There's a lawyer who's sure, all that glitters is gold...Led Zeppelin On Trial: Part Two - Robert Plant Sings (Kinda) And Jimmy Page Plays Air-Guitar

For decades the rumours had been doing the rounds and the evidence was damning.  One listen to Taurus by the band Spirit and you’ll swear black and blue that Jimmy Page had stolen the main guitar riff for Stairway To Heaven.  One day Randy California, the man who wrote Taurus would eventually sue Page and co. and he’d win, and win big.  It really was supposed to be that simple.

It was anything but simple.  Unlike previous cases brought against Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham, such as Willie Dixon suing over the obvious rewrite of You Need Love (aka Whole Lotta Love), or Jake Holmes finally winning a massive payout and partial credit after Page outright stole I’m Confused (aka Dazed And Confused) and other cases – Anne Bredon won a settlement for Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, Howlin’ Wolf got money for How Many More Times, The Killing Floor (aka The Lemon Song), Willie Dixon (again, got paid for Bring it On Home and the owner of Richie Valens publishing got paid for Ooh! My Head(aka Boogie With Stu).  All the cases were settled out of court, and all had non-disclosure clauses.

However the amount of songs that Zeppelin did steal was legion.  In My Time Of Dying and Nobody’s Fault But Mine were blues staples, already old when the band were in nappies.  Communication Breakdown owes a lot to Eddie Cochran’s Nervous Breakdown, Shake ‘Em On Down was yet another song, by Bukka White, already old before Plant sang it again and called it Hats Off To Roy (Harper).  Even Black Dog is rooted in blues and owes a lot to Oh Well by Fleetwood Mac.  So why did they steal?

Page was asked about that very topic in 1993 in the magazine Guitar World.  “Well, as far as my end of it goes, I always tried to bring something fresh to anything that I used,” he said at the time.  “I always made sure to come up with some variation. In fact, I think in most cases, you would never know what the original source could be. Maybe not in every case– but in most cases. So most of the comparisons rest on the lyrics. And Robert was supposed to change the lyrics, and he didn’t always do that– which is what brought on most of the grief. They couldn’t get us on the guitar parts of the music, but they nailed us on the lyrics.”  However, for this case, Page was looking to be nailed on the guitar line, not Plant’s lyrics.

The case was a bit of a shambles from the start.  Named as one of the songwriters was bassist John Paul Jones.  While an argument can certainly be made for Jones having more than the usual involvement in the writing and arranging aspect of the song, he’s not listed as a songwriter, which meant that he couldn’t be sued.  Simple.  Such oversights can make or break a case as it damages the credibility of the plaintiff right from the start and ties the court up in having to dismiss the case against a party, something it hates.  And then there was the time frame.

Randy California never sued over what he felt was a clear and obvious theft.  Sadly he passed away in 1997, either, depending on who you believe, bitter over the fact that Page and Plant had made millions from his distinctive guitar line, or just not really caring, having accepted it and moved on with his life.  Either way, he died and the Zeppelin machine continued on.

In 2007 Zeppelin flew again, for one night.  This irked the owner of California’s songs, one Michael Skidmore.  Then Jimmy Page oversaw new editions of the band’s back catalogue, bought, as you’ll read, for $60,000,000 for a ten year period by Rhino, complete as deluxe boxed editions and with companion discs.  As the companion disc of Led Zeppelin IV contained a previously unissued mix of Stairway To Heaven, this meant that the band could be sued – it was, for all intents and purposes, a new recording and eligible under the statute of limitations.  Armed with that knowledge, Skidmore filed suit and the music world sat back waited for Page and Plant to once again settle out of court.

They didn’t.  There’d be two songs that the band would never allow anyone to touch – Stairway and the epic Kashmir.  Plant isn’t fond of the former, it’s become a millstone around his neck and he refuses to sing it, however the latter is something that all the band members are rightly proud of and Plant loves to sing it.  Having a reluctance to sing a song doesn’t mean that you’re ashamed of it, so Plant joined forces with Page and decided to take the case to trial.

