Ozzy Osbourne says that he cannot believe the members of LED ZEPPELIN had to defend themselves against a federal copyright infringement lawsuit claiming the opening to the 1971 classic "Stairway To Heaven" was a rip-off of the 1968 instrumental song "Taurus".
"It's fucking crazy, actually," the BLACK SABBATH singer tells Rolling Stone. "That should have never gone to court. I heard the original thing, and there's just a slight similarity. It's like saying any fucking song with that kind of a guitar on it is a rip-off. It's not fair. There's only so many fucking notes on a guitar, and it wasn't that much like 'Stairway To Heaven'. I'm amazed it lasted so fucking long, you know?
"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," he continues. "It's exactly the same.
"I've met John Bonham; I've met all of them," he adds. "That group is fucking phenomenal. What do they need a fucking songwriter for? Why would they rip anybody off? It's just a waste of fucking time. I'm really surprised it went to court. It's fucking crazy.
"They don't deserve it," he continues. "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.' Fuck. 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.
The verdict in the LED ZEPPELIN case came down within 15 minutes of the jury's request to re-listen to both "Taurus" and "Stairway To Heaven". They wanted to hear a section of each song twice, alternating from one to the other. They decided that what they heard wasn't substantially similar enough to call it copyright infringement.
"Stairway To Heaven" is said to be one of the most covered rock songs and its worth is estimated to be more than $560 million.