A U.S. District Court Judge in California, ruled there is enough evidence to move forward with a trial to decide whether Led Zeppelin and guitarist Jimmy Page unfairly appropriated the iconic opening guitar “riff” in “Stairway to Heaven,” from the Spirit song “Taurus,” which was recorded four years before the Led Zeppelin classic was released. The plaintiff alleges that members of Led Zeppelin, had opportunities to become familiar with Spirit’s music before the release of “Stairway to Heaven,” because the two bands “performed at the same venue on the same day at least three times between 1968 and 1970.”
The lawsuit, which was filed in a Philadelphia court back in 2014, was moved to California, to the same court that recently ruled in favor of the estate of Marvin Gaye in its copyright infringement lawsuit over the song “Blurred Lines” in 2013.
The trial over “Stairway to Heaven” is set to begin on May 10. A favorable verdict, could bring the plaintiff, the estate of Randy Wolfe, co-writing credits and a share of the song’s profits which by 2008, were reportedly in the range of $562 million.
This is not the first time Led Zeppelin has been accused of copyright infringement. A lawsuit was filed and subsequently dismissed, at the plaintiff’s request in 2012, over the recording “Dazed and Confused.”