As It Winds On Down The Road
Jimmy Page takes the stand in “Stairway” trial
By Gary Graff
June 16, 2016
Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page was on the stand for the second day of the “Stairway To Heaven” plagiarism trial on Wednesday (June 15) in Los Angeles U.S. District Court.
Page and Robert Plant are accused by the estate of the late Spirit guitarist Randy California of stealing elements of that band’s 1968 instrumental, “Taurus,” for “Stairway’s” opening, which the duo has denied. In his testimony, Page said that he had never heard “Taurus” until a few years ago, when his son-in-law showed him a video of Spirit performing the song online; Page claimed the song was “totally alien” to him, adding that, “Something like that would stick in my mind” if he’d heard it prior.
Page acknowledged owning several Spirit albums, though he only remembers acquiring two of them. Plaintiff attorney Francis Malofiy referred to Page as “the alleged composer” of “Stairway” and associated the situation with the late Willie Dixon’s lawsuits against Led Zeppelin over some of the band’s early songs.
Page did draw laughs in the Los Angeles U.S. District courtroom after Malofiy asked, “You had a gift of playing guitar, is that correct?”
“Well, yeah,” the acknowledged rock virtuoso replied.
Wednesday’s other testimony included a Spirit “super fan” named Bruce Pates and founding Spirit bassist Mark Andes, who said Spirit played “Taurus” during a 1968 concert that Led Zeppelin opened. Page is due back on the stand today (June 16), and both Plant and Zep bassist John Paul Jones, who’s not a defendant, are expected to be called to testify as well.