‘Stairway to Heaven’ and 5 Other Alleged Song Ripoffs

For boomers who grew up playing air guitar to Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” it’s mind-blowing to think that the 1971 classic rock standard might actually have been copied from another song. Lawyers for the estate of the late Spirit guitarist Randy California reportedly are planning to file a suit claiming that the opening riff in “Stairway” was ripped off from Spirit’s considerably less famous 1968 song “Taurus.” Thanks to a helpful YouTuber, you can listen to a comparison between …

J.J. Cale: Rock Stars Made His Songs Into Hits

Somehow, J.J. Cale never became a rock superstar, even though the great Eric Clapton once confessed that he looked up to the Tulsa-born guitarist and songwriter as a role model and Neil Young ranked his 1972 rock classic “Crazy Mama” as the one song that most shaped his own songwriting. That superstardom bypassed Cale, who died on July 26 at age 74 in La Jolla, Calif., undoubtedly had something to do with fate but probably more to do with principles. …

‘Springsteen & I’: A Love Letter to The Boss

I suppose it goes without saying that your level of enjoyment of the new documentary Springsteen & I, which premiered Monday night in movie theaters and screens again in select cities on July 30, will be in direct correlation to your proximity to New Jersey and/or your ability to recite all the lyrics to “Rosalita.” As I fall into that category of fist-pumping fans who have attended dozens of Bruce Springsteen concerts, I had a great time watching it. But it …

Can’t Help Falling in Love with Elvis, 35 Years Later

As usual, my sister Lynda had to go and ruin everything. August 16, 1977, had started off just fine. Kindergarten was still a week away. My father had a rare day off from the Memphis Police homicide unit. And we were moving into our new home, the suburban “upstairs-downstairs” house I had always wanted. I was bumping on my butt down those newly-carpeted dream stairs when Lynda came galloping over me with the news she’d just heard on the radio: …

Come Gather Round People Wherever You Roam

Bob Dylan’s newest album, Together Through Life, hit music stores yesterday. Edna Gundersen in USA Today offers a typically glowing review. “He’s got grit, for sure. His gloriously wicked, wheezy croon suits these biting, sentimental tales of love in hard times. Dylan may be tangled up in blues, but when he punctuates My Wife’s Home Town with a mischievous chuckle, it’s clear he has never felt so unfettered.” And in a nod to the younger generation, Dylan has announced a …