Led Zeppelin in court over Stairway to Heaven copyright infringement case

Posted at 1:01 PM, Jun 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-15 13:01:56-04

LOS ANGELES, CA - For 45 years, guitarists around the world have covered Led Zeppelin's classic "Stairway to Heaven." But now a new lawsuit claims the iconic rockers themselves, ripped the song off from another band? The copyright infringement trial starts today in Los Angeles which claims the intro to "Stairway to Heaven" was lifted from "Taurus," an instrumental from a lesser known band named Spirit.

The lawsuit was filed by friends and family of the late Randy Craig Wolfe, known as Randy California while in Spirit. He composed "Taurus" in 1968, three years before Stairway ruled the radio airways. A similar chord structure and a descending bass line might add credence to the claim, but many music experts feel it's "not" close enough for rock and roll.

Quinn Bishop, owner of Cactus Music says, "You get into that consistently in the rock arena where there's a lot of borrowing. There always has been. There's a lot of songs, a lot of chord progressions that sound similar. That one sounds remarkably similar, but I don't think that's enough to make a lawsuit stick."

Zeppelin's founding members Robert Plant and Jimmy Page are expected to take the stand, to defend the ownership of their 1971 monster hit. That's way past the statute-of-limitations, but since "Stairway" was remastered and re-released in 2014, camp Spirit has a case.

As for "Stairway to Heaven," people will continue to play it, but it will be up to a judge and jury to decide who actually wrote the song.