Led Zeppelin Have Won Their "Stairway to Heaven" Copyright Case
According to a jury, Jimmy Page did not plagiarize the "Stairway" intro from Spirit's song "Taurus."
Image via Wikimedia Commons
A federal jury in Los Angeles, California ruled today that the intro to Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" was not stolen from the band Spirit. The case was brought forward in 2014 by Michael Skidmore, who represents the estate of late Spirit guitarist and songwriter Randy Wolfe. Wolfe had long complained that Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page had lifted "Stairway"'s instantly recognizable guitar intro from Spirit's instrumental "Taurus" but had never brought things to court. The two bands had once toured together and "Taurus" (released in 1968) predates "Stairway" (released in 1971).
Both Page and Zeppelin singer Robert Plant denied the claims, citing it not only as just a coincidence but also wondering how someone could claim copyright on what is a fairly common chord progression. The jury came to their decision after concluding that "Stairway" and "Taurus" did not contain enough similarities for there to be a substantial copyright claim by Spirit and Wolfe's estate. If only Robin Thicke and Pharrell could have had the same outcome in their legal battle against the Gaye family... Anyway, here's "Wonderwall" "Stairway".
Phil Witmer is a Noisey Canada staff writer. Follow him on Twitter.