Community Public Discussion

topic of discussion

Did Led Zeppelin Steal 'Stairway To Heaven' From The Song 'Taurus' By Spirit?

3
Posted 2014-05-21T21:08:40.0Z (edited 2014-05-21T23:08:50.0Z) by Team MusicLessons.com11,630
  • V.I.P.
  • Teacher

This last week it has come to light that a lawyer representing deceased Spirit guitarist Randy California is claiming that Led Zeppelin stole the intro for  "Stairway to Heaven" from Spirit's song "Taurus." Attorney Francis Alexander Malofiy is seeking to prevent the release of the upcoming Led Zeppelin IV reissue later this year unless Randy California is given a writing credit on 'Stairway to Heaven. 

Compare the two songs, there definitely is a similarity, but do you think it's enough to claim that Randy California deserves credit?

You can also compare the chord progressions of these two rock songs with the chords for My Funny Valentine written in 1937 by Rogers and Heart. Do Rogers and Heart also deserve a credit on 'Stairway To Heaven'?

Listen to the three songs here: 

http://go-ml.com/1mZDt2e

 

Do you think the song was stolen? Do you think Randy California deserves credit for 'Stairway To Heaven'?

 

Comments:

Replies

Date | Votes
Reply — Posted 2014-05-22T18:22:27.0Z
2
JP12,899
  • V.I.P.
  • Teacher

From what I understand, it's the intro to Stairway that's in dispute, which is just a Line Cliche, used in tons of popular songs. According to Forbes, the likely conclusion will be a settlement, which would be unfortunate.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/oliverherzfeld/2014/05/21/spirit-v-led-zeppelin-analysis-of-the-stairway-to-heaven-infringement-lawsuit/

I believe that musicians will benefit from this being argued in the courts. Is it just me, or am I being overly optimistic that the Minor Cliche cannot be copyrighted? How can we get Led Zeppelin to fight this?

Comments:

Reply — Posted 2014-05-22T22:06:22.0Z
2
Jeff E13,406
  • V.I.P.
  • Teacher

I like to see them take it to court.

I have always been under the impression that chord progressions are not copyrightable. After doing a bit of google research I've found that that isn't exactly true, but in order to successfully copyright a chord progression you'd have to come up with an entirely new, unique progression. That absolutely is not the case here. The chords in question here ( Amin, Amin/maj7, amin7) are so common that, as JP noted, they are called a line CLICHE!  If this case was being judged on that basis alone, Randy California, author of "Taurus" would be vulnerable to copyright lawsuits from countless other writers. 

Unfortunately for Led Zeppelin it appears that, according to the article JP posted above, this case would probably be decided, not on expert testimony, (a musician explaining chord theory to a jury) but on whether the two songs are substantially similar to the ears of ordinary members of the jury.  It probably won't help Zeppelin that they have already been to court several times over similar allegations.

Comments:

Reply — Posted 2014-05-22T23:02:47.0Z
3
Jack L1,031
  • V.I.P.

 IMO, it's quite possible that it was lifted considering the timing and tour exposure, but so what? Is there "really" anything "original"? I don't agree with the majority of people who support intellectual property rights. Definitely not the same exact song per se, but that descending omnibus progression is there, no question about that.

Comments:

Reply — Posted 2014-05-23T02:21:36.0Z (edited 2014-05-23T03:00:36.0Z)
3
JP12,899
  • V.I.P.
  • Teacher

Intellectual Property (IP) is a complicated issue. Specific to art/music, I like how it protects original works of art from being ripped off. But vulchers will always circle when opportunity arrives. The recent supreme court decision that provides additional time to bring a copyright law suit (http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielfisher/2014/05/19/unusual-split-as-supreme-court-upholds-raging-bull-suit-vs-mgm/) is the latest rot that the vulchers have found, and is the catalyst of this this suit.

The question is, should chord progressions be protected? What about Hang Up Your Hang Ups by Herbie Hancock http://go-ml.com/SpNaM6. The chord progression is very unique and I might argue yes if taken as a whole. What about parts of the entire progression? It depends on how much. And what about Watermellon Man? http://go-ml.com/SpNsCz The chords are simple, so in its entirety, probably not. But the sounds and melodies are unique and represent an original piece, especially the head.

Like I said, its complicated. How much of a chord progression (if any) should be protected? And what about Line Cliche? It would be silly to protect this!

Comments:

Reply — Posted 2014-05-24T15:04:52.0Z
2
Stan W1,561
  • V.I.P.
  • Teacher

Thieves! Why should this time be any different?

https://www.musiclessons.com/youtube/share/?v=JyvLsutfI5M,zThdTAWQFAQ&t=Plagiarism%20By%20Led%20Zeppelin%3F%20No%20Way%20Dude%21

Comments:

  • Wow... all I can say is that they must have all be stoned out of their minds!JP 2014-06-04T15:18:38.0Z
    0

This is a public discussion forum. Any member can post a reply or a comment.

Discuss Music

Community Public Forum

This public discussion forum is being moderated by MusicLessons.com.

Thread Information

  • 3,195
  • 2014-05-21T21:08:40.0Z
  • 2014-06-04T15:18:38.0Z
  • 2014-05-21T23:08:50.0Z

  • Community Public Forum

  • Led Zeppelin,Stairway to Heaven,Taurus,Minor Line Cliche

You are not subscribed.

Related Questions & Discussions:

Awesome Videos

Wednesday February 28, 2018

A wonderful Acapella Tribute to Bob Marley - Could You Be Loved

What an amazing to watch, beautiful tribute to Bob! This awesome a capella version of Bob Marley's 'Could You Be Loved' was made by Israeli musicians in honor of what would have been the late Marley's 70th Birthday. - Open Video

Your message was sent!

The tag was not found in our tag library.

Earn 20 points if the tag is accepted into our public tag library for everyone to use. You can start using it now by submitting this form.

Only suggest tags that you think are useful for searching and are relevant to the subject of music.

Important: If your suggestion is considered to be offensive or SPAM, you will lose points and/or be prevented from doing anything on this site.