Shitstorm Imminent: Led Zeppelin Might Have Stolen “Stairway to Heaven”
You read that headline right. Now take a deep breath and continue on, brave reader.
In 2014, lesser-known band Spirit filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Led Zeppelin, claiming Zep stole the main riff of “Stairway to Heaven” from Spirit’s song “Taurus.” Now, according to Metal Insider, a Los Angeles judge has ruled that the two songs are indeed enough alike for the case to go to trial, asserting that a jury could find “substantial” similarities between them.
As ridiculous as that may seem, the two songs actually do sound a little bit similar — but in this drunken blogger’s opinion, not similar enough to warrant copyright infringement. Both songs use the same minor chord and descending bass line, but the notes in “Taurus” are ascending and the notes in “Stairway” are descending. They sound similar in a way that someone could hear one song and be reminded of the other, but certainly not in a blatant plagiarism sort of way. If that doesn’t make sense, you can watch the video of a slightly creepy dude explaining it below.
If this trial somehow finds that Zeppelin stole the song, it will brew the musical shitstorm of our time. It will also allow the guy who wrote the first breakdown to sue every other band who wrote a breakdown on the grounds that everything else was an uncredited remix. Does that sound fun? No it does not.