Iconic Rock Anthem "Stairway to Heaven" Sparks Copyright Dispute Surrounding Led Zeppelin in 2014
Renowned for their timeless rock compositions, Led Zeppelin finds themselves entangled in a legal battle over their legendary song, "Stairway to Heaven." This copyright infringement claim emerges on behalf of the late guitarist Randy California, who once shared the stage with Led Zeppelin during the 1960s. California's legal team asserts that he deserves recognition as a songwriter for the monumental 1971 track.
Bloomberg Businessweek reports that "Stairway to Heaven" amassed a staggering US$562 million in earnings by 2008. A contributing factor to its immense profitability lies in Led Zeppelin's decision not to release the song as a single, compelling fans to acquire the entire album, famously known as Led Zeppelin IV, to savor its melodic brilliance.
Led Zeppelin and Warner Music, the band's record label, have opted to remain silent regarding the allegations for the time being. Media speculations suggest that the court case revolves around the claim that the iconic opening guitar riff of "Stairway to Heaven" bears resemblance to the guitar work in an instrumental piece titled "Taurus," composed by Randy California's band, Spirit, in 1968.
Plaintiffs in this case include Mark Andes, the founding bassist of Spirit, as well as a trust responsible for managing royalties on behalf of the late Randy California, who tragically lost his life in 1997 while attempting to save his son from drowning. Bloomberg Businessweek quotes California describing "Stairway to Heaven" as a "rip-off" shortly before his untimely passing. Andes expresses the hope that Led Zeppelin will acknowledge California's contribution, stating, "It would just be nice if the Led Zeppelin guys gave Randy a little nod. That would be lovely."
Led Zeppelin's guitarist, Jimmy Page, is said to have commenced work on "Stairway to Heaven" in 1970 while residing in a secluded cottage in Wales. Recently, the band unveiled two previously unreleased recordings in anticipation of the re-issue of their first three albums in June. However, Page, now 70, firmly dismisses rumors of a reunion concert.
Despite disbanding in 1980 following the tragic death of drummer John Bonham, Led Zeppelin continues to capture public fascination. Their surviving members did reunite for a memorable one-off performance at London's O2 arena seven years ago, further fueling the enduring allure surrounding Led Zeppelin.
Jimmy Page, the guitarist of Led Zeppelin, is said to have started working on "Stairway to Heaven" in 1970 while residing in a remote cottage in Wales. Recently, the band unveiled two previously unheard recordings ahead of the re-issue of their first three albums in June. However, Page, now 70, has dismissed rumors of a reunion concert.
Led Zeppelin remains a band that continues to captivate the public's interest, even after their breakup in 1980 following the untimely death of drummer John Bonham. The surviving members did reunite for a one-off performance at London's O2 arena seven years ago, which further fueled the ongoing fascination with Led Zeppelin.
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