The case was filled with errors, as stated, from the beginning.  There were claims that Zeppelin opened for Spirit during the formers first American tour – this was proven to consist of a handful of occasions when both bands appeared on the bills at festivals.  There was the issue of Jones being credited as a writer.  Then there were the two songs themselves.  The lawyers for Skidmore had to prove on thing – that Page not only heard the song Taurus back in the late 1960s, but he consciously lifted the offending notes for the intro to Stairway To Heaven.  Jimmy Page might be old now, he’s 72, and he was being asked about events over forty years past (and a lot of drink and drugs have slipped under his bridge) and he has vision issues, but, when he wants to be, he’s as slippery as an eel and as sharp as a tack.

And then there was Robert Plant, the other half of Stairway.  Possessed of quick wit, intelligence and a memory that is clearer than even he would admit, he took the stand and said his own bit.

At the end of the trial the jury had no hesitation in reaching their verdict.  Did Jimmy Page have access to Taurus pre-Stairway?  Yes, he did.  Did he steal the guitar line?  No.  Not guilty, your honor.

Read here, for free and for what I believe is the first time, over the next three days, the complete trial transcript of both Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, as both men, under oath, go toe to toe with a lawyer hell-bent on getting them to admit one thing and one thing only – that they stole the opening guitar notes that virtually everyone in the world knows by now.  The transcript is hilarious in places, it’s exhausting in others as Page is badgered beyond belief.  But it is entertaining and you will learn a few Zeppelin related facts that you might not have previously known before.  Enjoy!

(courtroom illustrations by Mona Shafer Edward)

