Jimmy Page Dismisses 'Stairway' Claim

Led Zeppelin guitarist describes Spirit lawsuit as "ridiculous."

Jimmy Page Dismisses 'Stairway' Claim
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Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page has dismissed claims that classic track "Stairway to Heaven" was taken from a Spirit song as "ridiculous," Classic Rock reports.

The American band's bassist Mark Andes last week launched a legal bid to have the upcoming Led Zep remasters blocked from release next month, insisting that the iconic opening riff from "Stairway" was stolen from their 1968 track "Taurus."

The claim isn't new - Spirit guitarist Randy California said before his death in 1997: "I'd say it was a rip-off. It's a sore point with me."

Page and Zep's label Warner Music originally refused to comment on the lawsuit. But Page has briefly broken his silence, telling Liberation in a terse comment: "That's ridiculous. I have no further comment on the subject."

The chances of Spirit being granted their day in court recently increased earlier this month after the US Court of Appeal ruled that the passage of time should have no automatic effect on copyright claims.

In the same interview, Page admits "Stairway" was the band's most difficult studio production, saying: "It was complicated - it was difficult to achieve the accelerating movement." But he adds light-heartedly: "It wasn't insurmountable for brilliant musicians like us!" He adds that "Achilles Last Stand" was the most challenging track to perform live.

27 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    biff022
    It is ridiculous. If Spirit was gonna write Stairway, they would've written it. You can't copyright a chord progression that virtually everyone who ever played guitar for a month stumbles upon while noodling.
    jmaraisdown
    What I always liked about Stairway was how the bass in the guitar always went down by a semitone to reach its destination and it sounds like these guys used that technique before Page decided to, but if I decided I wanted to write a song with a bass line that descends by half step I'll have a difficult time without ripping off either of these acts (or sounding like I am) so its just the same technique used in two different contexts. Which is what songwriters have to be able to work with. Imagine if you could get sued for using a I-IV-V or I-vi-IV-V progression! NO ONE would be writing songs at all because there would be nothing to do.
    Jacques Nel
    Even though the amount of songs that CAN be written are probably infinite, there are millions of songs sharing similar progressions. This is a stupid claim.
    Kangareuben
    Same scale + flutes = Exact song
    s7peterson
    It sounds similar, I'll give you that. But I don't think it's lawsuit-worthy.
    TheOnlyChance
    That scale + flutes + Spirit = some random old tune That scale + flutes + Zeppelin = one of the greatest songs of all-time Math really is easy kids!
    Jubilee13
    What most uninformed fans don't know is that Spirit opened up for Led Zeppelin in 1970 while they were touring Zepellin III. It is a well known fact that Page was influenced by the song Taurus. He loved Randy California and Spirit and said himself that he watched them every night before he went on.Trying to block the release of any Zep album over 40 years after the fact is foolish. However, what is not foolish is the fact that Page claims the songs sound nothing alike? It does not take a schooled musician to hear the similarities. Randy California went on record stating his displeasure about Stairway sounding like Taurus but no copyright infringement was ever granted. By this band member filing suit now is a joke and a obvious attempt at trying to extort money from Page.
    JNBloomy
    This song has it's similarities to Stairway but every song has it's similarities to something before it, maybe Jimmy Page was listening to it and subconsciously he wrote Stairway, but I'd say it's not an intentional copy and there's no way they can be sued for copyright infringements for the chord progression used, other than that it's nowhere near the same! However, http://www.firedrive.com/file/60F88B8239...
    Mephaphil
    Copyright infringement has very little to do with intent. If you've made a song and it sounds like someone else's they may well be able to successfully sue you. Subconscious or not, it doesn't matter.It sounds similar to me in lots of places. The chance to write such a intricate song that sounds similar to someone that you worked closely with (or toured with) has to be low, so the case here has to be explored.
    DaNiC700
    Just because you used an arpeggiated guitar (with different harmonic changes) and just because someone else used a similarly arpeggiated form for a small part of their song doesn't mean you can sue them.
    KerNeL_KLuTcH
    you can sue someone and win if you break into their house and get injured, because you were injured on their property and they are liable.
    badfish_lewis
    It is a ridiculous claim. Should The Cure sue Pearl Jam because Love Song and Crazy Mary have the same progression? Ridiculous
    ycj5420
    PJ didnt write Crazy Mary, its a Lucinda Williams song. Its funny you mention them though, because i remember Mr. Page taking exception and bitching about how Given to Fly was a rip off of Goin to California, funny how the shoe is on the other foot.
    ibanez124
    If that was the case RHCP owe Tom Petty a crap load of money. Dani California is the exact same chords and progression as LDwMJ
    Artturi
    Fanboys and haters: Search youtube for "led zeppelin plagiarism". Or simply "Dazed and Confused Original"
    TheOnlyChance
    Zeppelin DID write songs similar to others, but they improved upon them and exposed them to millions of listeners, something the previous artists could never have achieved... Hey should all be THANKING Zeppelin, not bitching because they suck at arrangement
    Artturi
    Zeppelin marked those songs down as being THEIRS, as if they were the ones who wrote those songs in the first place. That's not the same as rearranging a song for 'a cover'.
    TheOnlyChance
    I am well aware... I also don't think many people who really know about music care, because they made the songs better
    logicbdj
    I wrote a song (in my listings) that is the EXACT same tune as what can be found on the first Newsted album, and I had mine up a year previous to the album release. I doubt Jason Newsted heard my song, unless he's hanging out on this site. Just coincidence... it's happened to me before... I come up with a pretty catchy tune, and 1-2 years later I hear it elsewhere.