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Zeppelin “Stairway” Case Headed To Trial

I never understood the George Harrison/Chiffons plagiarism court case. And I really don't know what to make of this one. Cos, yea, there are some obvious similarities. But there are similarities in lots of songs.

Exhibit A, song in question:


Which kinda sounds like this one:

And this one too:

However, with this song, Page & Plant really have no recourse.

So would the question be, "was it done intentionally"? All I know is I'd love to be in that courtroom. Julie Devereaux

Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page and Robert Plant are headed to court to prove they did not plagiarize the opening notes of "Stairway to Heaven."

U.S. District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner has ordered a jury trial for the case, in which the estate of the late Spirit guitarist Randy California (nee Wolfe) accused Led Zep of lifting the beginning of "Stairway" from Spirit's 1968 instrumental composition "Taurus." Zep and Spirit played some concerts and festivals together during the late 60s, although never shared a bill, and Klausner ruled that the two songs are "substantially" similar enough to warrant the trial, which is slated to start May 10 in Los Angeles. Klausner did remove Zep bassist John Paul Jones from the case.

Page and Plant have denied the plagiarism claim, and experts they've hired contend the notes and the note pattern have been used in music for centuries. If found guilty of copyright infringement, Page and Plant could be liable for millions of dollars in back royalties.


Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.