A Judge has found enough grounds to move a claim that Led Zeppelin plagiarized “Stairway To Heaven” to a jury trial.
U.S. District Judge Gary Klausner found the song has enough similarities to “Taurus”, a track written by Spirit four years before “Stairway To Heaven” in 1967.
Led Zeppelin and Spirit toured together around the time “Spirit” was being written in 1968. Though Jimmy Page acknowledges “Spirit” may have influenced his writing, he called the accusations “ridiculous”.
Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, who are credited as co-writers of the track, will face Michael Skidmore in court starting May 10th. Skidmore is a trustee of Spirit’s late frontman Randy Wolfe.
Page and Plant say the song was written in a remote cottage in Wales, but Skidmore claims the band heard Spirit performing an instrumental version of “Taurus” during their tour together.
During the ruling, Judge Klausner read:
“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. 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.”
Shortly before his death in 1997, Wolfe complained about similarities in the song during an interview. Listen below to the two tracks back to back, and see for yourself.
Image courtesy Happybeatle2 via Wiki Commons