Zep Trial Day 5: Plant + Page Jam

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LedZep Celebration DayLed Zeppelin singer Robert Plant finally took the stand on Tuesday (6/21) at the Los Angeles trial to determine if the iconic classic rock song “Stairway to Heaven” was plagiarized. And guitarist Jimmy Page returned to the witness stand for an encore. (As of Wednesday, June 22, the jury is deliberating the case.)

Zeppelin‘s defense attorney had asked Judge R Gary Klausner to rule on the matter, and not finish the testimony and give the case to the jury. The request was turned down.

Related: Lawsuit backstory.

So Plant testified about the creation of the song and his memories of the band Spirit, whose song “Taurus” is what Zep is accused of stealing for part of “Stairway.” Spirit bassist Mark Andes testified last week that he and Plant had played snooker at a club in Birmingham, England following a show by the L.A.-based rock band.

Related: Trial day one.

“I don’t have a recollection of almost anyone I’ve hung out with,” Plant said, evoking laughter in the courtroom. He also said he didn’t recall Spirit’s show, and explained how his memory of the night in question was affected by the car accident he and his wife at the time had on their way home from the club. “Part of the windshield buried in the top of my head, which was interesting. I don’t remember a thing.”

Related: Trial day two.

The singer also spoke about how the song began to be written at the English country estate Headley Grange rather than the remote Welsh cottage Bron-Yr-Aur, as Zep fans have long believed, and Page and Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones also testified. “One evening, Jimmy Page and I sat by the fire going over bits and pieces,” Plant recalled. Page played him the song’s intro (which is the melody at the heart of the suit) and the song began “rolling pretty fast. It was quite a thing to see it develop into something I couldn’t imagine.”

Related: Trial day three.

Page returned to the stand to speak further about the composition of what he describes as “an ambitious piece.” Demos of the song in progress were played for the jury as the guitarist discussed the song’s development. “The original concept I had was for a piece of music that would basically go through many moods and changes. Robert and I were so in sync with musical composition at that time. All the time the thing is accelerating and getting more intense,” he said.

Related: Trial day four.

By early afternoon, the defense rested its case, which also included further testimony on how much “Stairway” has earned and when and where Led Zeppelin and Spirit shared concert bills. Today (6/22) the attorneys made their summations, and the jury began its deliberations. We will soon know if 12 Los Angelenos rule that “Stairway to Heaven” is an original composition or not in what has become the most high-profile plagiarism case in the history of the music business.

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