A jury will decide whether Led Zeppelin plagiarised the opening to Stairway to Heaven.
Michael Skidmore, a trustee to Randy California, brought the case to court stating that California should have a writing credit on the song. He alleges that the opening of Stairway to Heaven sounds like the opening of Taurus by Spirit.
Taurus was released in 1968 and Stairway to Heaven was released in 1971. Led Zeppelin and Spirit toured the US together in 1968 and 1969.
District judge Gary Klausner ruled: “”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,” the judge ruled. “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.”
The defendants argue that the “chord progressions were so clichéd that they did not deserve copyright protection”
Listen to the two songs here:
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