Last Friday, U.S. district judge Gary Klausner ruled that Led Zeppelin’s classic 1971 single “Stairway to Heaven” sounds similar enough to Spirit’s 1967 recording “Taurus” to move forward with a trial. This ruling comes after a lawsuit was issued by Michael Skidmore, a trustee for Spirit’s guitarist and the man who composed “Taurus,” the late Randy Wolfe.
The trial is scheduled to begin on May 10. A jury will have the responsibility of deciding whether or not Zeppelin’s lead singer Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page are liable for copyright infringement. As shocking as this claim may be to many loyal Zeppelin fans, it appears that this is unfortunately not the first time the legendary group has been in hot water for similar accusations.
According to claims by Skidmore, it is believed that Page and Plant may have been inspired by “Taurus” but never gave any credit to Wolfe for what has become one of Zeppelin’s most famous records. Zeppelin’s defense claims that Wolfe was actually a hired songwriter, and that the short riff in question was too common to need any copyright protection.
Listen to Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” and Spirit’s “Taurus” below to decide for yourself.