Round one of Randy Craig Wolf versus Led Zeppelin is over and we haven't even gotten into the court room yet. Wolf, now deceased, was better known as Randy California while he served as vocalist and guitarist for classic rock group Spirit. Now his family is finally trying to make good on his longstanding claims that the guitar introduction to Zeppelin's classic "Stairway to Heaven" was more-or-less lifted from Spirit's "Taurus." The latter band has argued the case should be thrown out based on its Pennsylvania jurisdiction, which Zeppelin claims to be invalid, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
"The individual defendants are British citizens residing in England, own no property in Pennsylvania and have no contacts with Pennsylvania, let alone ties sufficient to render them essentially at home here," reads a memorandum from Led Zeppelin's legal team, seeking the dismissal of the suit.
Wolf's legal team quickly amended its complaint to justify the case: Surely a great many people in the "Eastern district of Pennsylvania" must have bought Led Zeppelin records or heard "Stairway to Heaven" on the radio. Although this is somewhat a slight to people in Pittsburgh and Western PA, the argument was valid enough for District Court Judge Juan Sánchez, who dismissed the motion to dismiss without prejudice, so the defendants get another chance to dismiss.
In other words, it could be a while before this thing gets to court, much less sees a decision. If Wolf's estate can win its case, it could be looking at a lot of money. "Stairway" is the most spun radio track of all time, a good argument for huge royalty payouts. Also, Zeppelin will be rereleasing the album that contains the song, Led Zeppelin IV (untitled)on October 28.