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Jimmy Page’s Testimony at Led Zeppelin ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Trial, Pt. 2

Prosecuting attorney Francis Malofiy’s questioning of guitarist was no less aggressive after recess on day two

Jimmy Page's Testimony at Led Zeppelin 'Stairway to Heaven' Trial, Pt. 2 Courtroom Testifying

Read part two of the transcript of Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page's testimony at the recent "Stairway to Heaven" trial, as he faced off with prosecuting attorney Francis Malofiy.

Mona Edward Shafer

We pick up the court proceedings after the morning recess on day two. Read Part One of Jimmy Page’s testimony.


(In the presence of the jury:)

THE COURT: Okay. Ready to go until 11:30? Great. The record will reflect that all the members of the jury are in their respective seats in the jury box and the witness is on the witness stand, and we were still in direct examination. Counsel, you may inquire.

MR. MALOFIY: Yes. We had audio exhibit 100165 that we’d like to play for Mr. Page —

MR. ANDERSON: And Your Honor —

MR. MALOFIY: — for —

MR. ANDERSON: Sorry. My apologies.

MR. MALOFIY: — play for Mr. Page for impeachment purposes.


MR. ANDERSON: Your Honor, this is — we’ve conferred, and I do not believe this is an exhibit that was either produced by us or produced to us. Counsel indicates that, if I understood correctly, that it was produced within the last week, which I assume means that it’s on the hard drive of 1500 files that was handed to me on Tuesday.

THE COURT: Is that when it was produced?

MR. MALOFIY: No, that’s absolutely incorrect.

THE COURT: When was it produced?

MR. MALOFIY: It was produced by defendants in this case in response to our first document request. He’s referring to the transcription. I’m referring to the actual audio that defendants produced to plaintiff in this case.

THE COURT: Okay. You may play it.

MR. MALOFIY: Thank you.

(Audio was played.)

MR. MALOFIY: Pause it right there.

Q. Did you hear that?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. Is that your voice, sir?

A. Well, yes, it is.

Q. And does it not say — in regards to writing “Stairway to Heaven,” it said, “Like the intro of it I came up with at Bron-yr-Aur in the cottage where we were together.” Did you hear that?

A. I did hear that.

Q. Now, does that refresh your recollection that when “Stairway to Heaven” was initially written, it was written, you in a cottage with an acoustic guitar, and all that was there was just the intro, correct?

A. No, it doesn’t refresh my memory to that at all, because —

Q. Is —

A. — that — that’s — that’s incorrect, the statement that’s said there.

THE COURT: The statement that you made at that time was incorrect?

THE WITNESS: Yeah, about Bron-yr-Aur, it’s incorrect.

THE COURT: Okay. Next question.


Q. Is your memory today better than it was shortly after writing the piece in 1972?

MR. ANDERSON: Objection, vague and ambiguous as to writing the piece. I’m not sure what he’s — it’s a recording.

THE COURT: Overruled. The question is, is your memory better today than when that statement was made?

THE WITNESS: Umm, yes. Well, I don’t know about yes or no. I’d like to think my memory’s pretty good, though. May I ask a question, please? Is this —

THE COURT: No, no. Excuse me.


THE COURT: I know it’s a little difficult, but it’s gotta be done by a question and answer, and if your attorney wants you to go further into something, he will ask you to expand on it. Go ahead, next question, Counsel.



Q. So just to be clear, do you believe your memory of the events in writing the introduction to “Stairway to Heaven” were more clear and present in your mind in 1972?

THE COURT: Counsel, it’s been asked and answered. He’s already answered it. I hate to push you on this, but we’re wasting a lot of time.

MR. MALOFIY: Understood, Your Honor. I’ll move forward.



Q. When it said in this quote, “when we were together,” who are you referring to being together with in Bron-yr-Aur?

A. Well, I’m not referring to playing “Stairway to ” — oh, you — at Bron-yr-Aur. I probably — I think I’m glitching by this point. It’s a mammoth interview, a very long one, and when I’m saying “together” — well, sorry, what is the question exactly as far as us being together? Go on.

THE COURT: Why don’t you restate the question.


Q. Did you spend time alone with Mr. Plant in Bron-yr-Aur cottage in the Welsh mountains prior to recording “Stairway to Heaven”?

A. We had been to Bron-yr-Aur cottage, but we didn’t do “Stairway to Heaven” at Bron-yr-Aur cottage.

Q. I understand that’s your testimony here today. The audio that we just heard says something different, correct?

THE COURT: Counsel, that’s argumentative. The jury’s heard them both.

MR. MALOFIY: Understood.

Q. The person you’re saying — referring to as being together, it was referring to Mr. Plant, correct?

A. I’m sorry? Say that again.

Q. In that interview, when you said you were together with someone in Bron-yr-Aur, would that be referring to Mr. Plant?

A. Well, I’m not sure whether I’m meaning Bron-yr-Aur or whether I’m meaning Headley Grange there. You know, I’ve glitched quite clearly.

THE COURT: That wasn’t his question. His question is, when you said “with somebody else,” would that somebody else been Mr. Plant? If you know.

THE WITNESS: Umm, but it depends on the location, you see, so I don’t — I’m not referring to that. I have to — not — I can’t really be clear about that, because it’s — it’s a glitch as far as, you know, what I’m saying there.


MR. MALOFIY: I’ll move forward.

