Jones are all expected to testify at the trial, though Jones has been dismissed as a defendant in the case.
Led Zeppelin and Spirit performed at some concerts and festivals around the same time, but not on the same stage.
U.S District Judge R. Gary Klausner ruled in April that evidence presented in hearings made a credible case that Led Zeppelin may have heard “Taurus” performed before their song was created.
We report, you make the call. Below are the videos of both songs ‘Taurus’ and ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ Hmm, the very beginning is rather similar, especially at the 44 second mark of Taurus. This is going to be a tough call to call and prove.
Spirit – Taurus
Led Zeppelin-Stairway to Heaven
The copyright infringement lawsuit against Led Zeppelin over the songwriting credits and profits of its classic “Stairway to Heaven” has now gone to the jury, which began deliberations Wednesday morning.
In the sixth day of the case – “Michael Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin et al” (the “et al” referring to corporate defendants Atlantic Records, Rhino Records and Warner/Chappell Music) – both sides made final arguments in Court 850 of Los Angeles’ Edward R. Roybal Federal Building and United States Courthouse. The presiding judge, Gary Klausner, allotted counsel representing the plaintiffs (the trust of Randy “California” Wolfe, whose composition “Taurus” for the band Spirit they allege has been plagiarized) and Zeppelin’s defense team 45 minutes each to convince the eight-person jury of their arguments.