To Jimmy Page, the song remains the same. The Led Zeppelin guitarist has tersely rejected the recently reported claim that his band copied its 1971 classic-rock touchstone "Stairway to Heaven" from the Los Angeles band Spirit, their former tourmates. "Ridiculous," he called the charges in French publication Liberation, according to an online translator (via CoS). "I have no further comment on the subject."
Bloomberg Businessweek recently reported that a lawsuit was in the works claiming the iconic "Stairway to Heaven" guitar opening infringed on Spirit's 1968 instrumental "Taurus," which you can hear below. Spirit and Zeppelin toured together in 1968 and 1969, and "Taurus" was very much on the setlist. The lawsuit would benefit the estate of late Spirit guitarist Randy California. Original Spirit bassist Mark Andes was also involved.
The fate of the "Stairway to Heaven" copyright claim is unclear. Last week, the attorney preparing the lawsuit, Francis Malofiy, received a scathing rebuke in the dismissal of a separate complaint, this one against Usher. The judge in the case called Malofiy's behavior "sexist," "abusive," "flagrantly unprofessional," "offensive," "vexatious," and "unreasonable." Wrote the judge, "Whether Malofiy should be removed from practice is a question properly answered in another forum."
On a related note, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Kinney's new Bob Dylan book The Dylanologists: Adventures in the Land of Bob explores the relationship between creativity and borrowing (hint: they've always been pretty close).