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article imageDid Mary Poppins really inspire Stairway To Heaven?

By Tim Sandle     Jun 18, 2016 in Entertainment
Los Angeles - In court, during the plagiarism dispute about the song 'Stairway to Heaven', Jimmy Page has countered that the 1960s musical Mary Poppins was, in actual fact, the source of his inspiration.
Led Zeppelin are currently in a Los Angeles court, contesting their best-known song. The group are being sued by the estate of the late American guitarist, Randy Wolfe. The case alleges that Led Zeppelin stole some of the music from a track called Taurus, recorded by Wolfe's band Spirit, and used rifts in the number Stairway to Heaven.
A trustee for Wolfe — who died in 1997 and was also known as Randy California — claims the musician deserves a partial song-writing credit on Stairway To Heaven. Michael Skidmore, representing Wolfe's estate, claims the opening cords are based on Wolfe's composition. Stairway To Heaven was recorded for the 1971 Led Zeppelin IV album.
Want to decide for yourself? Here is a live version of Led Zeppelin performing Stairway To Heaven at Madison Square Garden, New York City:
And here is Taurus' recording of Spirit:
In court representing their band are Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. Interestingly, the defense case is based on the claim "no one owns common musical elements", a point made by Led Zeppelin's defense lawyer Peter Anderson. According to the Daily Telegraph, Anderson has also said that Wolfe's estate no longer own the copyright to the Tarus track.
It has also been established in court that Wolfe's band Spirit opened for Led Zep at a 1968 concert in Denver (plus two further occasions), and that the instrumental track Tarus was played by Spirit at each of these concerts.
Testifying on day three of the trial, Jimmy Page, when asked where he got the inspiration for the opening of Stairway To Heaven from surprisingly claimed that chord sequence was based on music used in Chim Chim Cheree, a melody in the 1964 film adaptation of the Mary Poppins story. A movie clip featuring Dick Van Dyke's curious British accent , if it is to your taste, is shown below:
Things do not, according to Rolling Stone magazine's reports from the case, are not looking good for Led Zeppelin. Quoted in one piece is commentator Stephen Colbert who declares: "They're screwed. Guys, take your money and hide it in Panama." Even Led Zeppelin News (@LedZepNews) tweeted: "Jimmy Page’s testimony yesterday was "alternately candid, evasive, sarcastic and wittily charming.”
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