Is “Stairway to Heaven” a ripoff? U.S. jury to decide

A U.S. jury will decide if Robert Plant and Jimmy Page cribbed the iconic opening melody of “Stairway to Heaven,” NBC reports.

Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin perform live in Atlanta in May 1977. AJC file photo: Rick Diamond

Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin perform live in Atlanta in May 1977. AJC file photo: Rick Diamond

The scheduled May 10 trial follows a suit filed in Los Angeles by the trustee for the late Randy Wolfe, a guitarist for a band called Spirit. He was the composer for a piece called “Taurus.” Check it out .. sound familiar?

The suit alleges that “Stairway” was inspired by “Taurus” but that Wolfe never received any credit. Led Zeppelin and Spirit toured together back in the day.

From NBC:

“The defendants said Wolfe was a songwriter-for-hire who had no copyright claim, and that the chord progressions were so clichéd that they did not deserve copyright protection.

But the judge said a jury could find “substantial” similarity between the first two minutes of “Stairway” and “Taurus,” which he called “arguably the most recognizable and important segments” of the songs.”

Indeed, while a jury will decide whether “Stairway’s” opening chords were a clip job, it’s hard to argue whether they’re anything less than recognizable:

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