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Led Zeppelin being sued over 'Stairway'

What is arguably one of the most iconic songs in rock n roll music is up against some legal controversy, and so is the legendary band that made it famous. In 1968, a band called Spirit toured with Led Zeppelin, and it was on this tour that they claim guitarist Jimmy Page heard their song Taurus and re-worked the riff into the intro to 'Stairway To Heaven'. The accusations have been going for decades and even though Spirit is now defunct as a group they are finally getting a lawyer to help build a case. Musicologists for both sides will analyze the riffs in each song to see if they are similar enough; this could prove the argument credible or not. This all comes just as 'Stairway' is about to be re-issued.

A classic Zeppelin photo.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Unfortunately for led Zeppelin though, this is not the first dispute over music that they have come up against. Here's a few notables from Businessweeks' report:

In the early ’70s, the publisher for Chester “Howlin’ Wolf” Burnett reached a settlement over “The Lemon Song”, arguing that the guitar riff and lyrics were too similar.

In the mid-’80s, folk singer Anne Bredon reached a settlement for royalties and a writingcredit for “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”, a song of the same title she wrote in 1960 that contained many similar elements.
In 1987, Willie Dixon settled with a writing credit for “Whole Lotta Love”, which contained a similar melody to a song he wrote for Muddy Waters called “You Need Love”.

In 2012, songwriter Jake Holmes settled with the band over “Dazed and Confused”, which had the same title and distinctly similar bassline to a song Holmes wrote in 1967.

If Led Zeppeling were to lose, it mostly likely wouldn't do much to them financially or reputation-wise. It would however mean that the classic tune is in fact not completely original, changing a brick in the cornerstone of rock music as we know it.

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