“Stairway to Heaven” might not give you the same nostalgic feeling it once did the next time you listen to the classic song. Why? One dead musician’s estate is claiming that the boys of Led Zeppelin were a little too “inspired” by another song and are taking ’em to court for it.
The suit, which was filed in 2014, claims that the famous band took the opening section of “Stairway” from a song called “Taurus” by a lesser known band called Spirit. Now, usually these suits are flimsy and most people (us included) tend to side with the more famous defendants. However, this right here is a stickier situation. It turns out the Zepps knew of Spirit. So much so, they toured with them back when Led Zepplin were, well, nobodies.
Let’s take a listen:
The suit, filed by late Spirit member Randy Craig Wolfe’s estate, says: “Late in 1968, a then new band named Led Zeppelin began touring in the United States, opening for Spirit. It was during this time that Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin’s guitarist, grew familiar with ‘Taurus’ and the rest of Spirit’s catalog. Page stated in interviews that he found Spirit to be ‘very good’ and that the band’s performances struck him ‘on an emotional level.'”
Oy! Pretty damning stuff, right? It seems like a judge agreed. According to CNN, a U.S. district court judge in L.A. ruled that there was enough to proceed with a copyright trial before a jury. Led Zeppelin’s surviving members, lead singer Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page, who are credited with composing “Stairway to Heaven,” appeared in court on June 14 and say they didn’t steal a damn thing.
Ugh, we have a feeling things are about to get messy.