Home » Sully Erna of Godsmack Praises Jimmy Page for ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Inspiration

Sully Erna of Godsmack Praises Jimmy Page for ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Inspiration

In a recent episode of ‘The Mistress Carrie Podcast,’ Sully Erna of Godsmack expressed admiration for a song he deemed “perfectly written.” Reflecting on it, he shared:

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

According to Sully Erna, Page ‘Executed the Inspiration’ Quite Well

In 2016, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant found themselves in a copyright infringement lawsuit regarding the iconic opening riff of their 1971 hit. Offering his perspective on the matter, Sully Erna remarked:

“Even if you did borrow that initial riff, Jimmy [Page], I don’t care. You did a fantastic job with it. Besides, the so-called infringement they talked about is just a tiny speck in the vast canvas of that epic ballad Zeppelin crafted.”

Discussing the song’s genesis, Erna added: “So, he caught a melody within a few notes of someone else’s song, drew inspiration from it, and crafted this entire legendary rock anthem. As a fellow songwriter, I have to appreciate that because, sure, he could have tweaked the key or changed a couple of notes, but it’s genuinely a very, very small part of the intro to that song.”

Controversy Surrounding Alleged Song Borrowing

In 2016, a legal dispute arose when Led Zeppelin faced accusations of appropriating the riff from Spirit’s ‘Taurus.’ Notably, ‘Taurus’ was recorded three years prior to the launch of ‘Led Zeppelin IV,’ featuring the iconic track ‘Stairway to Heaven.’

The lawsuit was initiated by Michael Skidmore, representing the estate of ‘Taurus’ songwriter Randy ‘California’ Wolfe. This legal action took place four decades after the release of the contested Led Zeppelin song.

Page and Plant’s Reaction to the Allegations

The crux of the case revolved around the assertion that Led Zeppelin and Spirit had shared the stage in 1970, leading to the suspicion that Page had exposure to the song. However, in stark contrast, the guitarist adamantly testified that he had never encountered the tune before:

“It was completely unfamiliar to me. When it began, I was perplexed by the comparison… ‘What does this have to do with Stairway?'”

Similarly, Plant affirmed: “I didn’t recall it then, and I don’t recall it now.” Page went on to emphasize that he did not replicate any part of ‘Taurus,’ despite having five Spirit albums in his extensive vinyl collection.

The Outcome of the Legal Dispute

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 pursue the case in October 2020, effectively concluding the legal proceedings.

Post-trial, the plaintiff’s lawyer, Francis Malofiy, expressed the belief that the decision stemmed from a technicality. He noted that the jury had not listened to the original recording of ‘Taurus’ but instead a version based on its sheet music.

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