(Courtroom sketch: Bill Robles)
It’s highly unlikely this is the first you’ve heard that Led Zeppelin was being sued for plagiarism for “Stairway to Heaven”.
More precisely, the intro which was said to be a copy of “Taurus” by Spirit.
Take a moment to compare the two in the video provided below.
There are two schools of thought on plagiarism.
“Taking something from one man and making it worse is plagiarism.” – George A. Moore (Irish novelist)
We’ve all heard “Stairway to Heaven” a thousand times before, and as such, a lot of people consider it to be overrated despite it’s obvious greatness. Just because you have a different favorite Zeppelin song doesn’t mean Spirit’s influence on Jimmy Page resulted in the creation of an inferior (or worse) song.
“Influence” brings us to our second school of thought:
“…influence is used as a nice word for plagiarism” – Gilbert Gottfried
Granted, Gilbert is a comedian, but is he wrong?
Despite calling the plagiarism claims “ridiculous”, guitarist Jimmy Page acknowledged that, being a fan of Spirit, it’s possible their music may have influenced “Stairway to Heaven”.
A Los Angeles jury saw it the same way and came back with a verdict of “not guilty” in the the plagiarism case against Robert Plant and Jimmy Page.