Jury says Led Zeppelin did not steal riff from instrumental song “Taurus”

  • A US federal Jury ruled on Led Zeppelin’s favor in a copyright infringement lawsuit
  • The lawsuit accused Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of lifting the intro of “Stairway to Heaven” from the song “Taurus” of Spirit band
  • Plant and Page were pleased at the jury’s favorable ruling

The iconic band Led Zeppelin won the copyright infringement lawsuit in connection with their 1971 monster hit “Stairway to Heaven.”

The lawsuit filed by Michael Skidmore, a trustee for the estate of guitarist and songwriter Randy Wolfe of the band Spirit, accused Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page of stealing a riff from the Spirit’s instrumental song “Taurus” and used it in “Stairway to Heaven.”

As mentioned in an Indian Express article dated June 24, 2016, the Los Angeles jury, in a unanimous verdict, said Led Zeppelin did not lift the descending chord progression used in the introduction of “Stairway to Heaven” from the Spirit’s “Taurus.”

The jury said the riff Plant and Page were accused of stealing was not intrinsically similar to the opening chords of the “Stairway to Heaven.”

Defense lawyers argued during the week-long trial that the chord progression in question was very common and had been in use for over 300 years.

Prosecution lawyers argued that Plant and Page became familiar with the song “Taurus” when Led Zeppelin and Spirit both played at a club in Birmingham in 1970, a year before Led Zeppelin’s signature song “Stairway to Heaven” was released.

Plant, 67, and Page, 72, who were present throughout the trial, did not show immediate reaction to the verdict.

In a joint statement, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page said: “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.”

 

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