Robert Plant says he has no memory of Spirit gig in Stairway To Heaven riff case


Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant has told a court he has no memory of watching an American band he and Jimmy Page are accused of copying when they wrote Stairway To Heaven.

The singer and guitarist Page are facing a civil trial over claims that the opening guitar riff of their classic 1971 song was "lifted" from an instrumental track called Taurus by the US group Spirit.

A lawsuit has been filed by Michael Skidmore, the trustee of Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe - known as Randy California - who drowned in 1997 having never taken legal action over the song.

Plant, 67, told the federal court in Los Angeles that he often attended Mothers club in Birmingham in his youth but he could not remember watching Spirit at the venue in 1970.  

He said he had been involved in a serious car crash with his wife and only learnt from newspaper reports that he had been at Mothers club earlier that night.

"I can't recall Spirit or anybody else playing there with the passing of time," Plant said.

He said his wife suffered a fractured skull in the car accident.

"Part of the windshield buried in the top of my head which was interesting," he said.

"I don't remember a thing."

Plant told the court he wrote the lyrics to Stairway To Heaven after Page had played some of the song to him at Headley Grange in Hampshire.

"I was trying to bring in the beauty and remoteness of pastural Britain," he said. 

"It developed into something I could not imagine."

Plant said he did not think it was a "problem" that Led Zeppelin covered other bands, including Spirit, at their early gigs in the late 1960s.

"In the nest of rock and rhythm and blues, there has always been cross pollination," he said. 

Page and Plant have attended each day of the copyright infringement trial, which is expected to conclude this week.

Page, 72, previously told the court he had not heard of Taurus until his son-in-law showed him a comparison with Stairway To Heaven on the internet a few years ago.