While I normally stay out of the fray, I have been casually following the Malofiy Randy California estate vs Led Zeppelin trial. In my opinion, I thought it was a sham from the first word of the initial document. I am pleased that Led Zeppelin emerged justified. I was not going to say anything and then I ran across Joe Walsh weighing in and he stated everything I was thinking from the start. I first heard his words from his daughter Lucy on a morning radio program as I was driving to work today.
Joe Walsh, (A man who knows music theory in every direction) meanwhile, offered his perspective in a note to music business pundit Bob Lefsetz, who published Walsh’s words as part of a mailbag roundup focusing on the trial. As Walsh argued, “even though a portion of “Stairway” does have strong similarities to the Spirit song “Taurus,” the building blocks used for both songs are very common — and were even before California wrote his song”.
“The ‘Stairway’ claim was based on the four chord descending progression at the beginning of the song, which is similar to the Spirit one (and maybe 30 other songs — one of which Randy California came across and used for the Spirit piece — he didn’t write it. He used it),” wrote Walsh. “The grandfather of these progressions is: C, A minor, F and G. Starting with the early 1950s, there are probably 500 of these songs, all with those four chords — but each with different melodies and words. THAT should be the criteria for claims. C, A minor, F and G wasn’t stolen — it’s a standard single song form. Nobody owns these.”
“There are countless videos pointing out the fundamental similarities between many of today’s top hits, the vast majority of which are never prosecuted — or even really noticed — because they also have major melodic differences. “Robert Plant’s vocal melody and haunting lyrics make ‘Stairway’ uniquely different from anything else which might have occasional similar chords,” continued Walsh. “It’s called ‘intellectual property’ and the internet ate it. One more thing: NOBODY in a music business legal procedure is telling the truth.”
Thank you Mr. Joe Walsh.
The attorney representing California’s estate has a different point of view. Lawyer Francis Malofiy vented to Rolling Stone after the verdict, suggesting the case was “tried in an alternate reality” and adding, “Justice is sweet and musical; but injustice is harsh and discordant. Here there was injustice.” You can read Malofiy’s entire statement, including a detailed list of his problems with the trial. Read More: Led Zeppelin Trial Reactions: Joe Walsh, Robert Plant and More | http://ultimateclassicrock.com/led-zeppelin-trial-reaction/?trackback=tsmclip
As I saw from the word go, this was all about Malofiy putting on a show and getting a huge windfall in my opinion and he did not disappoint judging from what I have read about, however it was sans windfall, rightfully so.
In my opinion, the criteria laid out by Mr. Walsh should be the standard used in all such deliberations, especially in this day and age where one can no longer tell the difference between the music industry and the litigious industry.
Theft is wrong, there are no two ways of looking at it, but as Mr. Walsh pointed out, this was not about theft.
So while congratulations to Led Zeppelin are certainly in order, to me it’s almost bittersweet in that we had to go through all this crap over something universal and naturally positive and beneficial that is music. Why can’t we just leave well enough alone and not try to pervert everything.