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'Stairway' Trial Underway In Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) — The "Stairway to Heaven" plagiarism trial opened in Los Angeles this week, with both Jimmy Page and Robert Plant appearing in the court room.

The lawsuit was brought by Michael Skidmore, a trustee for the late Randy Wolfe, who performed as Randy California for the band Spirit. The suit alleges that Zeppelin infringed on copyrights due to the apparent similarity between their classic-rock hit "Stairway to Heaven" and the composition "Taurus", which was released four years earlier by psychedelic rock band Spirit.

While the trial has just begun, several notable developments have occurred.

First, according to Rolling Stone, Francis Alexander Malofiy, an attorney for the plaintiff, attempted to play a video of a session musician's performance of the two songs, but Zeppelin's lawyer Peter Anderson objected, noting that the video had not been included in the case's exhibit list, creating a basis for mistrial.

Secondly, presiding judge Gary Klausner has barred any testimony about Led Zeppelin's past history of alleged plagiarism. Zep, like many bands of the era, borrowed quite a bit from earlier blues artists, including hits such as "Babe I’m Gonna Leave You," “Whole Lotta Love,” and "Lemon Song."

While the two songs sound remarkably similar, the melody used in both songs isn't entirely an innovation by Spirit. Similar descending chromatic line have been used in music dating to back to the 1600s. – Staff Writers