The suit, filed last year in Philadelphia federal court, alleges that the iconic guitar arpeggio opening of “Stairway,” released 44 years ago, was lifted from the 1968 instrumental “Taurus” by the long-defunct Los Angeles band Spirit.
U.S. District Judge Juan R. Sanchez granted a defense motion Wednesday, transferring the case to the downtown Los Angeles federal courthouse.
A request for comment left with an attorney for Led Zeppelin and Warner Music Group was not immediately answered.
The complaint was brought by Francis Malofiy, a lawyer for Spirit’s late guitarist-songwriter Randy California, who drowned in 1997 off the coast of Hawaii. The suit was filed on behalf of the estate of Randy California.
“Led Zeppelin opened for Spirit when they first came over here,” Malofiy said today. “There’s no doubt Jimmy Page appreciated Spirit on an emotional and musical level. And, of course, Led Zeppelin has a unique history of lifting their songs from other sources.”
In the 1970s, the British rock band made settlement agreements and granted writing co-credits to other artists for several songs originally credited to Page, including “Whole Lotta Love,” “The Lemon Song” and “Dazed and Confused.”
“Attribution is the most important thing,” Malofiy said. “What we want is for credit to be given where it’s due. I’m a fan of Led Zeppelin, but in this situation, we want credit for Randy.”
In the liner notes to a 1996 reissue of Spirit’s first album, California stated that “people always ask me why ‘Stairway to Heaven’ sounds exactly like ‘Taurus,’ which was released two years earlier. … They opened up for us on their first American tour.”
The three surviving members of Led Zeppelin members made declarations to support the motion to have the case dismissed or moved to Los Angeles, according to court filings.
Guitarist Jimmy Page said that he had no connection to Philadelphia, adding that he has “not performed as part of the musical group known as Led Zeppelin in the state of Pennsylvania since 1985.”
Warner Music Group, in a separate filing, successfully argued that the case should be moved to Los Angeles, where possible witnesses and business records are located.
— City News Service
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: