Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Led Zeppelin guitarist Page (right) and lead singer Plant denied copying opening chords for Stairway to Heaven

Led Zeppelin did not plagiarise the opening chords of the rock epic Stairway to Heaven from the US band Spirit, a Los Angeles jury has found.

It said the riff Led Zeppelin was accused of taking from Spirit’s 1967 song Taurus “was not intrinsically similar” to Stairway’s opening.

But it said Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant had access to Taurus. Stairway to Heaven was released in 1971.

The case was brought on behalf of Spirit’s late guitarist, Randy Wolfe.

During the trial, defence lawyers argued that the chord progression in question was very common and had been in use for more than 300 years.


The prosecution had argued Led Zeppelin became familiar with Spirit’s song after the two bands played on the same bill in Plant’s hometown at a club in the English city of Birmingham in 1970.

Media captionJimmy Page: How we wrote Stairway to Heaven (from 2014)

Spirit’s bassist Mark Andes testified last week he met Plant at the show and played snooker with him afterward.

Plant insisted he had no memory of that night, saying that in all the “hubbub and chaos” it would be hard to remember a one-off meeting 40 years ago.

Plant partially attributed his lack of memory to a bad car crash on his way home from the club. Both he and his wife suffered head injuries in the accident, he told the court, after the windshield of his Jaguar was left “buried” in his face.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant (left) and guitarist Jimmy Page (right) denied lifting the opening riff in Stairway To Heaven from the US band Spirit’s song Taurus
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Janet Wolfe, sister of the late Spirit songwriter and guitarist Randy Wolfe, attended the court proceedings
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Before the verdict, Judge Gary Klausner (back) agreed to a request by the jury to hear acoustic guitar renditions of both songs played side by side

The singer-songwriter also spoke at length about the creation of Stairway to Heaven.

He reiterated the assertions made by his band mates Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones that the song had begun at the country estate Headley Grange and not the Welsh cottage Bron-Yr-Aur, contradicting decades of Led Zeppelin mythology.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Led Zeppelin are said to have made more than $562m (334m) from Stairway To Heaven in the last 45 years

Read more:

Be Sociable, Share!