INCOMING: The Songs Remain The Same



THE MANN: 50 years ago, on July 12, 1969, Led Zeppelin played the Spectrum in Philadelphia. 50 years later, on July 12, 2019, Classic Albums Live will be performing at the Mann Center, playing both Led Zeppelin I and Led Zeppelin II albums, back to back, note for note – cut for cut. Performing these albums since 2003, Classic Albums Live focuses entirely on the music. They don’t wear cheesy costumes or do bad impersonations. Their first show at the Mann is going to be an event that brings a sense of nostalgia and community, paying the ultimate respect to both albums. MORE

ILIKEPHILLY: On this day July 12, 1969 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, Pa. it was the fourth date of the 1969 Summer Pop Festival , that started in Atlanta, Georgia on July 5th and ended on August 31, 1969 in Lewisville, Texas thirty- six shows in all. The tour featured Johnny Winter, Jethro Tull and Buddy Guy Blues Band with Led Zeppelin as the headliner. Here are some comments made by fans that were at the show…”I was at this show. It was an amazing night. The stage was in the center of Zep_Spectrumthe Spectrum floor, was round and rotated. Sometime during the evening they decided to stop the stage from moving. There were only about 3500 people in attendance so they told everyone to come down and sit near the stage after it stops rotating and we’ll just leave the stage in its STOPPED position for the night. I was blown away after that show. I saw them again in March 1970, this time they sold out the same venue.” MORE

DISTANT DRUMMER: A notice was tacked on the door of each dressing room at the Spectrum last weekend requesting that performances be kept under thirty minutes each. The explanation given was that the police commissioner [Frank Rizzo], fearing a rock-inspired riot, wanted the show over by 11:45P.M. The truth was that the Spectrum management, having already dropped a bundle in the three part pop festival, didn’t want to lose another $1000 in overtime charges to the union employees, etc. The result was that in the few instances where the groups got cooking for the small crowds, the management literally forced them off the stage. Led Zeppelin had to beg the crowd to let them off. They cited the “commissioner’s order” as the cause for the abrupt and mutually disappointing conclusion to their set. MORE

PHILADELPHIA MAGAZINE: The fact that Philadelphia barrister Francis Alexander Malofiy, Esquire, [pictured, below right] is suing Led Zeppelin over the disputed authorship of “Stairway to Heaven” is, by any objective measure, only the fourth most interesting thing about him. Unfortunately for the reader, and the purposes of this story, the first, second and third most interesting things about Malofiy are bound and gagged in nondisclosure agreements, those legalistic dungeons where the First Amendment goes to die. So let’s start with number four and work our way backward.

At the risk of stating the obvious, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, let the record show that “Stairway to Heaven” is arguably the most famous song in all of rock-and-roll, perhaps in all of popular music. It’s also one of the most lucrative — it’s estimated that the song has netted north of $500 million in sales and royalties since its 1971 release. Malofiy’s lawsuit, cheekily printed in the same druidic font used for the liner notes of the album Led Zeppelin IV, alleges that Jimmy Page and Francis-Malofiy-lede-768x1024-e1549917695813Robert Plant — Zep’s elegantly wasted guitarist/producer/central songwriter and leonine, leather-StairwayComplaintPiclunged lead singer, respectively — stole the iconic descending acoustic-guitar arpeggios of the first two minutes of “Stairway” from “Taurus,” a song with a strikingly similar chord pattern by a long-forgotten ’60s band called Spirit. At the conclusion of a stormy, headline-grabbing trial in 2016 that peaked with testimony from Page and Plant, the jury decided in Zep’s favor.

When the copyright infringement suit was first filed in Philadelphia by Malofiy (pronounced “MAL-uh-fee”) on behalf of the Randy Craig Wolfe Trust — which represents the estate of Randy “California” Wolfe, the now-deceased member of Spirit who wrote “Taurus” — people laughed. Mostly at Malofiy. The breathless wall-to-wall media coverage the trial garnered often painted him as a loose-cannon legal beagle, one part Charlie Sheen, one part Johnnie Cochran. “Everybody kind of dismissed me as this brash young lawyer who didn’t really understand copyright law,” he says, well into the wee hours one night back in December, sitting behind a desk stacked four feet high with legal files in the dank, subterranean bunker that is his office.

If Malofiy prevails in the coming “Stairway” retrial, he’ll completely shatter the Tolkien-esque legend of the song’s immaculate conception — that it was birthed nearly in toto during a mystical retreat at a remote Welsh mountain cottage called Bron-yr-aur, to which many a starry-eyed Zep disciple has made a pilgrimage once upon a midnight clear when the forests echo with laughter. It will be like proving that da Vinci didn’t paint the Mona Lisa, that Michelangelo didn’t sculpt David. Barring a last-minute settlement, many legal and copyright experts predict that Malofiy may well emerge victorious, and credit for the most famous rock song in the world will pass from the self-appointed Golden Gods of Led Zeppelin to some obscure, long-forgotten (and not even very good) West Coast psych band, along with tens of millions in royalties, effectively rewriting the sacred history of rock-and-roll. And the man who will have pulled off this fairly miraculous feat of judicial jujitsu is the enfant terrible of Philadelphia jurisprudence. MORE