The things we do for love
It’s been over 50 years since the band Spirit released “Taurus” which is a short orchestrated introductory musical piece. For over 7 years, the Randy California estate owners have been involved in a law suit that names Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to heaven as music that was derived from the Spirit tune.
[Note this article has been edited and updated 3 times in the last few years in order to reflect the courts decision. Please forgive the use of passive phraseology.]
I’ve read dozens of comments on Youtube and other sites, and Led Zeppelin lovers seem to get very angry over this. Spirit lovers don’t say much. I can understand why they don’t because I love the old Spirit music and I’m lucky to have several of the old LP’s. Spirit is mellow, it’s moving, most of their music is a sophisticated mixture of Rock N’ Roll and Jazz elements, and all of it is in a sense – Spiritual.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Zeppelin, but I also have read about numerous similar law-suits involving Zeppelin.
Does this mean they stole Spirits work? Actually…Maybe. But you have to listen very close to the Spirit tune, and then compare it to the Zepp tune. But that’s the kicker. Because when this was first brought to court, the jury did not listen to the music! They looked at sheet music. Come on man! You have to have a full understanding of composition to “see” the similarities in the music in question.
And I admit, without listening closely my first impression was that Zeppelin did not steal Spirits music. And I say that as a Spirit fan. From my first impression, if Zepp did anything more than be inspired, my thinking was, let the court decide if a writing credit or money will be the fix. Another thought…
I have to say that I think the reason this lawsuit is happening is simply to give Randy California credit. Credit for being a great writer who is sometimes lost and forgotten in a sea of top forty favorites and classic oldies like Led Zeppelin.
It’s my opinion that sandy-toed Californian’s who were part of Randy California’s laid back lifestyle cherish the memories. And I’m guessing that they want Randy to be respected and loved for his accomplishments. And so…the reasons for the legal action.
Okay, now if you haven’t already watched it, check out the video/musical clip, (above) — un-fortunately it has an opinionated title by the author. Sorry I can’t control Youtube. I’ll try to find a better video comparison. (But to tell you the truth, I kinda agree with the Youtuber.
Note – 2020: In 2019 the courts did finally rule in the favor or the Spirit estate. And in the words of the Sensational Alex Harvey, I say “Hail Vibrania.” But seriously, I’m happy for the Spirit camp. – (c) DL as Mr. Know it all, the musical subgenius