Talk about a perception issue on epic proportions.
In 1971, Led Zeppelin — frontman and vocalist Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham — put out ‘Led Zeppelin IV’ or “Sozo.”
The album was a detour from the usual for the British super group because instead of the typical blues-rock combo platter, this was a trek into Plant’s and Page’s quest for esoteric meaning, as heard in “The Battle of Evermore,” “Misty Mountain Hop,” “When the Levees Break,” and this little ditty “Stairway to Heaven.”
Among its majestic vocals and near eight minutes of melodies, there is a riff from Page that has been archived as some of the finest work in musical history. And, according to a lawsuit dated back in May 2014 (but now going to trial as of this week), it could be one of the finest plagiarized works in musical history.
’60s band forgotten by most, Spirit, was led by Randy “California” Craig Wolfe. While their biggest hit is best known as a trivia question on Jeopardy, Wolfe’s estate believes he was owed a few dimes and writing credit for the aforementioned best lyrics of all time. That didn’t happen, so they sued more than a decade after he died in 1997.
In short: Wolfe’s family claims that Jimmy Page ripped off the chords for “Stairway to Heaven” from Spirit’s 1968 tune “Taurus.” So, this week, U.S District Judge R. Gary Klausner ruled that there’s enough evidence to move ahead with a trial.
And this may be all the evidence you need:
First, what you know:
And now, what you don’t:
The “Stairway” trial is set to begin on May 10. A favorable finding could also bring a share of the song’s profits — by 2008, it had reportedly earned $562 million. It could also bring down the assumed musical genius of easily one of the four Mount Rushmore faces on Rock & Roll Greats summit.
Another piece of evidence? During Led Zeppelin’s North American Tour, guess who opened for the band? Yeah, that’s going to leave a mark.