Are Led Zeppelin Rip-Off Artists? You Be the Judge.
As Led Zeppelin get ready to release reissues of their first three albums on June 3, a lawyer representing late Spirit guitarist Randy California (who died in 1997) is claiming Zeppelin stole the intro for their 1971 single “Stairway to Heaven” from Spirit’s 1968 song “Taurus.”
Attorney Francis Alexander Molofiy wants to prevent the release of the Led Zeppelin IV reissue when the time comes, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.
“The idea behind this is to make sure that Randy California is given a writing credit on ‘Stairway to Heaven,’” Malofiy said. “It’s been a long time coming.”
Led Zeppelin and Spirit played four gigs together in 1968 and 1969 (shows at which Businessweek claims Spirit played “Taurus”). In an interview with Listener magazine published the year of his death, California said he felt “Stairway to Heaven” was a “rip-off.”
“The guys made millions of bucks on it and never said ‘Thank you,’ never said, ‘Can we pay you some money for it?’” he said. “It’s kind of a sore point with me. Maybe someday their conscience will make them do something about it.”
Spirit and California’s family have waited until now to challenge the song’s authorship because they did not have the means to pay attorneys. At the end of California’s life, California was so poor, he would play sitar at an Indian restaurant in exchange for food.
Here are the two songs… What do you think? Did Led Zeppelin rip off Spirit?
Here is our on air converstion from The Boris and Robyn Show…