LOS ANGELES: A Los Angeles jury will determine whether Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” one of the most recognizable songs in rock history, was stolen.
A representative of Spirit, a Los Angeles psychedelic band that enjoyed a niche following but never the superstardom of Led Zeppelin, said the song’s famous opening melancholy guitar line was lifted from its instrumental track “Taurus.”
After two years of legal proceedings, a judge stopped short of agreeing that the song was copied but said there was enough of a case for a jury trial, which was scheduled for May 10.
The judge said the two sides had “vehemently contested” the question of whether Led Zeppelin had access to 1967’s “Taurus” before recording “Stairway to Heaven” in London in December 1970 and January 1971.
Led Zeppelin argued that the opening of “Stairway to Heaven” had been used in music for centuries.
The judge disagreed, writing that the two songs had additional similarities including the bass line.
The lawsuit, which seeks damages, comes amid a rise in such copyright cases, with the family of Marvin Gaye last year controversially winning more than $7 million from a jury over the song “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams.
The measure, signed last week by Republican Governor Phil Bryant and set to take effect July 1, allows officials and businesses to deny marriage-related services to gay people or refuse to employ them if they feel it would violate their religious beliefs.
Similar measures have popped up in other states since the US Supreme Court legalized gay marriage across the nation in June 2015.