A trial is needed to determine if Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" copies its opening notes from a song performed by the rock band Spirit, a federal judge has ruled. U.S District Judge R. Gary Klausner ruled Friday that lawyers for the trustee of late Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe had shown enough evidence to support a case that "Stairway to Heaven" copies music from the Spirit song "Taurus." "Taurus" was written by Wolfe in either 1966 or 1967, years before Led Zeppelin released "Stairway to Heaven" in 1971.
Klausner wrote that while the songs have some differences, lawyers for Wolfe's trustee may be able to prove they are substantially similar.
A jury trial is scheduled for May 10 in Los Angeles. Klausner's ruling removed Zeppelin band member John Paul Jones from the case. Bandmates Robert Plant and Jimmy Page remain defendants in the case.