Jimmy Page has denied that he had ever heard Spirit‘s “Taurus” prior to writing the signature-opening riff to Led Zeppelin‘s 1971 classic “Stairway To Heaven.” Zeppelin is being sued by Michael Skidmore, the trustee of the Randy Craig Wolfe Trust, on behalf of the late Spirit guitarist who wrote “Taurus” and performed under the name Randy California. The trust is hoping to not only win a monetary judgment, but also secure a writing credit for California on “Stairway To Heaven.” On February 25th, Led Zeppelin filed a motion for a summary judgment on the case.
Page fought back in his official statement to the court, with TheWrap.com, posting selections from his testimony, including, “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.”
- Despite the fact that Spirit and Zeppelin shared the bill with each other on several occasions, Page went on to say: “I do not recall ever seeing Spirit perform live. Again, though, I am absolutely certain I never heard them, or anyone else, perform ‘Taurus.'”
- Regarding the similarities in the two songs, Page explained it to be the product of “basic skills leaned by any student of the guitar . . . I consider descending chromatic lines and arpeggiated chords basic skills learned by any student of the guitar. Certainly, as a guitarist, I was aware of descending chromatic lines and arpeggios long before 1968.”
- Page shed light on the creation of “Stairway To Heaven,” revealing, “the intention to create a long work, with multiple different parts, that would unfold with increasing complexity and speed culminating in a guitar solo that was preceded by a distinct fanfare, followed by the last verse concluding a climax to the song.”
- The guitarist went on to admit that he in fact realized that he had a copy of Spirit’s 1968 self-titled debut album featuring “Taurus” in his collection but that he did “not know how or when it got there,” suggesting, it “may well have been left by a guest. . . But, again, I know I did not hear ‘Taurus’ until 2014.”
- Jimmy Page recalled Led Zeppelin’s 1970 sessions at Headley Grange that captured “Stairway To Heaven” — but one of the many highlights found on the band’s untitled fourth album: “Well, it was recorded on location at Headley, now, Andy Johns was doing the engineering. I knew it was good — I didn’t know it was going to be, y’know, almost like an anthem, but I knew it was the gem of the album, sure.”