Spirit by TKO...... Led Zeppelin duo in court to face man accusing them of ripping off Stairway to Heaven U.S. band Spirit claims Stairway to Heaven's opening riff was taken from their song They say Led Zeppelin heard it when they toured together in the 60s Taurus was released in 1968 and was a main part of their live sets Stairway To Heaven came out in 1971 and propelled Led Zeppelin to stardom The song is considered one of the most widely heard compositions in rock history and is the signature song of Led Zeppelin, which broke up in 1980 By *********.com Reporter Published: 00:53 EST, 15 June 2016 | Updated: 03:23 EST, 15 June 2016 Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page and Robert Plant have arrived at court to face claims they copied a guitar riff on Stairway To Heaven. The British musicians are accused of plagiarizing the instrumental track Taurus by the US band Spirit when they wrote the classic rock song, which was released in 1971. A lawsuit has been filed by Michael Skidmore, the trustee of Spirit's guitarist Randy Wolfe - known by the nickname Randy California - who died in 1997 having never taken legal action over the song. http://i.***************/i/pix/2014/05/20/article-0-0070D58200000258-792_306x507.jpg +11 http://i.***************/i/pix/2014/05/20/article-0-1E09E0A400000578-263_306x507.jpg +11 Who really wrote it? Jimmy Page, left, of Led Zeppelin laid down the guitar parts for Stairway To Heaven, but it is now claimed that the notes in the song's opening bars were in fact written by Randy California, right http://i.***************/i/pix/2014/05/20/article-0-1E0A2C7400000578-383_634x446.jpg +11 Rocking: Page plucks one of his famous solos on stage with Led Zeppelin in Sydney, Australia, one year after the release of Stairway To Heaven on their album Led Zeppelin IV http://i.***************/i/pix/2016/06/15/08/35484C3300000578-3642258-Led_Zeppelin_guitarist_Jimmy_Page_is_shown_sitting_in_federal_co-m-1_1465974184985.jpg +11 Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page is shown sitting in federal court for a hearing in a lawsuit involving their rock classic song Stairway to Heaven http://i.***************/i/pix/2016/06/15/08/3548F99D00000578-3642258-Led_Zeppelin_singer_Robert_Plant_L_and_guitarist_Jimmy_Page_are_-m-2_1465974199984.jpg +11 Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant (L) and guitarist Jimmy Page are shown in this courtroom sketch A jury will rule on the case at the US District Court in Los Angeles, where Plant, Page and their bandmate John Paul Jones are expected to give evidence. Led Zeppelin were the opening act for Spirit when the British band made their US debut in December 1968 in Denver, according to documents filed with the court. Led Zeppelin's lawyers have argued that both Stairway To Heaven and Taurus use notes and combinations that have been circulating in music for centuries. The lawsuit comes after a US federal jury found last year that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams had copied a Marvin Gaye song to create their 2013 hit Blurred Lines and awarded Gaye's children $7.4 million. A judge trimmed the award in that case and the verdict is under appeal. http://i.***************/i/pix/2016/06/15/08/354046A200000578-3642258-image-a-3_1465974581361.jpg +11 Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, left, and singer Robert Plant are pictured together in 2012 http://i.***************/i/pix/2016/06/15/06/3541939400000578-3642258-image-m-5_1465969062751.jpg +11 http://i.***************/i/pix/2016/06/15/06/3541939400000578-3642258-image-m-7_1465969076163.jpg +11 Way back when: Led Zeppelin singer Plant (left) and guitarist Page (right) say they wrote Stairway to Heaven in a remote cottage in Wales http://i.***************/i/pix/2014/05/20/article-0-1E09E06800000578-739_634x487.jpg +11 Randy California's old band Spirit on stage in 1969, around the time they say that Led Zeppelin would have heard them playing their song Taurus, which it is claimed that Page took the guitar riff from http://i.***************/i/pix/2014/05/20/article-0-1E09E07D00000578-438_634x422.jpg +11 Led Zeppelin IV album sleeve: The case began with the jury being played various performances of both songs, including part of Led Zeppelin's recording of Stairway to Heaven http://i.***************/i/pix/2016/06/15/06/3548CFF200000578-3642258-image-a-10_1465969233158.jpg +11 Mark Andes, a founding member of the band Spirit, arrives to federal court for a hearing in a lawsuit involving Led Zeppelin's rock classic song Stairway to Heaven in Los Angeles The jury was sworn in as district court judge Gary Klausner warned the panel not to read news reports about the case or do their own research online. 'The plaintiff asserts infringement of copyright of a musical composition known as Taurus,' the judge said. 'The defendants deny these claims. 'You must decide this case solely on the evidence received during this trial. 'You must not be exposed to any other information about the case.' Spirit bassist Mark Andes believes Led Zeppelin would have heard the song when the two bands were on tour together in the late 1960s - which they then copied for their smash hit song. 'It would typically come after a big forceful number and always got a good response. They would have seen it in that context,' Andes said back in 2014. 'It is fairly blatant, and note for note. It would just be nice if the Led Zeppelin guys gave Randy a little nod. That would be lovely.' It's not the first time that Led Zeppelin have been taken to court over their music. Guitarist Page has previously admitted taking inspiration from blues and folk musicians in crafting the band's hits, although he claimed he 'always tried to bring something fresh'. Nevertheless, songwriters have over the decades brought successful legal challenges to the group and its label, forcing them to pay royalties and add credits to songs they claimed as their own. http://i.***************/i/pix/2016/06/15/06/3548CF8D00000578-3642258-image-a-11_1465969754566.jpg Speaking last year, the former Spirit bassist Mark Andes said he thought that his former bandmate deserved overdue credit for the 'fairly blatant' copying of his music by Page and Plant Album listings for Whole Lotta Love, Babe I'm Gonna Leave You, The Lemon Song and Dazed And Confused have all had to be amended to include names of artists which courts ruled were the true originators of the music. But the row over Stairway To Heaven, the song which arguably propelled them to rock megastardom, could be the biggest yet. In 2008, Conde Nast Portfolio magazine estimated that the song had earned at least $525million dollars in royalties and record sales. It appears on America's third biggest-selling album of all time, Led Zeppelin IV. Randy California's family said the reason they waited so long to take legal action was because they could never afford it. U.S. lawyer Francis Alexander Molofiy, who is handling the case, said: 'The idea behind this is to make sure that Randy California is given a writing credit on Stairway to Heaven. It's been a long time coming.' And, of course, there's the money. California drowned in 1997 while rescuing his son from a rip current while on holiday in Hawaii and the royalties from his music career are now collected by a trust. The beneficiary of that trust is the Randy California Project in Ventura County, California, which teachers youngsters music. Led Zeppelin would not comment on the case.