LED ZEPPELIN’s Jimmy Page Testifies At “Stairway To Heaven” Copyright Trial
According to the Associated Press, guitar legend Jimmy Page testified Wednesday that until a few years ago, he'd never heard a song that Led Zeppelin is accused of ripping off for “Stairway To Heaven”.
"Something like that would stick in my mind. It was totally alien to me," Page said of the instrumental song “Taurus”, by the band Spirit.
A lawyer for the estate of Spirit's late guitarist, Randy California, contends that the famous descending-chord guitar riff that begins 1971's Stairway was lifted from the Spirit tune, which was released a few years earlier.
An eight-member jury is hearing the copyright infringement case in federal court. Jurors must decide whether the two sequences are substantially similar.
Earlier in the day, former Spirit member Mark Andes testified that riffs from both songs, played by an acoustic guitarist on a video aired in court, were the same.
Musical experts not involved in the case have said the sequence is common and has appeared in other pieces from decades and even centuries ago.
The lawsuit was brought in 2014, 43 years after "Stairway To Heaven" was released, on behalf of the late Randy California, Spirit’s guitarist and the composer of “Taurus”. A trust created by his mother and administered by a former rock journalist alleged in the complaint that Page lifted the opening acoustics “Stairway” from an instrumental that California had written in 1966 for his girlfriend. According to trustee Michael Skidmore, Page had asked California to teach him the chords to Taurus in 1969, when the two groups would sometimes tour together.