"Stairway To Heaven" not cleared for SCTV

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Shaw, Oct 15, 2005.

  1. Shaw

    Shaw Stunt Coordinator

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    I am a fan of SCTV. If you are not aware of the series SCTV, you can learn about it at these links:

    http://sctvguide.ca/
    http://sctv.org/intro.htm
    http://www.answers.com/topic/second-city-television
    http://secondcity.com/?id=tv-film/sctv

    SCTV stands for "Second City Television". This comedy show ran from 1976-1984. They had six seasons and many famous comedians came out of that series. John Candy, Catherine O'Hara, Rick Moranis, Harold Ramis, Dave Thomas, Joe Flaherty, etc.

    In 1982, they did a wonderful comic sendup to the song "Stairway To Heaven". Recently, however, Led Zeppelin were in a position to grant permission that this sketch be allowed to be used on the DVDs of SCTV, which are finally coming out now.

    Unfortunately, Mr. Page and Mr. Plant have decided that the song cannot be used. I do not know the real reasons for this. I do not understand why they would not enjoy such a wonderful comic tribute. I do not understand why they do not grant permission of the use of this song. I personally think they may have asked for an incredibly high fee. Giant car companies however have used the music of Led Zeppelin in car commericals.

    Several other people have done this song. Tiny Tim, Butthole Surfers, The Beatnix, John Paul Young, Kate Ceberano, Leonard Teale, Michael Turkic, The Ministry of Fun, Neil Pepper, Pardon Me Boys, Robyne Dunn, The Rock Lobsters, Rolf Harris, Sandra Hahn, Vegimite Reggae and others.

    Information about the song can be seen here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stairway_to_Heaven

    Although the version of "Stairway To Heaven" was done on SCTV as a parody, several other parodies have also been done and from my knowledge, there have been no problems there. Robert Plant even said so himself in an NPR Radio interview that he liked Tiny Tim's version as well as the one known as "Hairway To Steven".

    It is to my personal disappointment that Mr. Plant and Mr. Page have not been able to negotiate a deal with the makers of the DVD sets of SCTV.

    Although SCTV may not have asked permission originally for use of the song, that does not mean that they cannot make a reasonable deal today. As a fan of SCTV and Led Zeppelin it seems rather sad that they are not willing to make an agreement for this wonderful parody to continue to be used.
    I have written an open letter to Mr. Page and Mr. Plant and would hope that they might change their minds about this situation.[​IMG]

    Here is my page:
    http://www.runstop.de/bennysplace/stairway.html

    Thanks,
    threerandot
     
  2. Jay_B!

    Jay_B! Screenwriter

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    watch people call Shout!Factory explicits when IT'S NOT THEIR FAULT PAGE AND PLANT REFUSE TO COMPLY!!!
     
  3. Bill GrandPre

    Bill GrandPre Cinematographer

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    This should come as no surprise to anyone. They flat-out refuse to license "Stairway to Heaven" for ANYTHING. The beginning of the song was included in "Wayne's World" but they didn't bother to clear it and Page & Plant got pissed off and made them remove it for all home video releases. Cameron Crowe undoubtedly has a better relationship with Page & Plant and he was lucky enough to get 4 Zeppelin songs for "Almost Famous", although they still wouldn't let him use "Stairway" so he had to trim down his favorite scene in the movie to a fraction of it's original length. I was watching the South Park Season 6 DVD's and I was surprised that Towelie's playing of just slipped under P&P's radar. He also mangles it horribly (that's the joke) but it's still recognizable as "Stairway".
     
  4. David Rain

    David Rain Screenwriter

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    Page & Plant do have the right to use the song as they wish. However, it sounds like they take themselves and this song a bit too seriously. Protecting the song to this extent simply keeps it away from the fans who made it famous and from a new generation who might only hear their work in films and on TV.
     
  5. streeter

    streeter Screenwriter

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    Shaw: Just a recommendation: shorten the letter a bit. Keep it short and to-the-point.

    Jay: I don't know what you're saying. Perhaps you can edit your post so that it makes sense. But if you're trying to say what I think you're trying to say, I think you have completely misinterpreted Shaw's post.

    Yeah, it's a bummer that it's not on the DVD, but I'll live... That said, if Shout! could clear it and include it as a bonus feature on a future release, that would be wonderful.

    I have never seen this sketch, but as a SCTV fan I would really love to. I guess there is a way for us to see it, but I can't post it here. It involves someone who has the bit on tape, and someone who has some webspace.
     
  6. Jay_B!

    Jay_B! Screenwriter

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    I know a few people who take EVERY missing song from a DVD as "the company is just too cheap to try to pay for it", when I don't think it's fair for someone to say that about Shout!Factory over this song when the song owners flat. I didn't say anything wrong, just stating the obvious.
     
  7. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    On the "Bootleg Cut" of Almost Famous...there is a bonus feature where they included the entire Stairway scene separately...but with no audio. However, there are title cards which tongue-in-cheek tell you about the difficulty of getting the rights to use the song and suggest that if you just happen to start the song "NOW" and start the scene at the same time, you'll get a pretty good idea of what's going on. And I'll tell ya, the scene's a killer! [​IMG]
     
  8. Bill GrandPre

    Bill GrandPre Cinematographer

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    Yeah, it would be excruciatingly dull without the music, though. I feel sorry for anyone that watches the deleted scene without playing "Stairway" simultaneously.
     
  9. Shaw

    Shaw Stunt Coordinator

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    Shaw: Just a recommendation: shorten the letter a bit. Keep it short and to-the-point.

    Thanks for the advice Michael. I appreciate it. Some people I have talked to say not to even bother trying. I really feel that the whole point of this exercise is to show that just because the song belongs to Page and Plant, doesn't mean they have to be so arrogant as to it's use.

    Shout probably begged and pleaded to make a deal and Page and Plant sat there and enjoyed every moment of it. Seems to me that this actually damages their reputation to some degree, don't you think?

    Weren't these guys part of the counterculture? Part of the establishment? Now they have become the thing that they originally were against. The Establishment. Guys in suits making big decisions.

    Michael, if you have any suggestions as to editing my letter, I would appreciate hearing them. Please drop me an email if you like:

    threerandot@yahoo.ca

    Shaw (threerandot)[​IMG]
     
  10. Jay_B!

    Jay_B! Screenwriter

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    out of curiousity, did the STH reference on South Park slip through the radar? if that's the case, will the current season 6 DVD's be replaced and turned into a collectors item if Page and Plant ever find out?
     

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