- Trial is underway to determine whether Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ plagiarised ‘Taurus’ by Spirit, which was released 4 years earlier.
- Plaintiffs argue that Led Zeppelin knew Spirit, toured with them in the late 1960s and likely heard the song then.
- When listened together, the tracks are similar, but the “descending chromatic line” (being the opening guitar riff) in question is not entirely original, and is said to go back at least as far as a 16th century sonata.
- Although Led Zeppelin has previously settled similar copyright claims (such as in relation to ‘Whole Lotta Love’), the Judge has barred this evidence from being introduced by the lawyers for the Estate of Spirit’s late guitarist, Randy California.
- During the trial, Jimmy Page said the first time he heard Taurus was when his son-in-law played it for him.
- Depending on the outcome this could have an impact on fair use or borrowing in music, as shown in last year’s suit against Robin Thicke for “Blurred Lines”
- Stairway has generated hundreds of millions of dollars for Led Zeppelin over the years.