Jury Decides in Favor of Led Zeppelin in ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Lawsuit
A jury ruled in favor of the rock band Led Zeppelin in a multi-million dollar lawsuit that claimed their song “Stairway to Heaven,” especially the iconic guitar riff played by member Jimmy Page, was copied from a 1968 song called “Taurus” from the band Spirit.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the lawsuit was filed by Michael Skidmore, the Trustee of Spirit songwriter Randy Wolfe’s estate. Wolfe himself never seemed to care when told the songs sounded similar, but after he died in 1997, Skidmore started to pursue the lawsuit.
Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant and Page were both on hand to give testimony, and both denied having access to “Taurus” despite performing concerts with Spirit, while others testified that the famed rock group were privy to the song before they wrote “Stairway to Heaven.”
The jury delivered its verdict on Thursday, saying they believed Led Zeppelin heard “Taurus” decades ago, but there wasn’t substantial similarities in “extrinsic elements” of “Taurus” and “Stairway.” The decision came after the jury took one last listen of both songs.
The lawyer for the plaintiff has said they would appeal.
After the verdict, Page and Plant put out 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.”
Warner Music also stated, “At Warner Music Group, supporting our artists and protecting their creative freedom is paramount. We are pleased that the jury found in favor of Led Zeppelin, re-affirming the true origins of ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ Led Zeppelin is one of the greatest bands in history, and Jimmy Page and Robert Plant are peerless songwriters who created many of rock’s most influential and enduring songs.”