Robert Plant Testifies in ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Suit

By Radio.com Staff

Robert Plant testified in court this morning regarding Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.”

The lawsuit, filed by the estate of late Spirit guitarist Randy California, claims that Led Zeppelin copied the opening of Spirit’s 1968 track “Taurus” for the beginning of their 1971 hit “Stairway to Heaven.” The estate filed the suit in 2014 over alleged similarities between the two songs and is seeking royalties from the track.

Related: Jimmy Page Confused by ‘Taurus’ and ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Comparisons

Plant stated that he could not remember hearing Spirit’s song, or meeting Spirit bassist Mark Andes, at the place and time in question.

The Hollywood Reporter does report some moments of levity from this morning’s proceedings.

Plant’s own attorney Peter Anderson asked the frontman if he could read or write music (he cannot). “I haven’t learned yet,” Plant responded, laughing. The point of the question being, Plant would have been unable to transcribe the music for Page, even if had heard it, and did remember it.

He also had a good retort for Francis Malofiy, the attorney representing California’s estate.  When the lawyer asked Plant about Zeppelin’s early days playing cover songs the singer responded. “I don’t find it a problem, I hear you going on about it a lot,” which drew laughter from the court.

In a related development, a Zeppelin accountant estimated that Page has earned $615,000 and Plant has earned $532,000, before taxes, in “Stairway to Heaven” royalties, a significant discrepancy from larger figures presented by an expert for the estate.

 

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