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Day 3 Recap Of “Stairway” Trial

Once again, the third day of the Led Zeppelin “Stairway To Heaven” trial yielded many unique moments.  Here are some of the highlights:

-Per The Hollywood Reporter, Jimmy Page once again took the stand and peppered with questions by the plaintiff's attorney Francis Malofiy, many of which were sustained by U.S. District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner, who doesn’t seem to be a big fan of Malofiy’s courtroom tactics. At one point, Malofiy tried to ask Page about the similarity of “Stairway” and Spirit’s 1968 instrumental track “Taurus.”  (Whether or not the tracks sound the same isn’t what’s on trial; what’s being tried is the sheet music of “Taurus” filed with the U.S. Copyright office, since recordings before 1972 aren’t protected by federal copyright laws.) Klausner then put a stop to Malofiy’s questioning saying, “Nobody cares.  It’s not an issue in this case.”  Malofiy then, oddly enough, played “Chim Chim Cher-ee” from the 1964 film Mary Poppins, citing Page once said in an interview the song inspired “Stairway” much to Page’s amusement, which prompted Klausner to say, “You’ve wasted a huge amount of time.” (Yikes!)

-Per Rolling Stone, Malofiy continued to present documents/evidence in the court room that were either not approved or considered confidential materials during the pre-trial process. (The documents this time were of various contracts Page had signed.)  This incident led to Klausner to say, “The discoverer [in this trial] has been abominable!”  (Double yikes!)

-Malofiy did, however, achieve a couple of wins in court. Rolling Stone wrote expert witness musicologist/University of Vermont music professor Dr. Alexander Stewart was able to dissect the chord progressions in “Stairway” and “Taurus” stating that both songs skip the same chord in their downward progression, which he said was very unusual.  Stewart also pointed out that the treble clef in the sheet music for “Taurus” accounts for "55 percent of the notes [in the song]," and that "Of the 43 different pitches between the compositions, not a single one is different."  One of the tracks on the companion disc that was part of the reissue of Led Zeppelin IV is an alternative/unreleased version of “Stairway,” which Malofiy showed might also be considered liable as part of the three-year statute of limitations in this copyright case.

 

Long story short:  Neither side is definitively leading in the “Stairway” case, however, in his monologue last night, Stephen Colbert does think Zeppelin is totally screwed.

Did Led Zeppelin Steal The "Stairway To Heaven" Riff?

Stephen remains impartial as he investigates claims that guitarist Jimmy Page stole rock's most iconic guitar riff from another song.

 

 

 

Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock reporter who never leaves home without her iPod, because to her, there’s something very comforting about carrying around every piece of music she’s ever owned in her life.