A judge in L.A. certainly thinks it might have. Last Friday (April 8) U.S. District Court Judge Gary Klausner ruled that the opening chords to Led Zeppelin‘s biggest hit sound enough like 1968 instrumental track “Taurus” by the band Spirit for a trial to go ahead.
That means Led Zep members Jimmy Page and Robert Plant will have to defend their composition of the famous track in front of a jury on May 10.
The lawsuit, brought by a trustee of Spirit guitarist and “Taurus” composer Randy Wolfe, who passed away in 1997, alleges that Page and Plant would have heard the song when the two bands toured the festival circuit in the late 1960s, and that it was then directly copied on “Stairway to Heaven” without ever providing an appropriate credit.
Page and Plant deny that they ever shared a stage with or even had discussions with the band. Spirit’s surviving band members, on the other hand, remember things differently, recalling backstage conversations between the two bands and performing after each other at festivals.
So what do you think? Here’s the track in question:
And here, in case you’d forgotten, is “Stairway to Heaven”:
There’s certainly a lot at stake, whichever way it goes. Despite the judge’s ruling that a trustee could only get 50 percent of any damages awarded, “Stairway to Heaven” continues to generate a large amount of royalties. In 2008, CondeNast Portfolio magazine estimated that the song had earned at least $525 million dollars in royalties and record sales, having appeared on America’s third biggest-selling album of all time, Led Zeppelin IV.Read More