George Harrison in 1963.
As Led Zeppelin heads off to court in a copyright fight over its “Stairway to Heaven” riff (song contended: “Taurus”), we can’t help but think back to other rock-ripoff battles. Here are five. Play them for yourselves: What do you think?
“I Want a New Drug”: Huey Lewis sued Ray Parker Jr. for the “Ghostbusters” Theme.
“Under Pressure”: Vanilla Ice, of “Ice Ice Baby Fame,” eventually settled out of court with Queen, who performed the song with David Bowie.
“He’s So Fine”: The mother off all copyright battles, in which former Beatle George Harrison is charged with lifting the heart of that hit for “My Sweet Lord.”
“Got to Give It Up”: The family of Marvin Gaye successfully sued Robin Thicke for his hit, “Blurred Lines.”
“You Can’t Catch Me”: Chuck Berry, one of the founding fathers of rock ’n’ roll, sued Beatle John Lennon, claiming he ripped off the song for “Come Together.” Lennon eventually agreed to settle.
Bonus contested (country) track: Listen to “Crescent City Blues” (start at 00:55) by composer Gordon Jenkins and marvel that Johnny Cash reportedly only paid him $75,000 in connection with “Folsom Prison Blues.”