Day 5, Tuesday, June 21, 2016
8:31 A.M.
Los Angeles, California

Q. Mr. Plant, you've heard testimony during this trial about "Fresh Garbage."
How did you first learn of "Fresh Garbage"?
A. In some period early in '68, there was a -- a compilation album issued by CBS Records. It was a kind of a budget compilation which contained records by many of the artists recording on Columbia at that time, and it was quite an unusual thing to have such a cross section of contemporary American music.
Q. And you bought it?
A. I did, yeah.
Q. Okay. Was "Taurus" on it?
A. No.
Q. Did you have any other albums?
A. Yeah. I had a bit of a mobile life at that time. I had left home when I was 17, and I was kind of moving between locations, so I only had a few records at that time, but, yeah, I -- I was carrying some around with me.
Q. Did you have any Spirit albums?
A. No.
Q. You've heard testimony about Mothers Club?
A. Yeah.
Q. What was Mothers Club?
A. Well, Mothers Club was a kind of converted -- I think it
might have been a second floor or factory warehouse in
Birmingham, Birmingham being the second city of the United
Kingdom, just about. And at that time in the late '60s, Birmingham had a reasonably prolific music scene. Probably not as big as Liverpool, but it was getting up there. And this club, I mean, maybe once or twice a week had bands coming through, or entertainers on one level or another, and it was a particularly good environment for us local musicians to hang out, no matter what stage we were in the adventure. 
We were kind of encouraged and welcomed there by the owner, who had, earlier on in the '60s, had several kind of dancehall locations around Birmingham. So he was encouraging us to all meet, hang out. And it was a good thing, you know, because in those days, there weren't too many places that were too welcoming of people of a certain appearance and stuff. It was -- it was a very transitional time out in the dance floors and on the dancehalls of Birmingham and Worcestershire and all that stuff.
So I used to hang out there from time to time. I used to go with my wife. I used to go with John Bonham. I used to meet up with members of different bands locally who were starting to make it at some level or another, either locally, internationally, or whatever it was. It was kind of -- it was almost like a kind of a -- a clubhouse.
Q. Okay. So did you regularly meet with your friends at Mothers Club?
A. Yeah. It was -- it was a sort of place where we could all team up, and kind of gave us a feeling of camaraderie, and it was a lot of interaction, a lot of exaggeration, and a lot of exuberance. It was great.
Q. And did your wife regularly go with you as well?
A. Yeah, she did.
Q. Did you have a child at that time?
A. Yeah, had a little girl.
Q. So was this basically your night out with your wife?
A. Outside the village, yeah. This was a big deal, because it was quite a journey and we had to secure a baby-sitter and all that stuff.
Q. Could you generally describe the layout of Mothers Club.
A. Well, yeah. It was a little part of Birmingham called Erdington, and from what I can remember, I haven't been past there for like 40-years plus, it had a kind of -- the main street opened up to a lot, a pavement, and there was a little door downstairs, that you'd go up some steps, round the security guy, and then at the top of the stairs, I think on the left, there was a bar area, which, that's where we kind of congregated. And from there on, from the bar, there was a sort of -- you could either go straight into the room itself where the people were amassing, or you could go into the bar and have a drink and team up with your pals.
Q. Okay. And did you and your wife go to Mothers Club basically no matter who was performing?
A. Yeah, because we knew that -- I mean, John Bonham's wife, Pat, we'd just meet up there. Because it was our own energy field. We were with our own age group of people. Country pubs tended to have people who were a bit older than us, who -- there was nothing really greatly to communicate with when you're 20 years old and you want to talk about plowing and bringing up horses and stuff.
Q. So --
A. By hand.
Q. I'm sorry?
A. By hand.
Q. When you went there to talk with your friends, did you ever talk at the front, where the bands were performing?
A. Well, no. You know, the doors opened, and because it was probably, in its own time, quite an auspicious place, there would be many artists who kind of typified the underground scene in Britain outside of the pop idiom, so there was a lot of excitement about people coming through, and so you couldn't get anywhere near the front, and that would be a pretty much of a -- it would be quite a task to do that, yeah. 
Q. Would you -- and the bands that played, did they play with speakers and --
