By Hayden Wright
The legal drama surrounding “Stairway to Heaven” might have a clear resolution in sight: Attorneys alleging that Led Zeppelin lifted opening bars from a previously recorded Spirit song proposed $1 as an acceptable figure for settlement, along with a writing credit for Randy Wolfe. However, it’s not as simple (or inexpensive) as that. The credit would entitle Wolfe’s estate to future royalties earned on the track, and settle what plaintiffs have framed as a matter of principle.
“It’s always been about credit where credit is due,” said Francis Alexander Malofiy, representing Michael Skidmore, the trustee of the Wolfe estate.
No word from led Zeppelin regarding whether or not they’ll accept the offer. If no settlement is reached, the trial will begin May 10. And don’t expect singer Robert Plant or guitarist Jimmy Page in the courtroom. Both have recorded depositions that will be presented if there is a trial, but neither are likely to appear before the court, reports Classic Rock magazine.
Plant and Page were allegedly part of tours in 1968 and 1969 which included Spirit. Accounts are mixed about whether they were exposed to the song “Taurus,” and if so, whether it informed their composition of “Stairway to Heaven.” Plant and Page’s attorneys argue the musical structure is centuries old and not unique to “Taurus.”