A couple of years ago, magnificently mellifluous metalmeisters Led Zeppelin were contacted by legaloids acting on behalf of 60s-70s California purveyors of far-outness, Spirit, who indicated that they were none too pleased that Jimmy Page had allegedly purloined large parts of Stairway To Heaven from Spirit’s Taurus, an instrumental included on their 1968 debut.
There have been various legal shenanigans on both sides, with the plaintiffs’ lead attorney being admonished for his conduct in another case, and Zeppelin’s lawyers getting a bit of a spanking for “trying to waste the court’s time” by bringing up various technicalities during attempts to have the suit dismissed.
Now, Jimmy Page has chimed in, saying that Led Zeppelin wrote the song, although he has now discovered that he does own a copy of the Spirit album. Earlier, he had indicated that it would have been impossible to directly swipe the tune, because he had never heard it. And actually, he says, that argument is still valid.
Hollywood Reporter scribes indicate that Page recently discovered a copy of the album in his collection, but claims he had never heard it before 2014: “I had not previously seen it in my collection, and do not know how or when it got there. It may well have been left by a guest. I doubt it was there for long, since I never noticed it before. But, again, I know I did not hear Taurus until 2014. I have several thousand albums of many different kinds. They include albums I purchased, albums people gave me and albums that were simply left at my home. Also, like a book collector who never gets around to reading books they collect, I have never listened to many of the albums.”
He also had a few thoughts on the writing of Stairway To Heaven, saying that the group put it together independently “with the intention to create a long work, with multiple different parts, that would unfold with increasing complexity and speed.” He also says that there are key dissimilarities between the opening guitar line in Stairway To Heaven and the one which is incorporated in Taurus, and that there are numerous other songs with descending guitar lines which are quite similar.
That gurgling sound you hear is lawyers salivating.
Here’s the Spirit track, to which you may apply your expert opinion. I have no more questions for his witness, Your Honor.