Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and Jimmy Page appeared in court yesterday for the start of the trial over classic track Stairway To Heaven.
They’re accused of having taken a significant part of Spirit’s 1967 track Taurus and used it as the opening riff for their own song, which was released four years later.
But the hearing, before Los Angeles district judge Gary Klausner, could be cut short after the lawyer representing late Spirit guitarist Randy California apparently used evidence that had not been included in trial plans.
Francis Malofiy played a video recording of a guitarist performing the riffs in question, leading Led Zeppelin representative Peter Anderson to object. Judge Klausner said playing the video could be “grounds for a mistrial” if it hadn’t been listed, but Malofiy chose to keep playing it.
- Why metal should show solidarity with the Orlando shooting victims
- Metallica No Life 'Til leather demo delayed due to legal issues
- 7 Things We Learned During Red Hot Chili Peppers' Carpool Karaoke
- Iron Maiden, Ghost, Lzzy Hale among Metal Hammer Golden Gods winners
He said in his opening statement that his case came down to six words: “Give credit where credit is due.”
Anderson said in his own statement: “45 years ago Jimmy Page and Robert Plant wrote some of the greatest songs in rock’n’roll history – half a century later they’re being sued for it.”
Plant and Page said nothing during the hearing, which was mainly taken up with selecting a jury. Bassist John Paul Jones, who was dropped from the list of accused persons in pre-trial hearings, is set to appear as the band’s main witness.
Judge Klausner has imposed a 10-hour limit on the trial, which means it’s likely to last three or four days at most.