Led Zeppelin Getting Sued Over “Stairway to Heaven”

Bloomberg BusinessWeek recently published an article that indicates the wheels are in motion for Led Zeppelin to have a day in court for their most famous tune. Zeppelin has been all over ThatSongSoundsLike.com from the beginning. In all of this talk about Stairway and Tauraus everyone seems to overlook Dolly Parton’s “We Used To”. Here’s an excerpt from the Bloomberg article. Music and more links below.

[Randy] California [of the band Spirit] doesn’t seem to have griped about Stairway‘s genesis, at least publicly, for decades. Finally, citing the gigs they played together, California told journalist Jeff McLaughlin in the winter 1997 issue of Listener magazine that Led Zeppelin had filched his song. “I’d say it was a ripoff,” California said. “And the guys made millions of bucks on it and never said ‘Thank you,’ never said, ‘Can we pay you some money for it?’ It’s kind of a sore point with me. Maybe someday their conscience will make them do something about it.” On Jan. 2, 1997, California drowned while rescuing his 12-year-old son from a rip current in Hawaii.

Now the late California’s allegation may get its day in court. Andes and the trust that handles California’s royalties say they’re teaming up to seek credit for Stairway. They’re working with Francis Alexander Malofiy, a Philadelphia lawyer whose cases include a pending suit against the singer Usher over the writing credit for the song Bad Girl, which Usher is fighting [EDITOR’S NOTE: I’ll have to check this one out]. Starting in June, Led Zeppelin is preparing to cash in anew on Stairway and other hits by releasing all its albums in deluxe, remastered vinyl and CD editions. Malofiy says he is going to file a copyright infringement lawsuit and seek an injunction to block the rerelease of the album containing the song.

The idea behind this is to make sure that Randy California is given a writing credit on Stairway to Heaven,” says Malofiy, 36, who says he grew up with posters of Led Zeppelin on his bedroom wall. “It’s been a long time coming.”

-source: Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Spirit - "Taurus" (1968)
Led Zeppelin - "Stairway to Heaven" (1971)
Dolly Parton - "We Used To" (1975)

Ben wrote a great post that covers A LOT of Led Zeppelin soundalikes.
Led Zeppelin vs. The World

Led Zeppelin vs. Chicago vs. Green Day vs. The White Stripes

Coheed and Cambria vs. Led Zeppelin

Devo vs. Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin vs. Rage Against the Machine

And just for fun, here’s that great scene from Wayne’s World.

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9 thoughts on “Led Zeppelin Getting Sued Over “Stairway to Heaven”

  1. avatarMark Adams

    What about my additions of the Johnny Cash version of Hurt (2002) and Losing You (2007), which sound like the riff in the part of Stairway to Heaven where Robert Plant sings: There’s a feeling I get when I look to the west and my spirit is crying for leaving…?

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    Keith Reply:

    Can’t get to ’em all! 😛

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    Mark Adams Reply:

    You might want to read this update on the proceedings. I do want the case to be tested in court, but I don’t want the song to be removed from releases over the intro to this long song.
    http://ultimateclassicrock.com/led-zeppelin-stairway-to-heaven-lawsuit-lawyer/

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    Mark Adams Reply:

    Here’s Jimmy Page’s comment. And check the comments.
    http://ultimateclassicrock.com/jimmy-page-says-stairway-to-heaven-lawsuit-is-ridiculous/

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    Mark Adams Reply:

    It seems the case is going ahead, in spite of the lawyer’s history and Led Zep’s first attempt to have the case dismissed.
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/10/22/no-stairway-denied-led-zeppelin-lawsuit-winds-on-down-the-road.html

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    Keith Reply:

    Thanks for the heads up! I’ll post about this in the morning!

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