Led Zeppelin cleared of plagiarism in Stairway case

BBC | 24 June 2016

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.

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