Federal Jury Rules LED ZEPPELIN Did Not Plagiarize "Stairway To Heaven"
A jury decided that Led Zeppelin did not rip off "Stairway to Heaven" from the band Spirit's track "Taurus."
Jimmy Page and Robert Plant were named in the suit by Michael Skidmore, the trustee of the Randy Craig Wolfe Trust,
named after the late Spirit guitarist, with deliberations happening all week arguing that the opening notes of the legendary Zep tune were too similar to parts of the Spirit track "Taurus." The trustees were hoping to not only get a cash settlement but writing credit on one of the more famous rock songs of all time.
Before the trial started, Paige wrote a declaration denying any wrongdoing:
"Prior to hearing a recording of 'Taurus' in 2014 in connection with this matter, I have never heard 'Taurus' or even heard of it. I am very good at remembering music and am absolutely certain that I never heard 'Taurus' until 2014," later adding "I do not recall ever seeing Spirit perform live. Again, though, I am absolutely certain I never heard them, or anyone else, perform 'Taurus'."
He said the chords in "Stairway" were basic guitar knowledge, saying the song "includes a descending chromatic line chord progression and arpeggios, over which played an ascending line. I consider descending chromatic lines and arpeggiated chords basic skills learned by any student of the guitar. Certainly, as a guitarist, I was aware of descending chromatic lines and arpeggios long before 1968."
Ultimately, the jury agreed with Paige. The rights to "Stairway to Heaven" are reportedly worth more than $560 million.