Home » Sully Erna of Godsmack Commends Jimmy Page for His Interpretation of ‘Stairway to Heaven

Sully Erna of Godsmack Commends Jimmy Page for His Interpretation of ‘Stairway to Heaven

In a recent episode of ‘The Mistress Carrie Podcast,’ Sully Erna from Godsmack expressed his admiration for a song he considers “perfectly written.” He elaborated:

“God, I wish I wrote that song. Well, I think everybody knows that perhaps one of the most perfectly crafted rock songs ever in the world is ‘Stairway To Heaven.’ It just is. It is what it is.”

Erna Acknowledges Page’s Skillful Interpretation of the Song

In 2016, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant found themselves entangled in a copyright infringement lawsuit regarding the iconic opening riff of their 1971 hit. Reflecting on that, Erna shared his perspective:

“Even if you did borrow that initial riff, Jimmy [Page], I don’t care. You did an excellent job with it. And honestly, I’ve heard the original piece they claimed was a copyright infringement, and it’s merely a tiny fragment within the entire epic ballad that Zeppelin crafted.”

Adding insights into the genesis of the track, he further commented:

“So, he caught a glimpse of a melody within a few notes from someone else’s song, felt inspired, and created this entire legendary rock anthem. As a fellow songwriter, I have to respect that. Perhaps he could have changed the key or tweaked a couple of notes, but it truly represents a very, very, very small portion of the intro to that song.”

Allegations of Song Appropriation

In 2016, a legal dispute arose, alleging that Led Zeppelin had borrowed the riff from Spirit’s ‘Taurus.’ Notably, ‘Taurus’ was recorded three years prior to the release of ‘Led Zeppelin IV,’ featuring ‘Stairway To Heaven.’

The lawsuit was filed by Michael Skidmore, who oversees the estate of ‘Taurus’ songwriter Randy ‘California’ Wolfe, four decades after the release of their respective tracks.

Page and Plant’s Reaction to the Allegations

The central argument in the case revolved around the assertion that Led Zeppelin and Spirit had shared a stage in 1970, suggesting that Page had ‘access’ to the song. However, the guitarist refuted this claim, testifying that he had never encountered the tune before:

“It was completely unfamiliar to me. When it started, I was perplexed by the comparison… ‘What does this have to do with Stairway?'” Likewise, Plant expressed: “I didn’t recall it then, and I don’t recall it now.”

Page also emphasized that he did not copy any portion of ‘Taurus,’ despite having five Spirit albums in his extensive vinyl collection.

Outcome of the Case

In 2016, following approximately five hours of deliberation, a Los Angeles jury ruled in favor of Led Zeppelin. Although the case was reopened in 2018, the initial decision was reaffirmed in 2020. The U.S. Supreme Court opted not to review the case in October 2020, effectively concluding the legal proceedings.

Subsequent to the trial, the plaintiff’s lawyer, Francis Malofiy, believed the decision resulted from a technicality, noting that the jury had not listened to the original recording of ‘Taurus’ but only a rendition based on its sheet music.

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