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Do you think Led Zeppelin ripped off Spirit?

Asked by Yetanotheruser (14371 points ) May 20th, 2014

I’ve heard this claim/rumor several times over the past 40 years, and I could never see the merit. Listen to Stairway to Heaven, especially the opening 10 seconds. Here you have the iconic guitar riff that sets the mood and is repeated several times throughout the piece.

In Taurus there is a similar acoustic guitar riff, but it is only for six measures, and then the similarity ends.

In the late sixties and early seventies, I was a fan of both bands. I found Randy California‘s guitar playing to be some of the most transcendent music ever delivered on a six-string; and Plant’s acoustic playing was an inspiration to the direction I would take my own guitar playing
The only reason I never learned to play “Stairway to Heaven” on the acoustic is that every other guitar player I knew was learning it!

If I were to listen to those two excerpts Stairway (at the beginning) and Taurus (at about 0:44), and do an analysis, I would first notice the similarities: both played on acoustic guitar; same chord structure with downward run in the bass line; joined by flute countermelody.

I would also notice the differences: different guitar melody, despite the same chord pattern; songs go into totally different directions outside the passages in question.

If I were judge in this case, I would throw it out of court. What about you?

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