Anorak | Led Zeppelin Sued For ‘Stairway’ Rip-Off – Hear The Evidence

Led Zeppelin Sued For ‘Stairway’ Rip-Off – Hear The Evidence

by | 21st, May 2014

PA 4074500 Led Zeppelin Sued For Stairway Rip Off   Hear The Evidence

Leadsinger Robert Plant of the British rock band Led Zeppelin performs at the Live Aid concert at Philadelphia’s J.F.K. Stadium, on July 13, 1985. (AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy)


TO crate diggers and muso-nerds, this won’t be news at all, but to the occasional rock fan, you may not know that Led Zeppelin’s iconic ‘Stairway To Heaven’ has been accused of being a rip-off for quite some time.

And now, someone is suing the band over it.

Zep just so happen to be on the cusp of re-releasing their first three albums, which is handy as ‘Stairway’ is on the fourth and they might have to change the songwriting credits if they lose the case.

So what’s the craic?

Well, a lawyer representing the trust for Randy California, late (and brilliant) guitarist for the band Spirit, claims Zeppelin stole the intro for ‘Stairway to Heaven’ from Spirit’s ’68 instrumental track ‘Taurus.’

Here it is.


Now, the similarity is striking, although, ‘Stairway’ has a long more song than the intro.

However, there are photographs of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant sat in the front row of a Spirit concert, so they were clearly fans. And what with California, who died in 1997, writing the lick three years before the release of Zep IV, there might well be a case.

Have a listen to the Zep track, should you need reminding.



The case is coming to light thanks to bass player Mark Andes and California’s trust, who have hired Philadelphia-based attorney Francis Alexander Malofiy and they want a song-writing credit.

Vernon Silver wrote in Businessweek: “California doesn’t seem to have griped about Stairway’s genesis, at least publicly, for decades. Finally, citing the gigs they played together, California told journalist Jeff McLaughlin in the winter 1997 issue of Listener magazine that Led Zeppelin had filched his song. “I’d say it was a ripoff,” California said. “And the guys made millions of bucks on it and never said ‘Thank you,’ never said, ‘Can we pay you some money for it?’ It’s kind of a sore point with me. Maybe someday their conscience will make them do something about it.”

Randy California’s riffs have been seeping through the ether for a while now, despite being largely forgotten outside of muso-circles.

His song, ‘Fresh Garbage’ was the basis for Pink’s ‘Feel Good Time’, which was a giganto smash. And garage fans will invariably know Randy’s excellent ‘I Got A Line On You


Posted: 21st, May 2014 | In: Music Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink