The lawsuit is finally taken to trial.
Things are hotting up now that the Led Zeppelin copyright case has gone to trial, with guitarist Jimmy Page being called to testify in it's second day (June 15th 2016) in defense of his band that they did not copy the riff of 'Stairway To Heaven' from 'Taurus' by Spirit.
Led Zeppelin go on trial
Jimmy Page claimed that he had never heard 'Taurus' before he wrote 'Stairway to Heaven' in 1971, after his band was taken to court by the late Spirit frontman Randy California's trustee Michael Skidmore for the alleged similarities between the two tracks. It's taken two years for the case to come to trial, and it gets more and more complicated by the minute.
Evidence was given that Robert Plant was not in attendance at a Spirit concert in Birmingham in 1970, despite bandmember Greg Andes' initial claim that he was. But it was when Jimmy Page took to the stand that things really started intensifying. The plaintiff's lawyer Francis Malofiy made the following points as part of their evidence; a) that Page was in possession of Spirit's 1980 debut album featuring 'Taurus' (though he claims he was unaware, given the extent of his music collection), and b) that Led Zeppelin frequently covered Spirit's song 'Fresh-Garbage' in their live shows.
As for the former, Page had little to say about it. 'To be honest, I could've bought it or been given it', he said of the album, according to Rolling Stone. He also claims that he only heard 'Taurus' when his son-in-law played it to him just a few years ago. 'There was a buzz going on in the comparison', he said. 'My son-in-law brought it up; I don't do the Internet, so he played it for me. When I heard the orchestral part at the beginning, I knew I'd never heard it before . When it started, I was confused by the comparison. [I thought] 'What's this got to do with 'Stairway'?'' He also denied ever seeing Spirit actually perform live, at least prior to the release of 'Stairway To Heaven'.
However, Malofiy then played a decades-old tape to the courtroom in which Page was heard to say: 'Spirit is a band I really love'. But Page claimed he didn't remember saying it. For now, it looks like the Zeppelin party is looking better in the eyes of Judge Gary Klausner, who became increasingly frustrated with Malofiy's repeated objections, most of which were inevitably 'Sustained!'.