A man, not a god, wrote “Stairway to Heaven”

“Good artists copy, great artists take something anybody could have thought of and transform it into something no one has ever dreamed of.”

Jimmy Page early
Jimmy Page in the early seventies (Wikimedia Commons)

On Thursday a jury of eight of the rarest sort of people—those who’ve never heard the Led Zeppelin song “Stairway to Heaven”—cleared Jimmy Page and Robert Plant of the charge of stealing the intro to the song from Spirit, a band that many more people have never heard of. The executor of the estate for the author of “Taurus” sued Page and Plant after a bunch of online comparisons showed up (look for them on Youtube). The plaintiffs did a lot of research and put a lot of effort into establishing that Page and Plant had heard the song before writing “Stairway to Heaven.”  I would love to see the transcripts, as both sides called expert witnesses to testify about the creative process.  They may have even proven that Page and Plant used the material from “Taurus” but that doesn’t mean they didn’t write “Stairway to Heaven.”

 

 

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Basement Books: Classic Scifi Anthologies

…the Golden Age of Science Fiction is when you’re twelve years old. –Fredrik Pohl

When I was twelve my father had a collection of books in the basement with names on the spines like Isaac Asimov and Brian Aldiss, and this is where I first read scifi short stories. These books dated from the late seventies and early eighties, when my dad belonged to a science fiction book club and my oldest brother was a fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Over the past couple years I’ve been reeducating myself, after a long absence from scifi, about the luminaries of this period. Some of the names I remembered, like C.J. Cherryh, Harlan Ellison, and Fredrik Pohl, but many of them I had forgotten, like James Tiptree, Jr. I had asked my dad several times about these anthologies, but after moving from the house where I first read them, he claimed he hadn’t seen them. Complicating matters was that I had probably taken them off the shelves and left them in my bedroom.  I wasn’t looking forward to going to Colorado over Memorial Day weekend, but I was looking forward to trying to find these anthologies.
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