Page, Plant in Court for 'Stairway' Trial

Rock legends accused of ripping off most famous song
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2016 3:16 AM CDT

The battle over "Stairway to Heaven" has begun: The Led Zeppelin ballad was played in a Los Angeles federal court Tuesday as the copyright trial kicked off, with lawyers claiming the band stole the start of their 1971 song from the earlier song "Taurus" by '60s psych-rock band Spirit, reports the Los Angeles Times. Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, who canceled a London concert to attend the trial, were on hand, and Matt Diehl at Rolling Stone writes that they looked "decidedly regal in their finely tailored suits and coiffed, pulled-back locks." The contrast with the plaintiffs and their lawyers made the legal duel seem like "a battle between modern-day Wildings and the Westeros High Court," he writes.

"This case can be summed up in six words: Give credit where credit is due," said the attorney representing the estate of late Spirit singer Randy Wolfe. He argued that Page and Plant heard the song when Led Zeppelin played at some of the same concerts and music festivals as Spirit in the late '60s, the Telegraph reports. A lawyer for the Zeppelin members argued that both songs used "basic musical devices that are completely commonplace" and can be found in Renaissance folk music from centuries ago, as well as in the Beatles' "Michelle," which predates the Spirit song. The trial is expected to last all week. (Ed Sheeran has been hit with a $20 million copyright lawsuit.)

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