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

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5 Replies to “Led Zeppelin Going to Court for Stairway”

  1. Pageman

    I have been attending the trial in L.A. since last Tuesday, June 14, 2016. A lot of attorneys on Zep’s side. Randy Wolfe Trust has 2 in the courtroom. Most of Zep’s attorneys are from Warner, Atlantic, Rhino Records on and on. I have to admit that if you compare the boys in the picture above to a couple of old guys in business suits sitting in court, it shakes you down to your Killing Floor. I should talk – I first saw them in Anaheim, CA in 1969 so as life moves forward, The Song Remains the Same! They are still very, very cool.

    Pageman 1969

    1. Keith Post author

      Woah, you’ve been at the trial?! That’s really awesome. I’ve been following it in the press. I never actually thought it would get this far!

  2. Illinois Inmate Search

    If all you heard were the first 16 bars of each song you would conclude they are the same song, even potentially the same recording. The chord progression is identical, the same instrument plays the same accompaniment arrangement in the same key.

    If the chord progression were common or inevitable, we’d have other songs incorporating it. Which we may, though I don’t know of any instances.


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