A. Yeah. Everybody -- I think it was a house PA, to be honest, and so the big speakers that most of the sound came out of, or the singer, at least, would be either side of the stage, like big bins, like the size of this here (indicating), but obviously only about three or four foot high, with a tweeter on the top, some kind of cone. So it was pretty loud, yeah.
Q. Is that another reason why you and your friends didn't talk at the front of the room where the -- where Spirit – or the end of the room where Spirit was -- I'm sorry, my apologies.
Is that another reason why you and your friends didn't -- talked in the bar area rather than where the performances were going? 
A. Well, it was one reason, yeah, because you wouldn't barely hear a word anybody was saying, number one. But number two, as our profiles would develop, and it was as much of a shock to us as it was to people going in there to see bands, we became kind of, umm, slightly polarized. So we were better off up the back with the owner of the club and with the people who we were looking forward to seeing.
And I'd been playing in that area since 1963 and I was 15, so there were all sorts of -- it was a real kaleidoscope of different kinds of artists, people who were perhaps -- it was a good exaggerated gang of people. So, you know, you can't really enjoy a repartee if you're too close to the noise.
I wouldn't like to see people, to be honest, having a conversation right in front of me, either.
Q. While you're performing?
A. Yeah. Even now.
Q. So if I understand, because I may have interrupted, you feel it would have been rude to talk in front of a performer?
A. Well, you don't do that.
Q. Can you estimate how many times you went to Mothers Club back in the day?
A. I couldn't tell you, but I suppose 40, 50. You know, it was a real sort of -- the place that you could fraternize, and so it was really the best place to go in Birmingham at that time for us.
Q. Do you have a recollection, do you actually remember, hearing Spirit perform at Mothers Club or seeing Spirit perform at Mothers Club?
A. No, I can't recall, actually, Spirit or anybody playing there, with the passing of time. I know that they did play there, and I do know that night my wife and I were involved in a big car wreck, and she had a fractured skull, and I had the front part of the windshield sort of buried in the top of my head, which is interesting, and I was hospitalized. We both were. And I don't remember a thing, no.
Q. But you've seen newspaper accounts that you had been at Mothers Club --
A. Yeah.
Q. -- and Spirit had performed there?
A. Exactly, yeah.
Q. And is it correct you don't dispute it, you just don't know either way from memory?
A. Exactly.
Q. In the 1960s and '70s, could you read or write music?
A. Not yet. I haven't learnt yet.
Q. Okay. To this day?
A. But no. No.
Q. Back in the 1960s and '70s, could you play a guitar or keyboards?
A. No. I was really -- and we've heard a lot of people talking over the last week, but we all come from different periods of time, but I was really into the singer as a singer conceptually. I was raised on Elvis and, you know, Buddy Holly and Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, and, obviously, times were changing and the musical trends were developing and becoming something else, but I -- I didn't really try and pick up the guitar, no.
Q. We've heard references, and I'm sure I'm not going to say this correctly, but we've heard references to Bron-yr-Aur.
A. Yeah.
Q. And how do you actually say that?
A. Bron-yr-Aur.
Q. And what is Bron-yr-Aur?
A. Well, Bron-yr-Aur is a little cottage in Snowdonia.
Snowdonia is the -- in the northwestern part of -- from the Irish Sea of the Welsh coast, inland. It's the most mountainous part of northwest Wales. And Bron-yr-Aur was a little cottage that belonged to some friends of my mom and dad, and when I was a kid, a little boy, I used to go with my parents there. And it was remarkable really, because everybody lives in little boxes, but there you have this house just balanced on the side of the little mountain, with no electricity, no facilities, but was a very homely place. It was -- so, as -- through my childhood I went there a lot with my mom and dad, and then, basically, slowly I became adolescent and was allowed to go with the owner's children, and on and on and on. And it's still there now.
Q. Okay. I take it, since it had no electricity, you couldn't play records there or --
A. No, no records.
Q. Where were you when you first heard any version of what became "Stairway to Heaven"?
A. I was in Headley Grange near -- in Surrey, I think it is, one evening, sitting with Jimmy Page. We were recording in this facility where you have a mobile truck which is modified, like a big horse truck, and inside it you got a kind of mobile recording studio. And out of the side of the truck you can take lines, microphone lines, which go into the house, and you can position them in various places to get different kinds of sounds. So it gives you the freedom and facility to not to be governed by time, as you would do in a normal studio here or in a town or in a city, and it means that you can work whenever you want to, however you want to, and on whatever you wish.
