Led Zeppelin are set to face a jury trail to determine whether or not they plagiarised the opening to their classic song ‘Stairway To Heaven’.
The case was brought against the band by Michael Skidmore a trustee of Spirit guitarist Randy California who’s real name is Randy Wolfe. He argues that Wolfe should have been given a songwriting credit for ‘Stairway To Heaven’ because of the resemblance of the riff to Spirit’s track ‘Taurus’.
‘Taurus’ was written in 1968 while Led Zeppelin’s track ‘Stairway To Heaven’ was written two years later in 1971. A judge has recently ruled in Los Angeles on Friday (April 8th), that the two tracks were “substantially” similar enough to warrant a trial.
Judge Gary Klausner said that “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.”
He continued saying “What remains is a subjective assessment of the ‘concept and feel’ of two works … a task no more suitable for a judge than for a jury.”
Led Zeppelin are now scheduled to face a trial next month on May 10th. In the band’s defence, the defendants claimed that the song’s “chord progressions were so clichéd that they did not deserve copyright protection.”
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