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  #1  
Old 27 October 2014, 06:05 AM
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Icon106 Did Led Zeppelin Plagiarize 'Stairway'? A Penn. Judge Will Decide

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Everyone who knows rock 'n' roll knows the opening riff to Led Zeppelin's 1971 hit "Stairway to Heaven." Play it side-by-side with the 1968 song "Taurus" by the band Spirit, and they sound almost the same.

The songs were released more than four decades ago, but just this week, a judge in Pennsylvania allowed a lawsuit about the issue to move forward.
http://www.npr.org/2014/10/26/358903...ge-will-decide
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  #2  
Old 27 October 2014, 06:51 AM
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The intro is very similar as well as some of the chord progressions. Once you have the chord progression the arpeggio is the intro. I guess the question is how unique was the chord progression. I wouldn't assume Zep stole it from the similarity either since they were both taking from similar backgrounds and you'll hear similar arpeggios and progressions going back -- for example some that came from Donovan, who many Zep members had played for. So it's easy to look back and say "too similar" but the songs didn't exist in a vacuum. One would have to listen to many similar songs of the time and just because this is the most similar one doesn't necessarily mean it was cribbed.

The NPR lead is extremely misleading, though. The songs themselves don't sound "almost the same" at all. Just a couple of many components. Anyone familiar with a wide variety of music from the time would recognize similar components from lots of of other songs as well.
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Old 27 October 2014, 01:05 PM
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There are additional factors in play here, besides similiar chord progressions.

1) Plaintiffs will be quick to point out that Led Zeppelin already has a history with plagerism with such songs as "Whole Lotta Love", "Black Mountain Side", "When the Levee Breaks", and "The Lemon Song". Some of these cases were settled out of court and/or songs were given co-credit to the original artists. Such as it is, this make Led Zeppelin a susceptable target in the "Stairway" case.

2) Led Zeppelin actually toured as an opening act for Spirit in 1968-69 (they even covered a couple of Spirit's songs, though I don't think "Taurus" was one of them). The song in question, "Taurus" was played as part of the set by Spirit during the tour. So an attempt will be made to find correlation of influence from the song based on their presence during the tour.


IMHO, while I see some similarities between the two songs, those similarities seem to cease beyond 4-5 opening chords in "Taurus". And even then there are differences in tempo and emphasis and a few notes in the arpeggio are higher in the chords in "Stairway". There is a fine line between plagerism and influence and I just don't see enough evidence based on the song alone to justify it in this case. Not that I don't think Jimmy Page was influenced in some way by the song, but it seems a stretch to claim plagerism even with Led Zeppelin's history of it.

I think it's just a cash grab.

Last edited by Dondi; 27 October 2014 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 27 October 2014, 03:57 PM
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Listening to "Taurus", I'd say if Spirit sues anyone it ought to be Pink Floyd over "Is there anybody out there?" but if Led Zepplin did plagiarize portions of the song, can you blame them? Stairways to heaven ain't cheap.
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  #5  
Old 27 October 2014, 06:28 PM
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Even the short excerpts in the article (presumably the most damning), they don't sound much alike at all. i listened to Taurus first to see if I "close my eyes" do I hear Stairway. Nope. Unlike "single notes plucked in a minor key" now means "exactly the same."
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  #6  
Old 27 October 2014, 07:18 PM
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It's obvious the Taurus claims are bull!
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  #7  
Old 27 October 2014, 07:31 PM
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Yes, I think it is tome for Spirit to give up the ghost.
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Old 27 October 2014, 07:40 PM
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This was probably a grave mistake on their part.
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Old 28 October 2014, 12:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Dave View Post
Yes, I think it is tome for Spirit to give up the ghost.
Not to interrupt a pun-off but, actually, the guy who they are suing for has been dead for 17 years.
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Old 28 October 2014, 01:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
I guess the question is how unique was the chord progression.
The guy who invented the "descending bassline" is going to be very rich one day...

My first reaction was that there must be other songs that use the same one. I can't immediately think of them, but a descending scale must be less unique ::dons dictionary helmet:: than other kinds of sequence.
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  #11  
Old 28 October 2014, 01:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Not to interrupt a pun-off but, actually, the guy who they are suing for has been dead for 17 years.
Ah! Zombies!
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  #12  
Old 28 October 2014, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Embra View Post
The guy who invented the "descending bassline" is going to be very rich one day...
Not to mention the first person to use each note.

Come to that, I hope you've got permission from the copyright holders to use the words "The", "guy", "who" and so on in your post... Er, I'm just off now to get permission for all the words in mine.
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  #13  
Old 22 June 2016, 04:55 PM
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Judge Led Zeppelin Singer Claims Foggy Memory in 'Stairway to Heaven' Lawsuit

Closing arguments are scheduled Wednesday in the federal copyright infringement lawsuit that claims Led Zeppelin stole its biggest hit "Stairway to Heaven" from the late Randy Wolfe, also known as Randy California, founder of the band Spirit.

http://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/m...memory-n596786
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  #14  
Old 23 June 2016, 12:46 PM
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The beginnings of each song do sound like they were separated at birth, but how many other rock tunes--or any genre--repeat bars/notes/keys? The only other case I can think of is My Sweet Lord/He's So Fine, but IIRC that was an honest mistake. What I'm trying to say is: is there a point at which all sound sequences have been used at least once? Seems to me that at some point you will hear repeats if that is indeed the case.
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  #15  
Old 23 June 2016, 07:06 PM
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I just heard that Zeppelin DID NOT plagiarize the spirit song.
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  #16  
Old 23 June 2016, 08:01 PM
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You heard correctly, according to the court.
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  #17  
Old 23 June 2016, 08:36 PM
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To my way of thinking, there is a fair similarity in melody between some parts of The Beatles Octopus's Garden and Ronnie Milsap's Back on My Mind Again.
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  #18  
Old 24 June 2016, 12:03 AM
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Hot dog! It's a celebration day. Seems there was just a communication breakdown, and someone was dazed and confused about the song's origins.

Sorry.
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  #19  
Old 24 June 2016, 11:46 AM
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You punsters! Your time is gonna come, and when the levee breaks, there will be no quarter, and all you'll have to look forward to is the gallows pole.
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  #20  
Old 24 June 2016, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crius of CoH View Post
You punsters! Your time is gonna come, and when the levee breaks, there will be no quarter, and all you'll have to look forward to is the gallows pole.
I hate to ramble on but I think it would have been a black dog, I mean black day if they had been found guilty.
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