Led Zeppelin Could Settle Their “Stairway to Heaven” Lawsuit for Just a Buck… but There’s a Catch


You may recall that the band Spirit recently filed a lawsuit against Led Zeppelin, claiming Zep’s “Stairway to Heaven” was ripped-off from their own tune, “Taurus.” Obviously, this is a big deal, because “Stairway” isn’t just Led Zeppelin’s most famous song — it’s one of the most famous songs of all time, a defining moment in pop culture history.

So this news presents the Led Zep entity with something of a Sophie’s Choice. From Bloomboig:

“Lawyers suing members of rock supergroup Led Zeppelin say their client is willing to settle a lawsuit over the band’s most famous song–a claim potentially worth millions of dollars–for just $1.

“The catch is that band members Robert Plant and Jimmy Page would have to give dead rocker Randy California a writing credit on the iconic 1971 rock ballad Stairway to Heaven. And that’s probably worth a lot more than a buck. Such an agreement by Page and Plant, the band’s guitarist and singer, respectively, would head off a much anticipated copyright infringement trial scheduled for May 10 in Los Angeles federal court.”

In monetary terms, such a settlement would entitle the estate of California (né Skidmore) to future earings from the song, which will add up to gazillions of bajillions dollars.

In philosophical terms, such a settlement would have a consequence arguably even worse: as an admission of plagiarism — even a potentially insincere one — it would be a permanent blemish on Led Zeppelin’s legacy.

Do the living members of Zep care about the money? I would imagine they’re all sufficiently rich at this point that their great, great, great grandchildren will still never need to work — but just because they don’t need the money doesn’t mean they don’t care about the money.

Do the living members of Zep care about their legacies? Honestly I have no idea — Page and Plant and JPJ could just be like “Oh whatever the sun is going to die and no one will remember we were here so nothing we do really matters outside of our own immediate gratification.”

But my gut tells me that, for one reason or they other, they won’t take this settlement.

I guess we’ll see!

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