Q Music News

“Stairway to Heaven” remains one of rock’s grandest epics nearly 50 years after its release, but if you ask Robert Plant, the song’s iconic lyrics just don’t ring true to him anymore.

Plant talked about the classic Led Zeppelin track on Ultimate Classic Rock Nights where he said, “Lyrically, now, I can’t relate to it, because it was so long ago…I would have no intention ever to write along those abstract lines anymore. I look at it and I tip my hat to it, and I think there are parts of it that are incredible. The way that Jimmy [Page] took the music through, and the way that the drums reached almost climaxed and then continued…It’s a very beautiful piece. But lyrically, now, and even vocally, I go, ‘I’m not sure about that.'”

“Stairway…” is still the subject of a copyright infringement case that has stretched for a number of years now. It’s currently being reviewed by a panel of judges in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The original lawsuit was brought on by the estate of late Spirit guitarist Randy California (real name Randy Wolfe) who wrote the song “Taurus.” The estate is arguing that Zeppelin ripped off a chord progression in “Taurus” that was used as the intro to “Stairway to Heaven.” Zeppelin’s defense argued that the descending four-chord progression on “Taurus” was common and not subject to copyright protection, thus proving Zeppelin didn’t rip off Spirit. So far, no decision has been made in the case.

Led Zeppelin: All 92 Songs Ranked

Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock news blogger who's well-versed in etiquette and extraordinarily nice. #TransRightsAreHumanRights

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