In what appears to have been a clear case of heirs with too much money and not enough musical sense, Led Zep has been cleared of plagiarizing Spirit’s “Taurus” in its “Stairway to Heaven.”
This typifies what happens all too often when no-talent, no-clue heirs inherit money and rights. (I had a somewhat similar dismal encounter with George Orwell’s idiot heirs ages ago, while compiling The Heretic’s Handbook of Quotations.)
Getting back to the case in point, when I first heard about this lawsuit, my reaction was “What The Fuck?!” (I have a degree in music theory/comp, have played rock and blues for decades, and am quite familiar with both songs.) The only remotely similar thing in the two songs is the descending chord pattern maybe 30 seconds into “Taurus,” which has been around for hundreds of years. The melody notes and exact chords are at best remotely similar.
So, good for Led Zep. They’re not thieves, and they were a very good band. I’t’s highly ironic that they’d be sued on threadbare grounds over what is quite likely their worst song.
As a sad coda, it’s simply awful that, because of clueless heirs, Spirit will be remembered for this industrial strength legal stupidity. They were a great band and deserve to be remembered for their music, not this heir-fueled obnoxious idiocy.
If you have some time to burn, listen to their “Fresh Garbage” LP or their “The 12 Dreams of Doctor Sardonicus” LP. Spirit was hugely popular in Southern California and Arizona in the late ’60s and early ’70s, and deservedly so. If you’ve never heard of ’em, check ’em out — you won’t be disappointed.