Jury to decide whether 'Stairway to Heaven' riff is lifted - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Jury to decide whether 'Stairway to Heaven' riff is lifted

Posted: Updated:
In this July 13, 1985 file photo, singer Robert Plant, left, and guitarist Jimmy Page of the British rock band Led Zeppelin perform at the Live Aid concert at Philadelphia's J.F.K. Stadium. In this July 13, 1985 file photo, singer Robert Plant, left, and guitarist Jimmy Page of the British rock band Led Zeppelin perform at the Live Aid concert at Philadelphia's J.F.K. Stadium.
This Oct. 9, 2012 file photo shows Led Zeppelin members, from left, Jason Bonham, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones at the "Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day" premiere in New York. This Oct. 9, 2012 file photo shows Led Zeppelin members, from left, Jason Bonham, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones at the "Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day" premiere in New York.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Generations of aspiring guitarists have tried to copy the riff from Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven."

Starting on Tuesday, a Los Angeles court will try to decide whether the members of Led Zeppelin themselves ripped off the riff.

The band's guitarist Jimmy Page and singer Robert Plant are named as defendants in the lawsuit brought by the trustee of guitarist Randy Wolfe from the band Spirit. Attorneys for the trustee contend that 1971's "Stairway to Heaven" copies music from the Spirit song "Taurus," which Wolfe wrote in either 1966 or 1967. Wolfe died in 1997, drowning while saving his son in Hawaii.

Page, Plant and their bandmate John Paul Jones are all expected to testify at the trial, though Jones has been dismissed as a defendant in the case.

Led Zeppelin and Spirit performed at some concerts and festivals around the same time, but not on the same stage.

U.S District Judge R. Gary Klausner ruled in April that evidence presented in hearings made a credible case that Led Zeppelin may have heard "Taurus" performed before their song was created.

Francis Alexander Malofiy, attorney for Wolfe's trustee Michael Skidmore, said while many copyright cases are an uphill battle, Klausner's ruling brings his client one step closer to getting Wolfe credit for helping create one of the most recognizable song introductions in rock history.

Led Zeppelin's attorneys argued that both "Stairway to Heaven" and "Taurus" use notes and combinations that have been circulating in music for centuries.

The song has generated hundreds of millions of dollars over the years. Wolfe's attorneys overcame statute-of-limitations hurdles to sue over "Stairway to Heaven" because the song was remastered and re-released in 2014.

The lawsuit also came after a high-profile victory last year when a federal jury found that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams had copied a Marvin Gaye song to create their 2013 hit, "Blurred Lines" and awarded Gaye's children $7.4 million.

A judge trimmed the award, and the verdict is under appeal, but the decision appears to have prompted a surge in copyright-infringement filings.

The same attorney who represented Gaye's family filed another suit last week in Los Angeles saying Ed Sheeran's 2014 song "Photograph" is too similar to the 2009 song "Amazing" written by Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.

  • Entertainment NewsEntertainment NewsMore>>

  • Las Vegas strike would have far-reaching effect

    Las Vegas strike would have far-reaching effect

    Wednesday, May 23 2018 10:22 PM EDT2018-05-24 02:22:24 GMT
    (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken). Culinary Union members file into a university arena to vote on whether to authorize a strike Tuesday, May 22, 2018, in Las Vegas.  A potential strike would affect 34 casino-hotels. A majority yes vote would not immediately aff...(AP Photo/Isaac Brekken). Culinary Union members file into a university arena to vote on whether to authorize a strike Tuesday, May 22, 2018, in Las Vegas. A potential strike would affect 34 casino-hotels. A majority yes vote would not immediately aff...
    Tens of thousands of casino employees could walk off the job for the first time in more than three decades after union members voted to authorize a strike at any time starting June 1. 
    Tens of thousands of casino employees could walk off the job for the first time in more than three decades after union members voted to authorize a strike at any time starting June 1. 
  • California's West Hollywood declares 'Stormy Daniels Day'

    California's West Hollywood declares 'Stormy Daniels Day'

    Wednesday, May 23 2018 10:12 PM EDT2018-05-24 02:12:12 GMT
    City leaders to declare 'Stormy Daniels Day' in West Hollywood, California. 
    City leaders to declare 'Stormy Daniels Day' in West Hollywood, California. 
  • Minneapolis diners throw water at conservative Tomi Lahren

    Minneapolis diners throw water at conservative Tomi Lahren

    Wednesday, May 23 2018 10:04 PM EDT2018-05-24 02:04:48 GMT
    (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Invision/AP, File). FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2017, file photo, conservative commentator Tomi Lahren attends Politicon in Pasadena, Calif. Lahren says she is disheartened and embarrassed that a patron threw water on her at a M...(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Invision/AP, File). FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2017, file photo, conservative commentator Tomi Lahren attends Politicon in Pasadena, Calif. Lahren says she is disheartened and embarrassed that a patron threw water on her at a M...
    Conservative commentator Tomi Lahren says she is disheartened and embarrassed that a patron threw water on her at a Minneapolis restaurant. 
    Conservative commentator Tomi Lahren says she is disheartened and embarrassed that a patron threw water on her at a Minneapolis restaurant. 
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 Midwest Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.