Page says he has never heard of song that's said to share Stairway riff
LED Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page told a court on Wednesday he had not heard a song he is accused of plagiarising for the iconic Stairway To Heaven until a few years ago.
He and bandmate Robert Plant are accused of stealing the rock epic's opening bars from Taurus, an instrumental track from the first album of long-defunct psychedelic Los Angeles rock band Spirit.
The 72-year-old, who was wearing a tailored black suit and his white hair tied back in a ponytail, said he had three Spirit albums among a collection of around 10,000 vinyl albums and CDs.
But he told the court on the second day of the trial he realised Spirit's first record was among them only when he searched for it after his son-in-law played an Internet posting in which the tracks were compared side by side. "I knew I'd never heard it before," Page said, adding that the concept of comparing the two songs "was just totally alien to me".
Spirit, who enjoyed a niche following, claim the melancholic guitar that opens Stairway was taken from the riff that builds after the first 45 seconds of Taurus.
Spirit's guitarist Randy Wolfe - who went by the nickname Randy California - never took legal action and in 1997 drowned in Hawaii but a lawsuit was filed by his trustee and friend Michael Skidmore.
Led Zeppelin opened for Spirit when the hard British rockers - Plant, Page, John Paul Jones and the since deceased John Bonham - made their United States debut on Dec 26, 1968 in Denver.
But the surviving members have submitted testimony that they never had substantive interaction with Spirit or listened to 1967's Taurus before recording Stairway in December 1970 and January 1971.