RAT Rock News

Robert Plant touched on what it was like going through the Led Zeppelin “Stairway to Heaven” lawsuit, which finally came to an end in October 2020 after six years of legal battles.

Plant said in an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Loose Ends on observing the lawsuit in the courtroom, “I just had to sit there, I was instructed to sit directly opposite the jury, don’t look at them but just don’t look at anybody, just sit there for eight hours.”

The core of the lawsuit was based around the allegation that Zeppelin ripped off a chord progression from the song “Taurus” by the band Spirit. While the music of “Stairway” is credited to Jimmy Page, Plant’s songwriting credit on the iconic tune came via the lyrics.

Plant noted, “As much as I am musical, I cannot comment on anything musical. I just sing…There are zillions and zillions of songs that were carrying the same chord progression, so it was very unfortunate, and it was unpleasant for everybody.”

During the interview, it was noted that the trial had a proper jury and a screening process, which was interesting considering the high-profile nature of the lawsuit.

“They took out a couple of people who got quite interested in us as we walked into the room,” said Plant with a laugh who then joked, “…Well, one of them shouted ‘Dad!’ to [laughs] So, yeah, it was horrible stuff.”

The “Stairway” case had many legal back-and-forths from 2014 to 2020. In August 2020, the Supreme Court was petitioned by the estate of the late Randy “California” Wolfe in an effort to overturn the March 2020 en banc ruling (by all judges of the court) from the 9th Circuit Cout of Appeals. That ruling stated that the 2016 verdict that declared Zeppelin did not steal parts of “Stairway to Heaven” from the 1968 track “Taurus” from the band Spirit would stand. In September 2018, a three-judge bench of the 9th Circuit Cout of Appeals overturned the 2016 verdict.

In October 2020, the Supreme Court denied the petition from the Wolfe estate, thus, finally putting an end to six years of litigation.

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Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock news blogger who's well-versed in etiquette and extraordinarily nice. #TransRightsAreHumanRights