So sitting with Jimmy, we're just sitting by the fire and ruminating and checking things out, was one thing, but we were recording and doing lots of other -- visiting lots of other bits and pieces randomly as we developed, you know, new stuff.
Q. Could you tell me the circumstances under which – could you describe what happened or how you first heard specifically of any music that became "Stairway to Heaven" at Headley Grange.
A. Well, as best I can remember, there were periods when I wasn't actually active. Maybe I'd go home for a bit, go to London, go somewhere, but, so, on a musical level, I came in and out of the whole idea of developing songs. Because from my angle as a singer, you either have a kernel of an idea which you can latch on to and start developing a vocal and a melodic aspect, or you have to wait a little bit to see whether or not there's something there that can actually -- you can actually (snaps finger), you know, hook up with.
So that particular evening, I sat with Jimmy by the fire, and he began playing. And I had this little couplet lyrically that, if you like, in tempo, fitted into what he was playing. 
So I just started developing that into two lines, then four lines, and then on, slowly, opening it up.
Q. What was the couplet?
A. Oh, gosh.
Q. Would you rather I not ask?
A. "There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold, and she's buying a stairway to heaven. And when she gets there she knows that the stores are all closed; with a word she can get what she came for." Now, and on from there.
I think the way that the mood of the place, everything that fell from me, I was really trying to bring in that aspect of Welsh, the beauty and the remoteness of the pastoral Britain. And I'd visited it previously on albums and – like "Ramble On" was a song that we played on the Led Zeppelin II. 
And "That's the Way," was a song which was coming from the same mind-set for me as a 22-year-old, 23-year-old kid. So "Stairway," I wanted to try and bring in some of the, umm, the nature, the natural, old, almost unspoken Celtic reference into a piece. So as the song developed, it became more and more evident that I could actually change and open up my contribution.
Meanwhile, the guys were working on stuff with all – you know, between themselves and opening up the song and its transition into something that was really flowering and that was -- it was quite -- quite a thing as we moved on through the song, to open it up and to turn around various parts of it and see it develop into something I couldn't even imagine.
Q. When you said the guys were working separately from you, what guys do you mean?
A. Jimmy, John Paul Jones and John Bonham, yeah. 
Q. Okay.
A. I mean, you could cruise in and out. There were songs where you could immediately drop into, a melody line or something like that. I would go to my room a lot with a notepad, and if I got an idea and I had a melody that was sticking (snaps finger), just as I would do today, I could go to -- because we all, each of us had a separate place. It was a residential thing, place. So if I had an idea, I could then go to the room and -- if I knew how the couplet was working, I could return to that meter and -- but then again, I didn't want to be around all the hubbub of other music, so I could separate myself and see how it was developing, see where I could go.
Q. Do I understand correctly that at Headley Grange, you and the other members of Led Zeppelin were working on other songs as well besides "Stairway to Heaven"?
A. Oh, yeah. Yeah. And, umm, you know, it was really quite -- very varied. There was a track called "Misty Mountain Hop," which again was talking about -- referring to the mountains of Wales and the kind of atmosphere of. I tried to bring it into lyrical reference to something that actually was far, far from the Celtic motherland, but -- and later, or maybe it wasn't later, I don't know, maybe earlier, we had developed an idea which I really -- I mean, it's one of the ideas that really sticks with me despite it being 40-something years later, was a song called "Battle of Evermore," and that also was a sort of move back into the areas of Britain that I really loved. So I was able to bring that kind of feel of me into a music which had so much dynamism, it was quite an amazing palette on which to work.
Q. And can you tell us, how long did it take for you to write the lyrics for "Stairway to Heaven"?
A. Well, it did start rolling pretty fast, and as it rolled, it kind of buffered and it wasn't completely complete, and some of the actual pitch, vocal pitch, didn't quite -- didn't end up the way it has ended up. It was -- I moved it around a bit, and I also sang out of tune a lot, and -- because when you're trying to get something right, you have to try to meld it round a bit. And then as the song develops, there's a -- there are several different sections within it that require a different response, because the chords are different.
