Led Zeppelin has emerged victorious in a copyright lawsuit involving their song “Stairway to Heaven.” The Hollywood Reporter reports that, after a week of testimony and arguments, a jury decided that the song did not infringe upon the 1968 song “Taurus” by Spirit. In May 2014, Michael Skidmore—a trustee of for the estate of late Spirit songwriter and guitarist Randy California (whose real name is Randy Wolfe)—filed suit against Led Zeppelin for improper use of elements of “Taurus” in “Stairway.” The trial featured testimony from Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, who were present for the verdict. Page and Plant both said during the trial that they had not heard “Taurus” before writing “Stairway,” from their 1971 album IV, despite touring with Spirit years beforehand. However, Page’s testimony did put to rest the myth of how the song was written, which apparently was not by fireside in a cottage in Wales.
Listen to both songs below.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.