Led Zeppelin have officially denied that classic track Stairway To Heaven was copied from Spirit song Taurus, in legal papers filed last week.
Bassist Mark Andes and the estate of late Spirit guitarist Randy California raised an action last year, alleging that the introduction to Zep’s 1971 masterwork was taken from 1968 track Taurus.
Documents claimed Jimmy Page had been exposed to the music when the bands toured together during Zep’s first US trip. But the guitarist last year dismissed the suggestion as “ridiculous.”
Now papers filed in a California court flatly refute the accusation of copyright breach, and say the band don’t have enough knowledge of the case to answer it. They do admit to playing a medley that included a Spirit track during live shows in 1968 and 1969.
One section reads: “Answering paragraph 11 of the First Amended Complaint, including the First Amended Complaint’s footnote 1, Defendants admit that Led Zeppelin has been called one of the greatest bands in history and its members were and are exceptionally talented, but otherwise deny each and every allegation contained in paragraph 11 of the First Amended Complaint.”
Led Zep failed in an attempt to have the suit dismissed in 2014, but succeeded in having the legal action moved from Pennsylvania to California.
Before his death in 1997, Randy California described the situation as a “sore point” and added: “I’d say it was a rip-off. The guys made millions of bucks on it and never said, ‘Thank you’ – never said, ‘Can we pay you some money?’”