Led Zeppelin founders were on trial for Stairway To Heaven copyright infringement, however they have escaped unharmed.
The song has been a seminal point for everyone. Stairway To Heaven is one of the most recognizable pieces ever written. Everyone has heard it or played it. Sometimes too loud, and yes, it does go on and on and on. It has recently been hailed as the greatest rock song of all time. Jimmy Page said it wasn’t what he thought was his best work but he wasn’t going to argue with the fans.
Led Zeppelin founders, specifically, singer Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page, the writers of “Stairway” were in court on May 10, defending themselves against claims they ripped off “Taurus”, a song created by a much less famous band Spirit who allegedly performed it while sharing bills with Zeppelin in the late 1960s.
In a 20 page opinion, US District Judge Gary Klausner of the Central District of California said Plant and Page had a case to answer.
“While it is true that a descending chromatic four-chord progression is a common convention that abounds in the music industry, the similarities here transcend this core structure,” Klausner said.
“For example, the descending bass line in both Taurus and Stairway to Heaven appears at the beginning of both songs, arguably the most recognizable and important segments. Additionally, the descending bass line is played at the same pitch, repeated twice, and separated by a short bridge in both songs.”
The judge pointed out that both parties had conflicting versions of their interactions. It was also found the they had access to the song at the time of it’s release.
“The surviving members of Led Zeppelin testified that they never toured with, shared a stage with, or listened to any of Spirit’s music during these brief encounters. The surviving Spirit members, on the other hand, recalled conversing with the Led Zeppelin members backstage between sets and performing in succession at two of the festivals.”