Q. Okay.
A. So, yeah, it had its own tempo and own momentum, and, I don't know, it just -- then it galloped.
Q. Okay. Thank you. One moment.
THE COURT: Let me interrupt, because the question he asked is, how long did it take you in total to write the words?
THE WITNESS: Oh. I can't tell you. I don't know. I mean, because -- because the end is so tumultuous, it's such a crescendo, I don't know whether we got to that. I know we didn't get to the solo section and the outro straightaway, so it would be over a period of time.
MR. ANDERSON: Thank you. If I could just have one moment.
(Defense counsel conferred privately.)
MR. ANDERSON: Thank you, Your Honor. That's all the questions I have for Mr. Plant.
THE COURT: Cross-examination.
Q. You testified to "Fresh Garbage," you becoming familiar with it from an album you had; is that correct?
A. Uh-huh. Yes.
Q. That's an album you purchased, correct?
A. Yes.
Q. And that's an album you purchased in London, correct?
A. No.
Q. No. Where did you purchase it?
A. I never lived in London.
Q. Oh, I'm sorry. Where did you -- in the UK?
A. Yeah.
Q. All right. Would it be Birmingham?
A. Could have been. I mean, there were a lot of record shops then.
Q. I see. Now, "Fresh Garbage" is a song that was by a band Spirit, correct?
A. Exactly, yeah.
Q. And do you have an independent recollection of how many times you played it live?
A. In the Band of Joy --
MR. ANDERSON: I'm sorry. Argumentative, lacks foundation.
THE COURT: Overruled.
You may answer.
When I wrote that album, I was working with John Bonham in the Band of Joy, which is the group that preceded, almost preceded, Led Zep, so -- and we were trying to play the underground clubs, the circuits, that were like psychedelic and blues-based bands, and the riff on that album, Rock Machine Turns You On, from "Fresh Garbage" was a great riff. 
So I was also a really big fan of Garnet Mimms & The Enchanters, and they had a track out called "As Long As I Have You."
So in that Band of Joy, we created a medley which opened up with Garnet Mimms, moved into the riff, went into some Spacecake stuff, and then came out at the other end, back into Garnet Mimms, and that kind of traveled with us, me and Bonzo, into the rehearsals with the Yardbirds.
BY MR. MALOFIY:  Do you agree that you lifted other people's music as part of your songwriting process of Led Zeppelin?
MR. ANDERSON: Objection, Your Honor.
THE WITNESS: Can you explain what that really means?
THE COURT: Excuse me.
MR. MALOFIY: Yes, I can.
THE COURT: One second. One person at a time.
The question was?
BY MR. MALOFIY:  Do you admit that you lifted other people's music in coming -- as part of your songwriting process for Led Zeppelin?
MR. ANDERSON: Objection. It's, one, within a motion in limine that was granted, and also -- and I can identify it for you if Your Honor likes. I believe it was -- actually, let me not guess.
THE COURT: You don't have to, Counsel. It will be sustained.
MR. ANDERSON: Thank you.
BY MR. MALOFIY:  Sir, did Led Zeppelin use other people's music as their kernel, as you said in your direct testimony, as your kernel of an idea?
MR. ANDERSON: Objection, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Overruled.
THE WITNESS: In -- in -- in sort of the nest of rock 'n' roll and rhythm and blues, there's always been cross-pollination without a doubt, yes.
BY MR. MALOFIY:  And would you agree that --
A. We wouldn't have Little Richard, Larry Williams, the Beatles, all the people who've actually been involved with "Bony Maronie" or "Long Tall Sally" or, you know, "Short Fat Fannie" and all that stuff. It was all moving across space.
THE COURT: Okay. Next question.
BY MR. MALOFIY:  Do you agree that your first show on U.S. soil, December 26, 1968, you opened for Spirit?
A. No --
MR. ANDERSON: Objection, Your Honor. It's also beyond the scope of the direct.
THE COURT: It is beyond the scope of the direct. 
BY MR. MALOFIY:  Would you agree that as part of Led Zeppelin's kernel of an idea to come up with songs, that Jimmy Page had said, as far as his end goes, he always tried to bring something fresh to an idea that he used, "I always made sure to come up with some variation. In fact, I think in most cases" --
MR. ANDERSON: Objection. This is within the motion in limine and --
THE COURT: Sustained. Sustained.
BY MR. MALOFIY:  Do you agree that the early sets of Led Zeppelin were all cover songs?
MR. ANDERSON: Beyond the scope, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Overruled.
THE WITNESS: We didn't have very many songs. We had an album and we had stuff that Jimmy used to feature when he was in the Yardbirds with Keith Relf. So we had a bit – bits and pieces of a Led Zeppelin I, which, I don't know when it came out. Some -- I think maybe December '68. And we had Yardbird stuff and we had the stuff that I brought from the Band of Joy. So, yeah, we were doing anything we could. We  also did a great version of a Ben E. King song called "We're Gonna Groove," which is really good. I don't find that a problem. I hear you going on about it a lot.
