Led Zeppelin face legal action over claims of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ plagiarism

A lawyer is set to pursue them on behalf of a band called Spirit

Led Zeppelin look set to face legal action over claims that their 1971 song ‘Stairway to Heaven’ copied a 1968 track by a band called Spirit.

Lawyer Francis Alexander Molofiy is attempting to block the forthcoming re-release of ‘Led Zeppelin IV’, stating that his client – the late Randy California, who played guitar in Spirit – should be given a writing credit on the track, as it resembles Spirit’s 1968 song ‘Taurus’, reports Rolling Stone. He has said he will be seeking a copyright infringement lawsuit.

“The idea behind this is to make sure that Randy California is given a writing credit on ‘Stairway to Heaven,'” said Malofiy to Bloomberg Businessweek. “Its been a long time coming.”

Mark Andes of Spirit says Led Zeppelin would have heard ‘Taurus’ when the two bands were on tour together in the late 1960s. “…it would typically come after a big forceful number and always got a good response. They would have seen it in that context,” he said. Speaking about the time lapse between the alleged plagiarism and legal action, he added: “The clarity seems to be a present-day clarity, not at the time of infringement. I can’t explain it. It is fairly blatant, and note for note. It would just be nice if the Led Zeppelin guys gave Randy a little nod. That would be lovely.” California’s family stated that they waited so long to take legal action as they could not previously afford it.

Rolling Stone says that a representative for the band has refused to comment on the case. The band will reissue their first three albums next month. Meanwhile, Jimmy Page has recently said that he is ‘fed up’ with Robert Plant for delaying Led Zeppelin reunion plans. The band last played together in December 2007 at London’s 02 Arena, but singer Robert Plant has ruled out the possibility of a follow-up concert any time soon.

In a recent interview with the BBC about the forthcoming reissue of the band’s first three albums, guitarist Jimmy Page said he was sure fans would be keen on another reunion show, but Plant has since said the chances of it happening are “zero”. Now, Page has told The New York Times that he is “fed up” with Plant’s refusal to play.

Page said: “I was told last year that Robert Plant said he is doing nothing in 2014, and what do the other two guys think? Well, he knows what the other guys think. Everyone would love to play more concerts for the band. He’s just playing games, and I’m fed up with it, to be honest with you. I don’t sing, so I can’t do much about it.”

He emphasised how keen he was to play with Led Zeppelin again, commenting: “I definitely want to play live. Because, you know, I’ve still got a twinkle in my eye. I can still play. So, yeah, I’ll just get myself into musical shape, just concentrating on the guitar.”

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