Did Led Zeppelin Cop “Stairway to Heaven” from Another Band?

That’s the theory floated by–of all places–Business Insider.  I’d never heard this story before.

Mark Andes, Spirit’s founding bassist, says he believes the members of Led Zeppelin heard Taurus that day, beginning a process that would lead to its appropriation forStairwayTaurus was a fixture of Spirit’s set at the time. “It was such a pretty moment, and it would typically come after a big forceful number and always got a good response,” Andes says at his home in a Houston suburb, where his music room is lined with framed gold records, many from the decade he later spent with the band Heart. “They would have seen it in that context.”

Read the whole story here.  It’s rather intriguing.  And given Zep’s well-documented  predilection for, er, borrowing material from other sources, I kinda believe this.

Once you’re done reading, play the “Is It Led Zeppelin or Spirit?” game by clicking on the image below.

Is It Led Zeppelin or Spirit
Click on the image to get started.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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3 thoughts on “Did Led Zeppelin Cop “Stairway to Heaven” from Another Band?

  • Lets hop the judge considers the “spirit” of the law

  • This one’s been kicking around for years, and who knows what the truth is. As far as I’m concerned, this quote from Nick Wall’s book “When Giants Walked the Earth” in 2010 sums it up perfectly.

    “If Page, who was a fan of Spirit… was influenced by the guitar chords on ‘Taurus’ what he did with them was the equivalent of taking the wood from a garden shed and building it into a cathedral, which somewhat wipes the slate clean.”

  • If you’re a Zeppelin fan, you’ve known about this for awhile, including how the band ripped off old blues artists on their debut. I think Jimmy Page thought he could get away with lifting pieces of lyrics and sections of songs from obscure artists and get away with it.

    It’s tough to take sides on this one. On the one hand, there’s the argument that Zeppelin should’ve credited the artists. On the otherhand…everything is a remix. How could you not be influenced by the music you listen to?

    But if music history were to judge though, obviously Zeppelin’s fans, the industry, and especially President Obama who honoured Led Zeppelin at The Kennedy Centre…doesn’t care.


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