The legendary rock band Led Zeppelin has been accused of stealing another band’s riff for one of the most famous Zeppelin tunes of all.
A lawyer representing Randy California, the deceased guitarist from a band “Spirit,’’ that played four shows with Led Zeppelin in the late 1960’s, claims the introduction of “Stairway to Heaven’’ was lifted from Spirit’s 1968 song, “Taurus,’’ a Rolling Stone report said.
From Rolling Stone:
Led Zeppelin and Spirit, who had a hit with "I Got a Line on You," played four gigs together in 1968 and 1969 (shows at which Businessweek claims Spirit played "Taurus"). Led Zeppelin also reportedly played a medley of songs that included Spirit's "Fresh-Garbage" - a song that appeared on the same LP side as "Taurus" - on their first U.S. tour.
In an interview with Listener magazine published the year of his death, California said he felt "Stairway to Heaven" was a "rip-off." "The guys made millions of bucks on it and never said 'Thank you,' never said, 'Can we pay you some money for it?'" he said. "It's kind of a sore point with me. Maybe someday their conscience will make them do something about it."
The accusations come ahead of the release of reissues for Led Zeppelin’s first three albums. The lawyer is hoping to block the release of a reissue of the group’s fourth album, when that time comes, since “Stairway to Heaven’’ appeared on that fourth disc.
Watch the videos below to compare the songs. First, Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.’’
Second, Spirit’s “Taurus.’’