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Did Led Zeppelin Ripoff ‘Stairway To Heaven’ Riff?

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Led Zeppelin in 1969 (Courtesy of Atlantic Records)

Led Zeppelin in 1969 (Courtesy of Atlantic Records)

kearthevents Britt Bickel
Web Producer |
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There’s a big controversy brewing over one of the most notable rock tracks ever recorded. Now 43 years after the release of their quintessential 1971 rock hit “Stairway To Heaven,” the members of Led Zeppelin are being taken to court for allegedly ripping off the iconic guitar riff at the beginning of the song.

The estate of Randy California, guitarist and writer from the English rock band Spirit, has filed a lawsuit claiming that the opening notes of “Stairway” mimics a similar chord progression of the band’s 1968 song “Taurus.”

According to our sister site Radio.com, “Spirit opened for Zeppelin for a few U.S. show in 1969 and the band’s bassist Mark Andes says they played “Taurus” during those sets. Jimmy Page has said he wrote “Stairway” in 1970.” Read more about the lawsuit here.

So why wait so many years after the release of “Stairway” to file a lawsuit? California reportedly did not want to file a lawsuit over the song, but passed away in 1997. Also, according to Spirit’s manager Mick Skidmore, other band members didn’t file because  “nobody had any money, and they thought the statute of limitations was done.”

Take a listen to the two tracks back to back in the clip below and tell us if you think the two songs sound alike.

Led Zeppelin

K-EARTH 101

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