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You Be The Judge: Is Sabbath’s “Paranoid” Riff A Rip-Off?

Uh-oh!  It looks like we might have another classic rock riff rip-off on our hands.  (Say that five times fast!)

In the same vein as Led Zeppelin and their “Stairway To Heaven” drama with the band Spirit, a song called “Get Down” from Michigan-based group Half Life has surfaced on YouTube, with many saying the song’s opening riff (recorded in June 1969) sounds an awful lot like the classic Black Sabbath riff on “Paranoid” (recorded in June 1970.)

Take a listen to the riff on both tracks and be the judge.

It’s hard to deny the similarities, that’s for sure!  So far, Tony Iommi, who is obviously credited with coming up with the riff, has yet to comment on the matter, but if anyone from Half Life ever wanted to sue Sabbath on the grounds of copyright infringement, it may not be worth it.

In the Zeppelin lawsuit, if Spirit wins, they’d only receive royalties from the past three years due to various statutes.  (Let’s face it:  “Stairway” earned most of its money decades ago.)  Depending on where the lawsuit is filed, who knows what could happen, but one thing is certain:  We can’t wait to hear a comment from Iommi.




Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock reporter who never leaves home without her iPod, because to her, there’s something very comforting about carrying around every piece of music she’s ever owned in her life.