Led Zeppelin’s long fought lawsuit claiming the eminent intro riff to ‘Stairway to Heaven’ was stolen has come to a close in favour of the rock band – it did not steal the track.
Chasing the Zeppelin was a Michael Skidmore, who became the trustee of a band named Spirit, after its frontman died in 1997. His law suit alleged: “Within days after opening for Spirit, Led Zeppelin quickly began to cover Spirit’s songs they incorporated the song ‘Fresh Garbage’ from Spirit’s self-titled album into their live sets.”
Led Zeppelin artists Jimmy Page and Robert Plant both testified that they have never heard the track ‘Taurus’.
The defence also argued that the chord progression was commonly used and has been so for more than 300 years, eroding Spirit’s case.
Robert Plant claimed he had no memory of meeting Spirit bassist Mark Andes, citing "hubbub and chaos" and a car crash in his failure to remember the 40-year-old meeting. The judge stated that the band had access to ‘Taurus’ having performed with the band in the 60s.
The jury of eight came to the conclusion that the similarities between the songs were minimal.
Page and Plant said in a joint statement. "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," they said. "We appreciate our fans' support, and look forward to putting this legal matter behind us."
Compare both songs below.