Robert Plant and Jimmy Page Win Copyright Lawsuit for Classic Rock Hit “Stairway To Heaven”
October 6, 2020
Legendary classic rock band, Led Zeppelin, won their six-year court battle over the authenticity of the band's lyrics to his song, Stairway To Heaven.
Photo of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page via LedZeppelin.com
The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition aimed at reviving the copyright battle that alleged that Zeppelin stole parts of its 1971 “Stairway to Heaven” song from the 1968 song “Taurus” by the American band, Spirit.
By refusing to review the case, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' jury verdict decided in favor of songwriters Robert Plant and Jimmy Page to remain intact. Michael Skidmore, a trustee for late Spirit guitarist Randy California, filed the copyright suit in 2014, claiming the intro to Stairway to Heaven was a ripoff of the band's instrumental song Taurus. Led Zeppelin was the opening act for Spirit on a U.S. tour in 1968, however, Page claimed in a 2016 Los Angeles jury trial that he had not heard "Taurus" until recently.
Both Page and Plant testified they wrote the original music together for Stairway to Heaven during court proceedings. The eight-minute song, which appeared on the band’s fourth studio album, Led Zeppelin, is considered one of the greatest classic rock hits of all time.
The judge agreed that there were enough similarities between the two songs to move ahead with a trial in April 2016, however a jury voted against the ruling two months later. Members of American Spirit filed an appeal, claiming that jury members didn't get to hear Taurus before making their decision.
The appeal moved to a Federal court in San Francisco for a March hearing that was dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, October 5.
Watch Led Zeppelin perform Stairway to Heaven Here:
Listen to "Taurus" by the band Spirit to hear the similarities for yourself:
Jimmy Page posted a tribute the late Eddie Van Halen on Instagram saying:
"It is with great sadness that I heard the passing of Eddie Van Halen.
He was the real deal: he pioneered a dazzling technique on guitar with taste and panache that I felt always placed him above his imitators.
It was good to see him featured at the Met’s Play It Loud Exhibition.
R. I. P. Eddie"