Jury to decide whether ‘Stairway to Heaven’ riff is lifted

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Generations of aspiring guitarists have tried to copy the riff from Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.”

Starting Tuesday, a Los Angeles court will try to decide whether the members of Led Zeppelin themselves ripped off that riff.

The band’s guitarist Jimmy Page and singer Robert Plant are named as defendants in the lawsuit brought by the trustee of late guitarist Randy Wolfe from the band Spirit. Attorneys for the trustee contend that 1971’s “Stairway to Heaven” copies music from the Spirit song “Taurus,” which Wolfe wrote in either 1966 or 1967.

Led Zeppelin and Spirit performed at some concerts and festivals around the same time, but not on the same stage.

A judge ruled in April that evidence presented in hearings made a circumstantial case that Led Zeppelin may have heard “Taurus” performed before writing their song and sent the case to trial.