Led Zeppelin Going to Court for Stairway

I’ve been covering this “Stairway to Heaven” vs. “Taurus” thing since 2013. Apparently it’s finally really going to court and the boys of Led Zeppelin will have to defend themselves.

A United States district judge, Gary R. Klausner, wrote in the decision Friday that while the chromatic four-chord backbone shared by the songs was “a common convention that abounds in the music industry, the similarities here transcend this core structure.”

A trustee for Spirit’s guitarist, Randy Wolfe, brought the suit against the surviving members of Led Zeppelin in 2014. Mr. Wolfe died in 1997.

The trial, scheduled for May 10, would be the second high-profile jury trial to determine the similarity between two songs in two years, a trend industry experts say may open the gates to more suits. –Did Led Zeppelin Steal ‘Stairway to Heaven’? A Jury Will Decide – New York Times

And here’s the music. I’m still not sure why Dolly Parton is not included in this mess but have a listen anyway:

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

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE! This is not the only song Led Zeppelin has been accused of ripping off. And on the other side of things, Many artists have borrowed from Zeppelin.

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

Jay-Z vs. Bruno Spoerri: Jay-Z to pay Swiss jazz musician 50% of royalties

Jay-Z vs. Bruno Spoerri

Apparently this has been out in the open for over a year. Well it’s sorta settled now. Jay-Z will pay Swiss jazz musician 50% of royalties for using his instrumental for “Versus”. Check out some clips of the tracks below.

Jay-Z - "Versus" (2013)

Bruno Spoerri - "On The Way" (1978)

From the press:

US rapper Jay-Z has agreed to pay half the royalties of one of his songs to a Swiss jazz musician Bruno Spoerri after using his music without consent.
The rapper had denied copying instrumental ‘Lilith — on the way’ in his 2013 song ‘Versus’. But he has now agreed to pay 50 per cent of the royalties to the Swiss pianist and saxophonist, following an 18-month legal wrangle.

The American musician and record producer only admitted using the music without attribution a few months ago, according to reports.
Speaking last year, the veteran jazz musician said legal proceedings could have been avoided with a phone call.
‘In a way I’m flattered that a relatively young rapper takes a sample from an old man, a sample that is about 35 years old,’ he told swissinfo.ch.

‘On the other hand I’m furious because it would have been so simple to clear the sample. All it would have needed was a call or an email to the company and I think it would have been relatively cheap.’
Mr Spoerri, 79, has worked with the likes of Lee Konitz, Hans Kennel and George Gruntz in a career spanning nearly 50 years.
In an illustrious career, he has directed the Zurich jazz festival and music schools in Zurich and Lucerne.

DailyMail.com March 13, 2015

 

The following was published before the settlement:

Financially, the two musicians are at opposite ends of the music spectrum.
In 2012, Forbes estimated the net worth of Jay Z – real name Shawn Carter – from music and other businesses at $500 million (CHF450 million). Jay Z and Justin Timberlake won a Grammy award on January 26 for their collaboration on another track from Magna Carta Holy Grail.

Spoerri, who still performs once or twice a month, says what matters most to him is an apology.

“I would like them to acknowledge what happened and say sorry. And then I think it would be fine if they would put my name on the piece and in the end I want to have a part of the money that comes in.”

– SwissInfo Jan, 28 2014

 

Check out this other Jay-Z post:

Jay-Z vs. Ice-T vs. Trick Daddy – 99 Problems but…

 

And for more soundalikes that have actually made it to court check out the litigated category.

 

 

 

Marvin Gaye family awarded $7.4 million in ‘Blurred Lines’ trial

thicke-lawsuit-done

10/26/2015 UPDATE: Check out the deposition videos of Pharrell and Thicke. Apparently Pharrell can’t read music: http://mashable.com/2015/10/25/pharrell-deposition-video/

According to my go-to news source Mashable has confirmed that a federal jury found that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams lifted “Blurred Lines” from Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up”. $4 million in damages, plus $1.6 million in profits from Williams and $1.7 million from Thicke will go to Gaye’s children Nona, Frankie and Marvin III, pending a possible appeal.

This Thicke/Gaye story came to light back in August, 2013 when Thicke actually sued Marvin Gaye’s estate in order to protect his song from what was to come. You can read about that here.

And once again, here are those two songs:

Marvin Gaye – “Got to Give it Up” (1977)

Robin Thicke – “Blurred Lines” (2013)

 

See Also:
Sam Smith Settles Copyright With Tom Petty

Robin Thicke Sues Marvin Gaye

Robin Thicke Lied About Writing “Blurred Lines”

Diet Coke vs. Pharrell Williams

Ed Sheeran “Sing” (co-written by Pharrell) vs. Yacht vs. The Rolling Stones