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LED ZEPPELIN Stole "Stairway To Heaven" Riff?

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Thursday, May 22, 2014 @ 9:20 AM


Lawyer For The Band SPIRIT Preparing An Injunction

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The following is from a report by THE GUARDIAN.

LED ZEPPELIN may soon be headed to court over the claim that "Stairway To Heaven" was stolen, in part, from another band. A lawyer is preparing an injunction against the upcoming reissue of Led Zeppelin IV, arguing that one of the group's most famous guitar lines was nicked from the headlining act at their first US gig.

"It's been a long time coming," attorney Francis Alexander Malofiy said in a feature story for Business Week. Malofiy represents a songwriting trust for the late Randy California, guitarist for the band SPIRIT. According to California and his supporters, the opening of "Stairway To Heaven" copies from "Taurus", an instrumental track that appeared on SPIRIT's eponymous 1968 debut album.

It certainly appears that Jimmy Page, who wrote "Stairway To Heaven", would have had the chance to hear California's version. In 1969, LED ZEPPELIN and SPIRIT played together in Detroit, Atlanta and Seattle; on 26 December 1968, ZEPPELIN were the opening act for SPIRIT's gig at the Denver Auditorium Arena. "Taurus" was part of SPIRIT's set list at the time. "It was such a pretty moment, and it would typically come after a big forceful number and always got a good response," recalled SPIRIT co-founder Mark Andes. There's even evidence that LED ZEPPELIN integrated a different SPIRIT song, "Fresh Garbage", into their 1969 tour sets.

Page has always said he wrote "Stairway To Heaven" in 1970 at a cottage in Wales. But music fans have long observed the similarities between the two songs. "I'd say it was a rip-off," California complained to Listener magazine in 1997. "[LED ZEPPELIN] made millions of bucks on it and never said thank you; never said, 'Can we pay you some money for it?'" But California never brought a lawsuit: "Nobody had any money, and they thought the statute of limitations was done," Mick Skidmore, who manages California's trust, explained to Business Week.

Now, as LED ZEPPELIN move to release remastered versions of their original albums, including a cleaned-up version of "Stairway To Heaven", Malofiy is readying a copyright infringement suit and an injunction that would block Led Zeppelin IV's reissue. "The idea behind this is to make sure that Randy California is given a writing credit on "Stairway To Heaven"," he said. Although the United States does have a three-year statute of limitations on copyright infringement cases, this is usually interpreted as a limitation on royalties: SPIRIT could seek royalties from recent sales of "Stairway To Heaven".

Check out the rest of the story HERE.

Watch this video and decide for yourself....Did they or didn't they?


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