Tags: jimmy page | copyright | trial

Jimmy Page's Copyright Trial Testimony on 'Stairway' Is Fuzzy

Image: Jimmy Page's Copyright Trial Testimony on 'Stairway' Is Fuzzy

Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. (Reuters)

By    |   Thursday, 16 Jun 2016 10:42 AM

Jimmy Page's copyright trial testimony wasn't much help in determining whether Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" lifted its opening notes from a song performed by the rock band Spirit, but his fuzzy memory didn't hurt the rockers' case.

The 72-year-old Led Zeppelin guitarist testified that he didn't remember hearing the 1967 song "Taurus" by Spirit until recently, Reuters reported. During his first day on the witness stand on Wednesday, Page also said he didn't remember opening for Spirit at Led Zeppelin's first U.S. show in Denver in 1968.

Singer Robert Plant also is expected to testify in the case, which was brought Michael Skidmore, a trustee for guitarist and composer Randy Wolfe, who died in 1997.

The iconic song has generated hundreds of millions of dollars over the years, The Associated Press reported.

Led Zeppelin relied on cover songs during its early days, and covered "Fresh Garbage" from Spirit's debut album in its medley "As Long as I Have You," the AP reported. That borrowed piece was on the same album as "Taurus," released a couple of years before "Stairway to Heaven."

Led Zeppelin has settled several similar copyright disputes over other songs, the AP said.

Page said he didn't even know he owned a copy of Spirit's debut album and wasn't familiar with the song "Taurus" before comparisons started to surface.

"Something like that would stick in my mind," Page told the Los Angeles jury. "It was totally alien to me."

Steven Weinberg, a music copyright lawyer not involved in the case, wasn't convinced.
"If they used one riff from Spirit, they might have used another riff from Spirit," Weinberg told the AP.

Still, music experts said the common musical sequence has appeared in songs for centuries.

Rolling Stone described Page as "alternately candid, evasive, sarcastic and wittily charming" during Wednesday's testimony.

Page told the jury that it was impossible for any of the Led Zeppelin band members to hear Spirit perform during the Denver concert because the band had to leave immediately after its opening act. He also said he didn't remember quotes that seemed to admit being a fan of Spirit, including a vintage audio recording in which he said: "Spirit is a band I really love."

Page was expected to return to the stand on Thursday.

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Jimmy Page's copyright trial testimony wasn't much help in determining whether Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" lifted its opening notes from a song performed by the rock band Spirit, but his fuzzy memory didn't hurt the rockers' case.
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Thursday, 16 Jun 2016 10:42 AM
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