Rock fans around the world can heave a sigh of relief.
Led Zeppelin didn't plagiarize the epic guitar to their classic rock anthem 'Stairway to Heaven', a US jury found on Thursday.
The verdict in Los Angeles settles a point that music fans have debated for decades but didn't find its way to court until two years ago, when the trustee for the late Randy Craig Wolfe filed a copyright lawsuit.
The trust claimed that Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page lifted a passage that Wolfe, better known as Randy California, wrote for ``Taurus,'' a short work he recorded with his band Spirit in 1968.
Page and singer Robert Plant, who wrote the ``Stairway'' lyrics, said their creation was an original. In several hours of often-animated and amusing testimony, they described the craft behind one of rock's best-known songs, all the while denying knowledge of one of the genre's least-known tunes.
Plant cracked up the courtroom when said he didn't remember most people he had hung out with over the years.
In closing arguments, Francis Malofiy, a lawyer representing Wolfe's trust, criticized Page and Plant's ``selective'' memories and ``convenient'' truths on the witness stand.
Jurors were not played the ``Taurus'' recording, which contains a section that sounds very similar to the instantly recognizable start of ``Stairway.'' Instead, they were played guitar and piano renditions by musicians on both sides of the case. Not surprisingly, the plaintiff's version on guitar sounded more like ``Stairway'' than the defense version on piano.
Experts for both sides dissected both compositions, agreeing mainly that they shared a descending chord progression that dates back three centuries as a building block in lots of songs.
Led Zeppelin's lawyer said the trust didn't own the copyright and that the plaintiff failed to prove a case that should have been brought more than 40 years ago when Wolfe was alive and Page and singer Robert Plant would have had better memories.
``How can you wait a half century and criticize people ... 45 years later for the delay you caused?'' Peter Anderson said. ``They should have sued in 1972.''
(Feature image source: Twitter)