Jimmy Page Says He Had Never Heard Spirit Song in ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Lawsuit
As the case alleging that Led Zeppelin lifted part of Spirit's "Taurus" for "Stairway to Heaven" works its way to trial, Jimmy Page has claimed total innocence. In a declaration filed as part of the paperwork, he claims he had never heard "Taurus" until long after "Stairway" had entered the classic rock canon.
According to the Wrap, he asserted, “Prior to hearing a recording of ‘Taurus’ in 2014 in connection with this matter, I have never heard ‘Taurus’ or even heard of it. I am very good at remembering music and am absolutely certain that I never heard ‘Taurus’ until 2014.”
"Taurus" appeared on Spirit's 1968 self-titled debut, of which Page admitted to having a copy. But he does “not know how or when it got there,” and believed it it “may well have been left by a guest [...] But, again, I know I did not hear ‘Taurus’ until 2014.”
Led Zeppelin made their concert debut in America as Spirit's opening act, and the two bands were on the same festival bill a handful of times in 1969. Again, Page maintained his innocence. “I do not recall ever seeing Spirit perform live," he continued. "Again, though, I am absolutely certain I never heard them, or anyone else, perform ‘Taurus.'”
In his defense, he said that the song's initial chord progression -- the source of the similarity between the two songs and the basis for the suit -- is something that anybody with a rudimentary knowledge of the instrument could have come up with. “I consider descending chromatic lines and arpeggiated chords basic skills learned by any student of the guitar," he added. "Certainly, as a guitarist, I was aware of descending chromatic lines and arpeggios long before 1968.”
The case has a trial date set for May, two years after it was first filed. However, Zeppelin filed a motion for summary judgement last week.
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