Ozzy Osbourne said in a new interview with Rolling Stone that he could not believe the members of Led Zeppelin had to go to court to defend themselves against a federal copyright infringement lawsuit claiming that the opening to the 1971 classic “Stairway To Heaven” was a rip-off of the 1968 instrumental Spirit song “Taurus.” Although Led Zeppelin ultimately prevailed in the case, Ozzy said, “That should have never gone to court. I heard the original thing, and there’s just a slight similarity. It’s like saying any f**king song with that kind of a guitar on it is a rip-off. It’s not fair. There’s only so many f**king notes on a guitar, and it wasn’t that much like ‘Stairway To Heaven.'”

  • Ozzy continued, “You listen to ‘All Right Now’ by Free and you listen to Steve Miller‘s ‘Rock’n Me’, and it’s exactly the same riff and they haven’t sued each other.”
  • Ozzy told us a while back that Black Sabbath‘s earliest songs were heavily influenced by the blues: [“We were originally a six-piece blues band. We had a saxophone player, bottleneck guitar player but they left, they fell to the way, and then we just started writing our own stuff and it came off blues. And so I suppose when we went and we did the first album, we still had that blues flavor with us, you know.”] SOUNDCUE (:17 OC: . . . us, you know.)
  • The Black Sabbath singer said that he’s met all the members of Led Zeppelin, adding, “That group is f**king phenomenal. What do they need a f**king songwriter for? Why would they rip anybody off? It’s just a waste of f**king time. I’m really surprised it went to court. It’s f**king crazy.”
  • Ozzy also said that Zeppelin “didn’t deserve” the hassle of going through a trial, remarking, “It’s like, do you honestly think they’ll sit there and go, ‘Oh, we’ll steal this and change it a bit like this so it sells.’ F**k. Give me a break. The song that was played was kind of a bit similar but it was only the chord sequence.”
  • A Los Angeles jury deliberated for about five hours before deciding unanimously in favor of Led Zeppelin.
  • Ozzy and Sabbath begin a new North American leg of their farewell tour on August 17th in Wantagh, New York.


  • Do you agree with Ozzy that the Led Zeppelin case should never have gone to court?
  • Does it sound like someone was being opportunistic instead having an authentic grievance?
  • Couldn’t you find a lot of similarities between a lot of rock songs if you tried?

INTERNET COMMENTS at Blabbermouth — agree or not?

Peter Marrino wrote: “I think they did rip off Spirit but they improved on the song.”

Matt Balousek wrote: “It’s sketchy at best.”

Artie Vandelay wrote: “‘They don’t deserve it’…In that specific case, no. But Zeppelin stole a lot of songs in the 70s and have even lost in court because of this.”

Jason Krieger wrote: “Just someone trying to cash in – sad that frivolous lawsuits can get so far.”