Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Great Composers Steal -- Mediocre Composers Borrow

Somebody asked me yesterday what I felt about the whole Did Led Zep Rip Off Spirit for "Stairway to Heaven"? legal controversy.

Well, this (frequently hilarious) clip sort of speaks for me.

So in other words, my answer is -- it depends. How's that for weaseling?

BTW, that compilation is great, obviously, but I find it particularly droll that they didn't even bother with "My Sweet Lord" and "He's So Fine."

And speaking of which, here's one of the greatest of all unreleased albums by a member of The Beatles.

From the official EMI press release:

"This album brings out a rather curious side of George Harrison's personality, which is perhaps related to his obsession with money. George recorded this album in disguise, didn't tell any of the rest of the group about it, tried nonetheless to get it released through Apple, and then lied about everything it involved when the whole sordid business came out."


My Sweet He's So Fine
My Sweet White Christmas
My Sweet Fair Lady
My Sweet Michelle
My Sweet Bobby McGee
My Sweet Lullaby of Birdland
My Sweet Beethoven's Ninth Symphony
My Sweet Greensleeves
My Sweet Ave Maria


Blue Ash Fan said...

One glaring omission in the video: The Kinks taking the riff from "Jumping Jack Flash" and repackaging it as "Catch Me Now I'm Falling."

Do I think Page stole from Spirit to create "Stairway to Heaven?" Yes. Do I think the LZ song is better than the original Spirit song? By a mile. And, yeah, I'll admit it. I still like "Stairway." In the context of its time, it was mind-blowing. (If your mind were susceptible to being blown by that type of song.) Like I imagine kids in 1964 hearing the opening chord of "A Hard Day's Night" and thinking, "WTF was that?"

Alzo said...

'I Can't Explain','Sweet Jane' and 'More Than a Feeling' are children of 'Louie Louie.' The grandchildren would include 'Gabrielle' by the Nips and 'Spy-Guy' by Toothpaste.

MJConroy said...

I refer you to "Cry Me a River", Davy Graham 1959:

Allan Rosenberg said...

After a while my head started spinning and it all became a blur...

The Captain

Keith Fellenstein said...

The intro to Flying Sorcery off of Al Stewart's Year of the Cat album bears more than a passing similarity to the intro to Silver Shoes off of Wishbone Ash's There's the Rub.

Keith Fellenstein said...

The bonus track on the reissue of Lifting Material from the World is My Sweet Hava Nigila.

Anonymous said...

someone stealing from Led Zep instead of vice versa?

Anonymous said...

The relatives are greedy. If I was the judge, I would have thrown it out. Stairway is an opus, Taurus is tepid. 30 seconds of similarity don't stack up to the tune built around it.

If you don't steal, you're not listening.

And if you're gonna steal, rock and roll requires you do it shamelessly.

VR - surfin' to second heaven in an ocean of harmony with a head full of electric sangria'

Mark said...

As a longtime fan of Spirit's first album AND Led Zeppelin through ZOSO, it had never occurred to me that Stairway was built on Taurus, principally because I skipped over Taurus for the past 40+ years when I could because the instrumental was largely forgettable, and by "largely forgettable," I mean "forgettable." That being said, and upon listening again to Taurus, even a causal listener would have to admit the similarities between it and Stairway. Consequently, and without getting into any type of litigious society BS rant, I prefer to let the courts decide. That's exactly how disputes of this type have been resolved, for better or worse, in the past. If I were the judge, I would acknowledge the common time frame and argue in summary that the value of Taurus to Stairway is contributory and not an instance of copyright infringement, and any penalty associated with such usage should be of a partial statutory nature. In other words, Page could admit no contest, and negotiate a settlement with representatives of Randy California's estate. Page could retain copyright to Stairway, and California's estate to Taurus. But what I would do is not what happens in copyright infringement trials. In such cases, lawyers HAVE to go for complete infringement. Otherwise, no one or court would pay attention.

Sal Nunziato said...

Love how Petty sued Sam Smith for Stay With Me for its similarity to "I Won't Back Down," but no one ever mentions Petty's "Breakdown" being exactly like The Animals "Cheating."

شات امل الحياه said...

thanks man