A charity concert in the UK which was set to star Robert Plant has been cancelled because he’ll be in the US, attending the trial over Led Zeppelin track Stairway To Heaven.
The hearing begins on June 14 in Los Angeles, after the estate of Spirit guitarist Randy California alleged that the opening phrase from the 1971 classic was stolen from his band’s 1968 track Taurus, released the following year.
Plant and bandmate Jimmy Page had recorded video testimony with the intention of not attending the trial, but it’s since been confirmed that they’ll be in court. It’s thought they could be ordered to pay over $40 million if the case is found against them.
Plant had been set to perform at London’s Meltdown Festival on June 19, headlining a refugee awareness show for the British Red Cross entitled The Boat We’re In.
A statement says: “Robert is a defendant in a court case in LA, which was due to take place on May 10. Through court rearrangements the hearing has been moved to June 14.”
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It continues: “Robert has been enthusiastic to help in any way to the increased awareness and support of powerless and distraught peoples. The opportunity afforded at Meltdown was an event that Robert was passionately drawn to.”
The Boat We’re In has now been cancelled and ticket-holders are being offered refunds. Plant had already shown his support for the campaign by appearing on an EP entitled Long Road, performing Elbow song The Blanket Of Night.
This week, lawyers representing Led Zeppelin have accused opposition attorney Francie Malofiy of attempting to “taint the witness pool” by claiming that Page and Plant might not attend the hearing, while it had already been confirmed that they would.
In a legal motion Led Zeppelin’s lawyers say: “Plaintiff’s gambit, and his ongoing efforts to try this case in the press, should be rejected,” adding that Malofiy was “refusing to take ‘yes’ for an answer” and calling his moves a “PR stunt.”
Bassist John Paul Jones is expected to appear as a defence witness, after claims against him were dropped during a pre-trial hearing.