According to The Pulse Of Radio, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant appeared yesterday (June 14) at Los Angeles federal court for what is officially known as "Michael Skidmore vs. Led Zeppelin et al" — but mainly referred to as the "Stairway To Heaven" case. As the writers of the 1971 LED ZEPPELIN classic, the pair 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".
Rolling Stone reported day one of jury selection included one obvious fan who was dismissed and described as "the special effects expert who proclaimed without prompting from the jury box, 'I'm very much a fan — my love for these guys [gesturing to Page and Plant] is very strong.'"
The magazine went on to describe the scene, "Entering the court with a briefcase made to resemble a Fender tweed-covered amp, the [plaintiffs' attorney Francis] Malofiy has the cover of 'Houses Of The Holy' ostentatiously glowing from his laptop and cracks his knuckles all through the day's primary concern: jury selection. He's a stark contrast to the patrician countenance of ZEPPELIN lawyer Peter Anderson and the seemingly bespoke suiting of his legal team. Indeed, as Malofiy fidgets, Page and Plant exude an almost Zen calm, staring straight ahead without chatting or visibly reacting through the process; only towards the end before the lunch break does Page allow a wry smile to crack the facade."
Among the witnesses listed by the plaintiffs were: SPIRIT members Mark Andes and Jay Ferguson — who were in the courtroom, rock producer/impresario Lou Adler and Guitar World editor Brad Tolinski, who wrote 2013's "Light And Shade: Conversations With Jimmy Page".
Interestingly, although Page and Plant have far fewer expert witnesses set to appear on their behalf — John Paul Jones was definitely listed as one.
Ironically, although LED ZEPPELIN is being attacked for presumably not being original enough when writing "Stairway To Heaven", Robert Plant said a while back that he can't help but hear hard rock bands co-opting all facets of LED ZEPPELIN's sound in everyone's work. "Yeah, but it gets tiresome, as well," he said. "I guess to begin with, you're clapping, but after a while, you go 'Well, why don't you take it a bit farther?' Like, Page and I took it farther, and if people like ZEPPELIN because of 'Stairway To Heaven', 'Whole Lotta Love' and 'Kashmir' — they were all different songs. Radically different. Unless you had known, they shouldn't have been by the same band."