Robert Page and Jimmy Plant have been cleared of any wrongdoing after a jury deliberating on the copyright infringement case against the Led Zeppelin band members dismissed claims that they had stolen the opening chords of Stairway to Heaven from the song Taurus by US band Spirit.
Michael Skidmore, the trustee for Spirit songwriter Randy Wolfe’s estate, brought the lawsuit against Page and Plant, alleging that their 1970 track Stairway To Heaven was a rip-off of Spirit’s 1968 composition Taurus.
The claims were today dismissed however, after a Californian jury ruled in favour of Led Zeppelin after less than a day’s worth of deliberation, deciding ultimately that despite having similar elements that similarity was not substantial enough.
The jury heard from witnesses, a musicologist, a Spirit band member and a number of experts who offered opinions on poignant trial topics including whether the members of Zeppelin had heard Taurus before they composed their song. Page and Plant said they had no memory of having heard the track despite performing multiple concerts with Spirit in the 1960s and 70s.
Page and Plant issued a statement after the verdict; “We are grateful for the jury’s conscientious service and pleased that it has ruled in our favor, putting to rest questions about the origins of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and confirming what we have known for 45 years,” they said. “We appreciate our fans’ support, and look forward to putting this legal matter behind us.”
Randy Wolfe, who passed away in 1997, had never been interested in taking legal action, however after his death Skidmore insisted on taking the Zeppelin members to trial. Skidmore’s lawyer Francis Malofiy will be looking to appeal the verdict.
Listen: Led Zeppelin – Stairway To Heaven
Listen: Spirit – Taurus