Led Zeppelin would like it known: They did not commit copyright infringement in the writing of “Stairway to Heaven.”
The group does admit, however, to being an awesome part of rock ‘n’ roll history.
The surviving members of the group — Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones — have filed an answer to the lawsuit alleging that “Stairway” was stolen from the 1968 song “Taurus” by Spirit, who had played with Zeppelin on an early tour.
The group’s answer to the lawsuit, filed in federal court in California, on Wednesday, is light on detail, mostly denying the allegations or claiming insufficient knowledge to answer the allegations.
The group’s answer does contain one amusing passage, in which Page, Plant and Jones assert their talent and reputation.
“Answering paragraph 11 of the First Amended Complaint, including the First Amended Complaint’s footnote 1, Defendants admit that Led Zeppelin has been called one of the greatest bands in history and its members were and are exceptionally talented,” the group’s answer reads, “but otherwise deny each and every allegation contained in paragraph 11 of the First Amended Complaint.”
Page, Plant and Jones also admit to having played a concert with Spirit, and to using part of the Spirit song ‘Fresh Garbage” in a medley they performed during some concerts in 1968 and 1969.
The band is being sued by Michael Skidmore, the trustee for trust of Spirit frontman Randy Craig Wolfe, who performed under the name Randy California and died in 1997.
In September, the group sought dismissal of the suit, which was filed in Pennsylvania, on jurisdictional grounds, or else be moved to California. The group contended that none of the members had ever been residents of Pennsylvania, nor do they own property in the state.
Listen to Spirit’s “Taurus” below.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.