Friday, June 24, 2016

Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to Heaven' Trial: Page and Plant Victorious

Led Zeppelin has been found not guilty of stealing the opening chords from their legendary tune Stairway to Heaven. A panel of four men and four women finished three days of deliberation to decide the chords had not been stolen.
Day three of the copyright infringement trial between Led Zeppelin and Sixties rockers Spirit over the authorship of "Stairway to Heaven" continued with the plaintiffs examination of iconic Zeppelin guitarist and songwriter Jimmy Page.

Presiding judge Gary Klausner frequently reprimanded Francis Malofiy - the counsel representing the plaintiff. Malofiy played the Mary Poppins classic "Chim Chim Cher-ee" from the Disney film to discuss its use by Page as a potential inspiration for "Stairway," causing the rock legend to smile broadly. Malofiy's rambling and pauses caused Judge Klausner to exclaim "you're wasting a lot of time" - a refrain that would be repeated many times throughout Malofiy's examinations.

Led Zeppelin was the opening act for Spirit when they made their United States debut in Denver in 1968.
Led Zeppelin band members Jimmy Page and Robert Plant will appear in court on June 13 to defend Stairway to Heaven. Spirit, a band from Los Angeles, claim the iconic melancholic guitar that opens the song was lifted from its instrumental track, Taurus.

Damages claimed haven't been specified but reports have suggested a possible settlement of anywhere between a symbolic US$1 plus a writing credit to as much as $40 million.
A U.S. jury will decide whether the opening section of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” — one of the most famous passages in rock music — was lifted from the late Randy Wolfe, also known as Randy California — a songwriting member of the American rock group Spirit.

Led Zeppelin’s lead singer Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page, the song’s composers, will face a copyright trial after a U.S. district judge in Los Angeles ruled Friday that the plaintiff had made a strong enough case in its claim of copyright infringement to send the matter to a jury. The lawsuit was brought by a trustee for the estate of Randy Wolfe.
The suit claims that the guitar introduction to “Stairway to Heaven” — widely viewed as one of the all-time great classic rock songs — infringed on the copyright of the instrumental “Taurus,” released on Spirit’s debut album three years earlier.
Led Zeppelin in 1973. From left to right, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Bonham (1947 – 1980), John Paul Jones.
Some suggest Led Zeppelin and Taurus both stole the riff from Davy Graham's 'Cry Me A River'. (Big Kudos to 'Tolimar' on LoP - Lunatic Outpost)

Universe Builder
Going back a tad further, Giovanni Battista Granata uses the "Stairway" chord progression—and nearly the same melody. His work was composed in 1659. The passage, which occurs at the 0:32 mark, is strikingly similar to the “Stairway to Heaven” intro.