Jimmy Page denies stealing Stairway To Heaven riff
- Bang Showbiz
- 16 June 2016
Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page testified in court in Los Angeles on Wednesday (15.06.16) to deny stealing the riff for 'Stairway To Heaven' from Spirit's 'Taurus'
Jimmy Page testified that he did not steal the riff for Led Zeppelin's classic track 'Stairway To Heaven' in court on Wednesday (15.06.16).
The 72-year-old guitarist and his former bandmate Robert Plant have been accused of stealing the intro to the classic rock song - which they co-wrote and released in 1971 - from Spirit's 'Taurus'.
Page appeared at a court in Los Angeles to give evidence in the plagiarism case - brought by the estate of late Spirit guitarist Randy California, also known as Randy Wolfe - and was adamant he did not lift the music from the 1968 instrumental track for his own composition.
He said: "Something like that would stick in my mind. It was totally alien to me."
Page did admit that he owned three Spirit albums and that Led Zeppelin - also comprised of John Paul Jones and the late John Bonham - used a riff from another Spirit track in a medley played during their first tour of Scandinavia.
Former Spirit member Mark Andes also appeared in court on the same day and when testifying he was adamant that the two arpeggio four-chord progressions are the same.
Andes recalled Spirit performing 'Taurus' during a show in Denver in 1968 at which Led Zeppelin were the opening act, and revealed that he had hung out with Plant and "had a blast" following a Spirit concert in Birmingham, England, in 1970.
Plant and Jones are also due to give evidence in the case, although the bassist was a not a songwriter on 'Stairway To Heaven'.
The estate of California want him to be given a writing credit on the track and share of royalties.
California tragically drowned in Hawaii on January 2, 1997 trying to save his 12-year-old son from a rip current and it is his trustee, Michael Skidmore, who has brought the copyright infringement action against the two Led Zeppelin songwriters.
Shortly before he died at the age of 45, California told Listener magazine he believed 'Stairway To Heaven' was a "rip-off" of his own track with Page and Plant regularly hearing 'Taurus' when Spirit supported Led Zeppelin in 1968 and 1969.
He said: "The guys made millions of bucks on it and never said, 'Thank You', never said, 'Can we pay you some money for it?'
"It's a sore point with me. Maybe someday their conscience will make them do something about it."