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Led Zep On Trial

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: (L-R) Robert Plant and Jimmy Page attend a press conference to announce Led Zeppelin's new live DVD Celebration day at 8 Northumberland Avenue on September 21, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

by Martin Kielty, reposted from Team rock (here)

Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and Jimmy Page have appeared in LA court for first day of trial over classic track Stairway To Heaven.

They’re accused of having taken a significant part of Spirit’s 1967 track Taurus and used it as the opening riff for their own song, which was released four years later.

But the hearing, before Los Angeles district judge Gary Klausner, could be cut short after the lawyer representing late Spirit guitarist Randy California apparently used evidence that had not been included in trial plans.

Francis Malofiy played a video recording of a guitarist performing the riffs in question, leading Led Zeppelin representative Peter Anderson to object. Judge Klausner said playing the video could be “grounds for a mistrial” if it hadn’t been listed, but Malofiy chose to keep playing it.
He said in his opening statement that his case came down to six words: “Give credit where credit is due.”

Anderson said in his own statement: “45 years ago Jimmy Page and Robert Plant wrote some of the greatest songs in rock’n’roll history – half a century later they’re being sued for it.”

Plant and Page said nothing during the hearing, which was mainly taken up with selecting a jury. Bassist John Paul Jones, who was dropped from the list of accused persons in pre-trial hearings, is set to appear as the band’s main witness.

Judge Klausner has imposed a 10-hour limit on the trial, which means it’s likely to last three or four days at most.

1 Comment

  1. Illinois Inmate Search on June 24, 2016 at 9:19 am

    I’m not clear on what specific chord progression was an issue in this case. Was it the intro? That would be something like:

    I- V/VII I-/b7 VI- bVI7 V7 I-

    Let’s see, that’s common to a bunch of tunes, starting with “My Funny Valentine”. The number probably is in the 100s.

    Is it the I, VI, IV, V chord progression that goes along with the Lyrics, “And as we wind on down the road”? If so, oh, many what a can of worms. That chord progression has been around since Pacabell’s time.

    And all of this is to be judged by, you guessed it, people who know nothing at all of harmonic progressions. Lovely.

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