Led Zeppelin are to face a new trial over claims they “copied” their classic track ‘Stairway To Heaven’, it has been reported.
In 2016, a Los Angeles federal court jury decided the band had not copied the 1971 song’s riff from a song called ‘Taurus’ by the band Spirit.
Now, a three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court Of Appeals in San Francisco have unanimously ruled that the lower court judge had provided the jury with incorrect instructions and the case should be sent back to the court for another trial.
‘Taurus’ was reportedly not allowed to be played during proceedings while the judge in charge had reportedly falsely told the jury that common musical elements like “descending chromatic scales, arpeggios or short sequences of three notes” were not protected by copyright.
The original lawsuit was filed by a trustee of the estate of Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe, who died in 1997, in 2015. Guitarist Jimmy Page and frontman Robert Plant testified at the original five-day trial and denied the claims they had copied ‘Taurus’.
Led Zeppelin and their legal team have yet to comment publicly on the new development in the case. Francis Malofiy, a lawyer for Wolfe’s estate, said the new ruling confirmed they “didn’t have a fair fight” before.
Led Zeppelin are currently celebrating their 50th anniversary. The band was formed in 1968 by Page, Plant, bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. They released their self-titled debut album in 1969, putting out another seven records before their split in 1980.
The band have reformed several times over the intervening years. Their most recent reunion was in 2007 when the group performed at London’s The O2 with the late Bonham’s son Jason taking his dad’s place behind the drumkit.