Led Zeppelin is being accused of not writing their signature song, "Stairway To Heaven."
Former Spirit bassist Mark Andes says the late Randy California actually came up with the 1971 Zeppelin song's iconic opening guitar riff. Randy's guitar work provides the melody line to Spirit's 1968 instrumental "Taurus."
Andes tells Business Week he's teamed up with the trust handling Randy's royalties to hire attorney Francis Malofiy, who'll be filing a copyright infringement lawsuit against Zeppelin.
The legal action comes as the British band begins rolling out remastered editions of their catalog. The first three Zeppelin albums are due next month. The next installment is expected to include Zeppelin's fourth album, which features "Stairway."
Andes says the lawsuit will include a request for an injunction to prevent the band from releasing that album. He adds that his goal with the suit is "to make sure that Randy California is given a writing credit on 'Stairway To Heaven.'"
Rock journalist Mick Skidmore says California never had the money to sue Led Zeppelin over the song, and after his death his heirs thought the statute of limitations had expired. And this isn't the first time Zeppelin has been sued for copyright infringement. In four previous cases, which date back to the 1980s, settlements included adding the suing songwriter's name to the credits of the Zeppelin song.
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