THE COURT: That's okay, there's no question. 
Next question.
BY MR. MALOFIY:  Is it your testimony that you independently created "Stairway to Heaven"?
A. Of course.
Q. Did Mr. Page -- was it the first time here in court that you learned that he had five Spirit albums which he bought in the day?
MR. ANDERSON: Objection, Your Honor, beyond the scope of --
THE COURT: Sustained.
BY MR. MALOFIY:  Did Mr. Page ever share with you that he was a fan of Spirit when "Stairway to Heaven" was being written?
A. No.
MR. ANDERSON: Objection, Your Honor, beyond the scope.
THE COURT: Sustained. It's outside the scope.
BY MR. MALOFIY:  You testified as to the creation of "Stairway to Heaven" on your direct testimony. Do you recall that?
A. Now, say that again, please? Excuse me? I beg your pardon. I --
Q. Yes. You testified as to the creation of "Stairway to Heaven" in your direct testimony just a moment ago. Do you recall that?
A. Yes, I do.
Q. And in court today -- or excuse me. During court you had the opportunity to hear the interview where you, Mr. Page and Mr. Jones were present, correct?
MR. ANDERSON: Objection, Your Honor. Again outside the scope.
THE COURT: Sustained.
MR. MALOFIY: It goes to the creation, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Sustained.
MR. MALOFIY: Understood.
Q. Did you ever, during that interview or after that interview, did you ever correct Mr. Jones that his representation was incorrect?
MR. ANDERSON: Objection, Your Honor. Again it's outside the scope.
THE COURT: Sustained.
BY MR. MALOFIY:  How many times have you hung out with Mr. Andes?
MR. ANDERSON: Objection, Your Honor, outside the scope.
THE COURT: I don't know if it -- it may go --
THE WITNESS: You know --
THE COURT: I'm going to overrule it. You may ask the question.
THE WITNESS: Well, I mean, I've seen the adventures in the last week. I don't remember. I've no recollection of mostly anybody I've ever hung out with, but -- I'm not trying to be funny, you know. I mean, you're a hard-hitting guy, but I -- it's -- I don't remember anything like that. 
I mean, you know, you meet -- and I heard what's been going down. You meet so many people in these environments that pass by and through, I'm sure meritous, charming people, but in the middle of all the chaos and the hubbub, how are you going to remember one guy from another if you don't see him for 40 years?
THE COURT: Next question.
BY MR. MALOFIY:  Besides "Fresh Garbage," can you name any other rock band which you covered their music?
MR. ANDERSON: Objection, outside the scope.
THE COURT: Overruled.
MR. ANDERSON: And argumentative.
THE COURT: Overruled.
THE WITNESS: Yeah. The Yardbirds. Well, not rock band, because it's not as derivative as that. We could move into soul stuff.
BY MR. MALOFIY:  I'm saying rock specifically.
A. Not rock. I can't think of anything, but --
Q. The Yardbirds was Mr. Page's old band, right?
A. Well, he joined the Yardbirds, yeah, but it was already there.
MR. MALOFIY: I have the pictures, the photos, Your Honor. I'd like to present them to defense counsel and show them to Mr. --
MR. MALOFIY: -- Plant.
MR. ANDERSON: Your Honor, these were already excluded, and it's beyond the scope of the direct. These are the ones that are the subject of a pending motion as well, the ones that were -- I don't want to go further.
THE COURT: Is this the one about the people being together?
MR. ANDERSON: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Okay. Sustained.
BY MR. MALOFIY:  You have no recollection of being at Mothers Club and meeting any member of Spirit, correct?
A. Correct.
Q. And you have no recollection of playing snooker with Mark Andes or any member of Spirit after the Spirit show, correct?
A. I told you that I can't remember -- I mean, under the circumstances it's not a very good thing to be saying, but I did have a very bad car wreck, and I don't remember whether -- I don't remember seeing Spirit, Captain Beefheart, you know. 
THE COURT: So you don't remember much from that night.
THE WITNESS: It's very difficult to remember it, really, yeah. But, no, I didn't remember playing snooker.
THE COURT: Next question. Got about a minute left, Counsel.
MR. MALOFIY: Yes, Your Honor. One moment.
THE COURT: Mm-hmm.
(Plaintiff's counsel conferred privately.)
THE COURT: There goes your minute, Counsel. Do you want one more question?
MR. MALOFIY: Oh, yeah.
BY MR. MALOFIY:  Is your memory as good today about events that happened in the past than it would have been years ago, closer to those events?
MR. ANDERSON: Objection.
THE WITNESS: Well, I don't remember now, and I didn't remember then.
MR. MALOFIY: Fair enough. Thank you.
THE COURT: Any re --
THE WITNESS: Okay, thanks.
THE COURT: Mr. Plant --
