Led Zep­pelin Loses Bid to Dodge Trial over ‘Stair­way to Heaven’

The Economic Times - - Around The World -

The song’s not quite the same, but the open­ing of ‘Stair­way to Heaven’ is close enough to an ob­scure 1960s al­bum track to war­rant a trial that might re­write the his­tory of rock ’n’roll over a song-writ­ing credit.

Led Zep­pelin founders Jimmy Page, 72, and Robert Plant, 67, are ex­pected to re­count the ori­gins of the song more than 40 years ago at a trial sched­uled to start May 10 in Los An­ge­les. Lawyers for t he t wo ro ck­ers have asked the judge to ex­clude ev­i­dence of the “ad­verse ef­fects of drink­ing or drug use in the 1960s or later” as a fac­tor in their al­legedly f lawed rec­ol­lec­tion of whether they were fa­mil­iar with a song they are ac­cused of copy­ing. US dis­trict judge R Gary Klaus­ner ruled on Fri­day t h at a j u r y must d e c i d e whether the British rock­ers ripped off the open­ing licks of ‘Tau­rus’, which was recorded by a band named Spirit that in 1969 played con­certs with Zep­pelin. Although there was no ev­i­dence of “strik­ing sim­i­lar­ity,” the judge said, there was enough ev­i­dence of­fered for a jury to weigh whether there was “sub­stan­tial sim­i­lar­ity.” The law­suit was brought in 2014, 43 years af­ter ‘Stair­way to Heaven’ was r ele a s e d, on be­half of the late Randy Cal­i­for­nia, Spirit’s gui­tarist and the com­poser of ‘Tau­rus’.

Singer Robert Plant and gui­tarist Jimmy Page

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