Led Zep Prevails In Stairway Case


LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) — A jury in Los Angeles has found that rock legends Led Zeppelin did not steal the riff from their iconic hit "Stairway to Heaven" from the band Spirit and its late frontman Randy Wolfe.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the jury came down unanimously in favor of Led Zeppelin's defense after a week-long trial that largely hinged on two questions – did the members of Led Zeppelin have sufficient exposure to the Spirit song and was the opening of "Stairway" similar enough to "Taurus" to infringe on its copyright. As well, the status of Wolfe's estate's right to "Taurus" was also an issue in the trial.

The lawsuit was brought by Michael Skidmore, a trustee for the late Wolfe, who performed as Randy California with Spirit. Skidmore contended that Page may have been inspired to write Stairway after hearing Spirit perform the track while the bands were on tour together in 1968 and 1969.

The trial largely hinged on two questions – did the members of Led Zeppelin have sufficient exposure to the Spirit song and was the opening of "Stairway" similar enough to "Taurus" to infringe on its copyright. As well, the status of Wolfe's estate's right to "Taurus" was also an issue in the trial.

On the first issue, while the band performed together on a number of occasions, no one could remember a concert when Spirit performed Taurus where members of Led Zeppelin were watching, the Times said. As for the similarities, both sides presented expert witnesses who offered dramatically divergent views of the similarities in the music, with the expert for Led Zep noting that the descending chromatic line in question has been used in music dating to back to the 1600s. – Staff Writers