Written three years after ‘Taurus’, ‘Stairway To Heaven’ features a similar chromatic arpeggio line performed on acoustic guitar, which raised questions surronding the song’s origins.
The decision comes after a week of testimony from Page, Plant and Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, as well as former members of Spirit and expert witnesses.
In the verdict, the jury explained that they believed that Led Zeppelin had indeed heard the song ‘Taurus’ prior to writing, but there was no substantial similarity in the extrinsic elements between the song and the Zeppelin hit. The jury made the decision meerly 30 minutes after listening to both songs one final time.
The plaintiff’s argument revolved around whether or not Page and Plant had ever heard ‘Taurus’ before they composed ‘Stairway to Heaven’. Page and Plant claimed to have never heard the song prior to a few years before the trial, however it was revealed that Page held a copy of Spirit’s debut. Page however claims to have had no knowledge that it existed amongst his collection.
The case did become even more interesting when it was revealed that Led Zeppelin shared venues with Spirit in the late Sixties. Page and Plant countered this argument, saying they never watched or heard Spirit’s performances.
The band’s defence relied on the fact that the descending musical figure central to case has been used countless times in musical composition over the past 300 years.