'Stairway to Heaven' Copyright Claim Heads to Court

By Gary Cutlack on at

After decades of people being mildly shocked that the intro of one song sounds a bit like the intro of another song, it's finally being made official -- a court will decide if Led Zep really did steal a chunk of one of their most famous releases from another band way back at the end of the 1960s.

The case has been brought by the estate of the late guitarist Randy Wolfe, who, as a member of the band Spirit, came up with a song called Taurus in 1967. Taurus therefore pre-dates Robert Plant and Jimmy Page's Stairway to Heaven by five years, and sounds like this:

Whereas Stairway to Heaven sounds like this, as if anyone needs telling:

US District Judge R. Gary Klausner has decided there's enough similarity between the descending chord sequences of the first minute and a bit of each to let the case go to trial, with the particularly damning evidence as far as YouTube commenters who've already decided being that Zep and Spirit played together on the same bill at some points between 1967 and 1972, when Stairway was released. [Stereogum]

Image credit: Led Zeppelin from Shutterstock

Want more updates from Gizmodo UK? Make sure to check out our @GizmodoUK Twitter feed, and our Facebook page.