THE WITNESS: Oh, sorry.
THE COURT: We're not through yet.
THE COURT: Any redirect?
MR. ANDERSON: Just one question, Your Honor.
Q. Mr. Plant, you referred to "Bonzo." Who's Bonzo?
A. John Bonham, yeah.
Q. Thank you, sir.
A. Okay.
THE COURT: Now you can go.
THE WITNESS: Oh, thanks.
THE COURT: Thank you very much.
Q. In the course of this trial, have you heard plaintiff's counsel suggest to the jury that Led Zeppelin performed at the Northern California Folk Rock Festival in San Jose, California, in May of 1969?
MR. MALOFIY: Objection, argumentative.
THE COURT: Overruled.
BY MR. ANDERSON: Q. Did Led Zeppelin perform at the Northern California Folk Rock Festival?
A. No. We played in Chicago.
MR. ANDERSON: Okay. I would ask to -- if we could bring up Exhibit 2112.
(Exhibit was displayed on the screen.)
BY MR. ANDERSON: Q. Do you recognize Exhibit --
MR. MALOFIY: Objection. This was never produced in discovery.
MR. ANDERSON: Yes, of course it was.
MR. MALOFIY: I'll let it go, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Okay. Go ahead.
MR. ANDERSON: Okay. Thank you.
Q. Do you recognize --
A. Kinetic Playground. Yeah, that was a venue in Chicago.
Q. Okay. And that's where Led Zeppelin was in on those days in May of 1969?
A. I believe so.
Q. Do you recall during the course of this trial you heard Larry Fuzzy Knight testify that he saw you in London in March of 1973?
A. Yes, I do.
Q. Could that have happened?
A. No, it couldn't happen.
Q. Why not?
A. Basically, I don't live in London. I mean, I didn't live in London in those days. I lived in Sussex, a good sort of two hours’ drive from London. And at that point of time that they're saying that I went to the Rainbow after show, or whatever it is, I mean, I just wasn't at any of the things that they're saying, but I remember we'd been doing a European tour and then we came off of the European tour -- this is Led Zeppelin, came off the European tour, and then I retreated to the countryside with my partner and our daughter, in a relatively new house to us, too. 
And we had somewhere in the region of maybe three weeks off before going on a very, very lengthy American tour. And so basically where I was going to be in that point of time would be at home with my partner and daughter, who was about two years old at the time.
Q. Okay. And touring, you mentioned that. When were you touring in that time period, do you recall?
A. Each side of that 1973. There was a European tour, and then -- and the point where they're saying that, you know, I was there, I was actually in the countryside. And as I say, after that we were going to go off on a very long tour. So it was, you know, it was definitely the right thing to do, to be with your wife at the time rather than being going anywhere else. So that's what I would have done. I would have been at home.
Q. Okay. And at home in Sussex?
A. Sussex, yeah.
Q. I'd like to ask you questions about the creation of "Stairway to Heaven."
What was your original concept for "Stairway to Heaven"?
A. Okay. The original concept that I had was for a piece of music that would basically go through many moods and changes and basically be like a reveal, as it was -- as it was come -- as it was opening up, building towards -- well, actually, it would start -- it would start with the acoustic guitar, and then it would have the electric piano, and there would be – I knew it was going to be a song, even though I'm thinking about it as music, because Robert, Robert and I were working so in sync with musical compositions in that time. So basically it was going to be something which opened up, and as I said, there's going to be the acoustic guitar, the electric piano, and then there would be electric 12 strings that would come on underneath, blaring underneath the verses. So basically the thing is layering with extra instruments, and then it would go through eventually to something that I always nicknamed the fanfare, which I think we've heard before, that term, in the court, and that would lead into the solo. All the time this whole thing is accelerating and getting more intense, it's getting more intense, and then after the solo, then it would come to the sort of grand finale, the climax of the whole piece.
And, as I say, the idea of it was to basically start off with something which was, you know, more whimsical, if you like, but ending up with this huge sort of roll at the end, and on the journey through it, the drums would come in separately, and the bass, and et cetera, et cetera, electric 12 strings.
THE COURT: Okay. Ladies and gentlemen, it is 11:30, so we're going to be breaking for lunch.
Remember the admonishment not to discuss the case among yourselves or with anybody else or form or express any opinions about the matter until it's submitted to you and you retire to the jury room.
We'll be in recess. See you back in at 1:00 o'clock.
THE CLERK: All rise.
Court is in recess.


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