The trial that has epic implications for rock ‘n’ roll history has begun today. Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and Robert Plant were in a Los Angeles courtroom today as eight jurors were selected to decide whether the legendary guitar riff in Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” was lifted from Spirit’s “Taurus.” Page and Plant sat facing the potential jurors as seven of the first 14 were dismissed, with one stating that their “love for these two guys” is “very strong,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Ultimately, a group of four men and four women were chosen.
Before he passed away, Spirit’s Randy Wolfe continually expressed skepticism about similarities between “Stairway to Heaven” and “Taurus,” but was ambivalent about suing. Upon his death, the “Taurus” copyright went to his Trust. In 2014 the Supreme Court rejected a prejudicial delay as a reason to stop the copyright lawsuit, but it will be much harder to prove that Page and Plant had access to “Taurus” before they recorded “Stairway To Heaven.” Each side will have 10 hours to present their arguments and witnesses. US District Judge R. Gary Klausner, who’s presiding over the case, has banned laptops, mobile phones, and even pens from the courtroom. He expects the trial to last four or five days.
UPDATE: According to The Hollywood Reporter, the trial may already be ending abruptly. Francis Malofiy, the attorney representing the trustee for Spirit’s late Randy Wolfe, played a video that wasn’t included in the joint list of exhibits submitted prior to trial, which could be “grounds for a mistrial,” according to the judge. Malofiy also used the phrase “pink elephant in the room” instead of “elephant room,” so, yeah, he may not be the brightest bulb in the proverbial box.