Last month, we reported that Led Zeppelin was facing a lawsuit from Michael Skidmore, a trustee for the estate of Spirit member Randy Wolfe, a.k.a. Randy California. Skidmore had accused the members of Zeppelin of knowingly ripping off the Spirit song “Taurus” for the intro to “Stairway To Heaven” fortysomething years ago, and then a judge declared that the songs are indeed similar enough for the case to go in front of a jury. Skidmore’s attorneys know that nobody wants to go through another one of these long, painful court cases, though, so they’re offering Zeppelin an easy out. According to Bloomberg, all the band has to do is pay Skidmore $1—and give Randy California a songwriting credit on “Stairway To Heaven,” one of the most popular rock songs of all time.
Bloomberg notes that giving away the songwriting credit would be “probably worth a lot more” than $1, considering how ubiquitous “Stairway To Heaven” is. But it doesn’t sound like the band is going to go for it either way. Zeppelin’s lawyers say that “any similarity” between “Stairway” and “Taurus” is “limited to a musical structure that has existed for centuries,” making it “too commonplace to be entitled to copyright protection.” The trial is set for May 10, and should things end up in Skidmore’s favor, he says he’ll use the money to support The Randy California Project, “which supplies musical instruments and lessons to students at low-income schools in Ventura County, California.”