Did Led Zeppelin Plagiarize 'Stairway'? A Pa. Judge Will Decide. (NPR, 10/26/2014)
In this corner........
Everyone who knows rock 'n' roll knows the opening riff to Led Zeppelin's 1971 hit "Stairway to Heaven." Play it side-by-side with the 1968 song "Taurus" by the band Spirit, and they sound almost the same.
"Taurus" is a relatively short (2:37), ethereal instrumental that appears on side 1 (track 4) of Spirit's self-titled, 1968 debut album.
The slow-building, anthemic "Stairway to Heaven", which clocks in at 8:02, appears as the last track on side 1 of Led Zeppelin IV (1971). (Some of us thought this song had been played to death on the radio before the end of 1972.)
You'll hear a few bars of "Stairway" similarities starting at 0:45 of "Taurus". But to listen to both songs in their entirety and claim that Led Zeppelin plagiarized Randy California is a stretch.
As for the tongue-in-cheek Steve Miller charge.....
A song for which he takes full writing credit.
Postscript: A favorite album from my college years.