May 202014

Are you kidding me, the estate for Spirit guitarist Randy California is considering bringing suit against Led Zeppelin for allegedly ripping off 2 measures of the interminable instrumental album filler “Taurus” for the intro to Led Zep’s “Stairway to Heaven”? It takes 45 boring seconds to even get to the allegedly ripped off 2 measure. I doubt Jimmy Page could have lasted that long. For all the blatant heists Page has masterminded, this is like charging Willie Sutton for taking a magazine home with him from a doctor’s office. Dismissed!

In related news, the state of California is considering bringing suit against the estate of Randy Craig Wolfe for ripping off its name.


  20 Responses to “Dismissed! RTH Rock Crimes Commission Concludes That Jimmy Page Had Better Things to Do Than Rip Off Two Measures of the Endless Intro to Spirit’s “Taurus””

  1. jeangray

    Tone-deaf! 😉

  2. The part that Page ripped off is pretty blatant even if it isn’t that long. And given Page’s general grabby-ness, I would say there’s something there. I’d rule for house arrest or community service.

    Now when does Richard Hell get his day in court against the Stray Cays?

  3. misterioso

    This might mean I have to proceed with my long-planned suit against Spirit for emotional damages caused by my profound disappointment in them for not producing another song 1/10 as good as “I Got a Line on You” and putting out too much ethereal crap like “Taurus.” Frankly, most Spirit doesn’t even achieve the heights of Jay Ferguson’s 1978 solo smash “Thunder Island.”

  4. Dismissed — material destined for the cutouts, like 90% of Spirit albums.

  5. When they both pay Ray Charles and Rod McKuen, or whoever wrote “The Beat Generation”!

  6. Have we ever been more squarely positioned on the same page, misterioso? It’s like a total eclipse of Rock Town Hall.

  7. misterioso

    Well, you know what they say about broken clocks….

    I forget but I think I aired my Spirit-ual issues once before here. The thing is, “I Got a Line on You” has always been one of my favorite songs. It’s a killer. Some years back I decided, well, the record it’s on (The Family That Plays Together) has to be good, and I’d heard that the Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus was a great record, so…

    But The Family That… after the opening adrenaline rush of “I Got a Line on You” struggles to attain even minimal listenability. Most of it is crushingly dull. Twelve Dreams is better overall but nothing on it is within a light year as good as “I Got a Line on You.” I’ve tried some other Spirit records via spotify. There are ok songs here and there. But one conclusion seems inescapable: “I Got a Line on You” is an aberration.

  8. 2000 Man

    Those are the only two Spirit albums I have. I Got A Line on You is really, really great and Dr. Sardonicus is a record I can use for nostalgia when I hit the slow spots.

    What gets me is that if Randy never felt the urge to sue Jimmy Page, then why does his family think they have something? I’m pretty sure the intro to Stairway is about as famous as famous gets, but didn’t Spirit kind of prove that without the other forty-five minutes or so of whatever it is Led Zeppelin is doing during Stairway is what kept the general publics interest. I mean, that little piece sure didn’t sell any Spirit albums. It’s totally ripped off, but at this point, who cares?

  9. BigSteve

    Spirit were a good band. Mostly it was vaguely jazzy hippie music, but you shouldn’t hold it against them that they only made one blast of top 40 perfection with I Got a Line on You. Their first album had a couple of singles, or maybe they were deep cuts — Fresh Garbage and Mechanical World — that were first rate psychedelic weirdness. I remember them well from underground FM radio.

    I recommend their album Clear, which has a light breezy, electric pianofied left coast vibe. Sony also put out a nice 2-CD compilation called Time Circle that gathers all their highlights in one package.

  10. pudman13

    First of all, you guys are out of your minds. SARDONICUS is one of the most perfect and timeless rock and roll albums ever. “I Got A Line On You” is a cool radio rock song, but SARDONICUS has about ten songs that I think are better, and they get even better with time. I like “Thunder Island,” by the way, but man…

    But, as to the topic at hand: I have zero doubt that Page stole the riff from Spirit, but based on the legal definition of musical theft I don’t think he stole enough of it for them to have a case.

  11. misterioso

    I quite like “Nature’s Way.” “Animal Zoo” is pretty good even if it’s a markedly inferior song to “Animal Farm” by the Kinks which covers more or less the same ground. It’s ok overall. But in general, it sounds like a record by guys with big ideas that they are not clever enough to make interesting.

  12. Stolen. Its the same riff. Does not mean the song is not his. Also this case in 1973 might have had some merrit. Every rock dj of the last 40 years has played this spirit riff on the air to try and spark debate and it never did. We accept that Page uses other peoples ideas as ingredients and we are ok with it.

  13. hrrundivbakshi

    “12 Dreams…” is one of the greatest, if not *the* greatest, album recorded by a second-tier band from the “classic rock” era. In my sincere view, it is the final, shining-emerald-city stop on rock’s “psychedelic” train ride, and the only concrete evidence that massive amounts of drugs could, in fact, lead to amazing music. I think the album also *sounds* better than any record from its era. I have listened to that record in headphones, on high-end studio monitors, and crappy car speakers, and I am always bowled over by how perfect and balanced it sounds. I have tried to chase down other works produced by David Briggs to see if he was the real mastermind, but all evidence seems to suggest he wasn’t. Spirit deserve the credit.

    Mind you, their other albums are spotty at best.

  14. Isn’t that David Briggs, who was an early Muscle Shoals house musician, I believe, also the David Briggs that Neil Young swears by? I’m pretty sure Briggs is one of the main guys who inspired Young to develop Pono and bail out the Lionel Train company.

  15. Is there any RTHer in their right mind (but I’m willing to accept anyone in their wrong mind as well) who can’t wait for these superduperdeluxe Led Zep reissues that are due next month?

  16. misterioso

    Hmm, maybe the listener needs to take massive amounts of drugs, too.

  17. misterioso

    Obviously I make no claim to being in my right mind, and although I am not going to line up to buy these, I am not uninterested in them either–that is, the extra material. This isn’t to say the extras will turn out to be anything revelatory, but I am always interested in that kind of stuff at least in theory, unless they pull a Stones and just use the outtakes to create new recordings.

  18. NOTE: HVB’s use of quotation marks around the word psychedelic is telling.

  19. hrrundivbakshi

    The only time I took massive amounts of drugs to make music sound better was the second time I saw the Replacements. The first time, they were shit-faced drunk, and absolutely awful. I thought maybe if I also got shit-faced drunk, it might help. It did, a bit.

  20. This story is STILL buzzing about the media. It occurred to me that, although I don’t know much at all about the folk-blues tradition that Jimmy Page studied, how different is the intro to “Stairway…” and the bit in this Spirit song from Zeppelin’s cover of “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You”? If you grew up learning to play that song, which I think is a folk song that predates both bands, how big of a departure would it be to come up with something like the bit in either of these songs?

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