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Led Zeppelin Stairway To Heaven case goes to appeal

Jimmy Page and Robert Plant
Page and Plant in 2012 (Image credit: Getty)

The copyright battle over Led Zeppelin track Stairway To Heaven has gone back to court after an appeal was launched by the estate of late Spirit guitarist Randy California.

A jury decided last month that Led Zeppelin had not stolen the opening riff of their 1971 classic from Spirit’s Taurus, released three years earlier.

The legal argument centred on the suggestion that the chord sequence in question had been in use for three centuries. That, and other points, led to the case being found in Jimmy Page and Robert Plant’s favour.

But representatives of Michael Skidmore, who brought the case, filed a notice of appeal on July 23 – meaning that legal action will re-commence in the near future.

Guitarist Page recently thanked Led Zeppelin fans for their support during the proceedings, saying: “Throughout the lengthy journey to that verdict I have received and been aware of the overwhelming wave of support, encouragement and congratulations that has been deeply moving.”

The band launched a claim for $630,000 against California’s state following the original trial. In a statement released just after the ruling, they said: “We are grateful for the jury’s conscientious service and pleased that it has ruled in our favour, putting to rest questions about the origins of Stairway To Heaven and confirming what we have known for 45 years.”

California – real name Randy Wolfe – died in 1997 after insisting for years that Led Zeppelin had taken the Stairway opening from Taurus. In a 1991 interview he said: “The guys made millions of bucks on it and never said ‘Thank you’ – never said, ‘Can we pay you some money for it?’ It’s kind of a sore point with me.”

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