Led Zeppelin has won its lawsuit claiming that it stole the opening riffs of “Stairway To Heaven” from Spirit’s 1969 instrumental, “Taurus.” After a week’s worth of testimony, an eight person jury ruled in favor the famed rock group on Thursday (June 23rd), Billboard reports. The suit has been decades in the making after Spirit founder Randy Wolfe, known as Randy California, threatened to sue the band up to his death in 1997. Michael Skidmore, the Trustee of Wolf’s estate, brought on the suit which was heard in a Los Angeles court room last week.
Page and Plant released the following statement through their record label, Warner Music Group.
“We are grateful for the jury’s conscientious service and pleased that it has ruled in our favor, putting to rest questions about the origins of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and confirming what we have known for 45 years,” the pair state. “We appreciate our fans’ support, and look forward to putting this legal matter behind us.”
“Led Zeppelin is one of the greatest bands in history, and Jimmy Page and Robert Plant are peerless songwriters who created many of rock’s most influential and enduring songs.”
The label also issued the following statement.
“At Warner Music Group, supporting our artists and protecting their creative freedom is paramount,” a spokesperson comments. “We are pleased that the jury found in favor of Led Zeppelin, re-affirming the true origins of ‘Stairway to Heaven’. Led Zeppelin is one of the greatest bands in history, and Jimmy Page and Robert Plant are peerless songwriters who created many of rock’s most influential and enduring songs.”
Page, Plant and Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, along with members of Spirit, musicologists and other witnesses testified during the week long trial. They all were questioned and examined about whether Led Zeppelin had heard Spirit’s “Taurus,” which was written two years prior to “Stairway To Heaven,” due to their similar opening structures. Page and Plant denied the allegations from plaintiff attorney Francis Malofiy that the songs were too similar, despite Page having the song in his massive music collection more than 10,000 CDs and vinyl records.
Both Page and Plant were on hand in court to hear the verdict. The trial wrapped on Wednesday (June 22nd) and the jury’s decision comes less than a day of deliberations.
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.