Home Music Music Lists

10 Best Spirit Songs That Don’t Sound Like Zep’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’

The L.A. psych-rockers should be remembered for more than just one infamous soundalike

Spirit Stairway to Heaven

The band Spirit

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

L.A. psychedelic rockers Spirit have been in the news a lot lately, for flattering, if not necessarily positive, reasons. A lawyer representing the band's deceased guitarist Randy California, is claiming that Led Zeppelin stole the intro to the band's classic "Stairway to Heaven" from Spirit's "Taurus," penned by California.

While Spirit existed in various forms through to California's death in 1997, the band remains relatively unknown as well as underappreciated. Instrumentally accomplished, with a gift for unpredictable arrangements and folk melodies, Spirit were a key band in the Los Angeles' psychedelic rock scene of the late Sixties, and should be remembered for reasons other than an alleged act of plagiarism. Here are 10 of the band's best songs. By David Marchese

Play video

“Like a Rolling Stone”

By the time of 1975's Spirit of '76 album, the band had abandoned its pretenses to pop accessibility. Instead, Randy California wandered off into an intermittently rewarding mist of sci-fi psychedelica and bluesy guitar jamming. It's hard to say whether the world needed an ultra-mellow cover of Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone," but that's exactly what California delivered, making xanax out of one very bitter pill. 

Play video

“Would You Believe”

Randy California spent many years living in Hawaii, and "Would You Believe," from 1977's deeply scattershot Future Games, is a soothing evocation of beachside vibes. The song wafts by on echoed slide guitar and California's reverbed vocals, sounding like chillwave if that microgenre had actually meant music-to-chill-out-to-while-listening-physically-close-to-waves.