By Kevin Moran
Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and Robert Plant will appear before a jury in Los Angeles on Tuesday to defend Stairway to Heaven, possibly their most famous hit, which is being accused of plagiarism.
The song strongly resembles Spirit’s 1968 instrumental hit Taurus.
A lawsuit was filed by a trustee of deceased Spirit guitarist Randy California. The US rock band charted 11 albums nationally between 1968 and 1977.
“Well, if you listen to the two songs, you can make your own judgment. It’s an exact … I’d say it was a rip-off,” California explained in a magazine interview shortly before his death.
California was annoyed when he received no acknowledgement from Zeppelin that they had used, or had at least been inspired by the track.
“The guys made millions of bucks on it and never said ‘Thank you,’ never said, ‘Can we pay you some money for it?’ It’s kind of a sore point with me.”
After two years of legal disputes, a judge refused to agree the song had been copied but said there was enough evidence for a trail to take place.
The surviving members of Led Zeppelin have said they had no influence from Spirit and never listened to their music.
The case was made even more interesting by the fact that Zeppelin opened for Spirit when the British band made their US debut in 1968.