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Led Zeppelin in 1970, Copyright: Getty Images
Image: Getty Images

US jury to decide if Led Zeppelin stole 'Stairway to Heaven'

June 14, 2016

It's one of the most widely recognized songs in rock music history. But was Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" stolen? Now a court in the US will have to decide.


Spirit, a Los Angeles-based psychedelic band, has claimed that "Stairway to Heaven" - one of the hits that shot Led Zeppelin to fame in 1971 - actually came from them.

Following a two-year legal battle, a Los Angeles court is set to decide on the case as of Tuesday (14.06.2016).

The case only involves Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page, who wrote the song. Bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones is not part of the claim.

According to the judge, Gary Klausner, Spirit's legal representative "failed to proffer evidence of striking similarity, but he has successfully created a triable issue of fact as to access and substantial similarity."

The Spirit song alleged to bear similarity to "Stairway to Heaven" is called "Taurus" and was recorded in 1967. Klausner said the question of whether Led Zeppelin had access to "Taurus" before recording their song in December 1970 and January 1971 had been hotly contested - but Zeppelin had been the opening act for Spirit during their 1968 US debut.

While Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe never took legal action, the current case, which seeks damages, was brought forth by a trustee for the late artist, who passed away in 1997.

A number of copyright cases have hit the music industry in recent years. The most prominent involved Marvin Gaye, who won over $7 million after claiming that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams borrowed from his work in the hit "Blurred Lines."

kbm/eg (dpa, AFP)

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