The trial surrounding claims that Led Zeppelin copied the intro of ‘Stairway To Heaven’ gets underway today (June 14) in Los Angeles.
It’s claimed that Zeppelin copied their 1971 song from Californian band Spirit’s track ‘Taurus’, released on their self-titled 1968 debut album.
The case will be heard at a court in Los Angeles, after the estate of late Spirit guitarist Randy California sued Led Zeppelin in 2014 over alleged similarities between the two songs.
Although Led Zeppelin and Spirit didn’t perform together, they were contemporaries and Led Zeppelin covered Spirit’s song ‘Fresh Garbage’, another song from ‘Sprit’. California’s estate manager Michael Skidmore states that the band could easily have heard ‘Taurus’ before writing ‘Stairway To Heaven’, which was released on Led Zeppelin’s album ‘IV’.
Skidmore named singer Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page as defendants in the lawsuit. In April, Judge R. Gary Klausner dismissed Led Zeppelin’s bid to have Skidmore’s lawsuit struck off as “frivolous”, stating that the two songs are similar enough for a lawsuit to be necessary to establish if the similarities are deliberate.
Although they aren’t legally required to attend, Plant, Page and bassist John Paul Jones are now expected to be at the trial. They last appeared in public together in 2012 during a press conference to promote ‘Celebration Day’, the live album and DVD based on Led Zeppelin’s 2007 reunion concert at London O2.
The latest development ruled in Led Zeppelin’s favour. Skidmore’s attorney, Francis Malofiy, had requested that musicologist Lawrence Ferrera be dismissed because Ferrara has previously been hired by Zeppelin’s publisher to evaluate similarities between ‘Stairway To Heaven’ and ‘Taurus’. Judge Klausner dismissed Malofiy’s request.