THE WITNESS: It’s hard — it’s hard for me to —

THE COURT: Excuse me. You’ve answered the question. Next question.

MR. MALOFIY: I’ll move forward. For cross-examination impeachment purposes, please play audio 164-A.

THE CLERK: Has that been admitted into evidence?

MR. MALOFIY: Yes, your — Miss Williams.


MR. MALOFIY: And that’s 100164-A, BBC Arms of Atlas interview, which was provided by defendants in this case in response to initial production.

MR. ANDERSON: My problem is, the exhibit numbers he’s using don’t match the exhibit numbers on what was provided or the joint exhibit list, so if counsel could please just explain what this is, and then we could basically disregard the exhibit numbers.

THE COURT: Okay. Go ahead. This all should have been done before trial. Go ahead.

MR. MALOFIY: It’s 100164-A. You produced it to us in our initial production. Your Bates number —

THE COURT: He’s asking what it is, not —

MR. MALOFIY: I identified it as BBC Arms of Atlas Our View interview, which was produced by defendants in this case.

MR. ANDERSON: Based on that description, Your Honor, and representation of counsel, we don’t have an objection.


MR. MALOFIY: May we play it, Your Honor?


MR. MALOFIY: Thank you.

(Audio was played.)


Q. Did you recognize the first person’s voice in that interview?

A. Yes.

Q. That was your voice, right, sir?

A. Yes indeed.

Q. And the second person’s voice was Mr. Plant’s voice, correct?

A. That’s right.

Q. And the third person’s voice was Mr. John Paul Jones’ voice, correct?

A. That’s correct.

Q. And Mr. John Paul Jones in that interview had said that you and Mr. Plant had come back from the Welsh mountains with the guitar intro and maybe a verse. Did you hear that?

A. I heard what he thought, yes, he thought what we’d done.

Q. Did I hear it correctly?

A. That’s what he says.

Q. And that’s also what you had said in that prior audio clip that we heard from 1972, correct?

MR. ANDERSON: Objection, mischaracterizes the evidence.

THE COURT: Sustained. We’ve already covered that.


Q. Is it your belief that both of these quotes are wrong?

A. As far as my quotes, I know that’s wrong. As far as the John Paul Jones one, could you just play it again?

Q. Be happy to.

A. Yeah.

MR. MALOFIY: We’ll play it from the beginning. Excuse me. I’ll just queue it up to the relevant portion if that’s acceptable to the Court.


(Audio was played.)


Q. Did you hear that?

A. Yeah, I hear what he’s saying.

Q. And you also dispute this audio quote of your band member, John Paul Jones, who also said that you, Mr. Page and Mr. Plant came back from Welsh cottage with a guitar sequence and intro and maybe a verse?

MR. ANDERSON: Objection, argumentative and mischaracterizes —

THE COURT: Overruled.

MR. ANDERSON: — the testimony.

THE COURT: Do you dispute that that was true?

THE WITNESS: That — that he — that — he says that. That’s what he might have thought that we’d — that we’d done it, wherever. I don’t know where he thought we’d done it, but — but he — well, I do, because he’s saying that he thought we did it at Wales, but —


THE WITNESS: — that wasn’t the case.

THE COURT: Next question.


Q. Do you believe that “Stairway” crystallized the essence of Led Zeppelin as a band?

MR. ANDERSON: Objection, vague and ambiguous.

THE COURT: Overruled. You may answer.

THE WITNESS: Oh. No. No, I don’t think so. I don’t think any one song crystallizes the essence of Led Zeppelin.


Q. Did you ever say, “I thought ‘Stairway’ crystallized the essence of a band”?

A. I might have done —

Q. “It had everything there and showed the band at its best. Every musician wants to do something that will hold up a long time, and I guess we did that with ‘Stairway.'” Do you remember —

A. Well, I might have been referring to crystallizing like all the sum parts. Do you know what I mean?

THE COURT: Okay, but you might have said that?

THE WITNESS: I might — I might have said that, yeah.

THE COURT: Next question.


Q. You’d agree with me that when “Stairway” was initially written, it was a guitar intro chord sequence —

A. No, I disagree with that.

Q. — and a verse? You disagree with that?

A. Mm-hmm.

Q. I’ll move forward. How many times did you meet Mr. Randy California?

A. I’ve no recollection of meeting Randy California.

Q. How many times did you interact with Mr. Randy California?

A. I’ve no recollection of meeting him or interacting with him.

Q. You remember hanging out with him at an afterparty in the UK in 1973 after they performed there?

MR. ANDERSON: Objection, Your Honor, lack of foundation and mischaracterizes the evidence.

THE COURT: Well, he’s already said he’s never met him.


Q. Does that refresh your recollection?

A. I’ll say no.



Q. Do you recall ever going to a Spirit concert?

A. No. Although — although there was some times when we were on the bill, but I didn’t see them. Are you referring to in England?

THE COURT: No. He just said have you ever seen them, have you ever gone to a concert.


THE COURT: And you’ve answered no, they may have been on a bill with you, but you’d never seen them.

THE WITNESS: Yes, right.

THE COURT: Okay. Next question.


Q. Do you recall a CBS afterparty in ’73 after they performed at the Rainbow, where you interacted with members of Spirit?

A. I certainly don’t.

Q. Did you ever hang out with an individual by the name of Larry Fuzzy Knight, a bass player?

A. No. I don’t know who he is.

Q. He was a bass player in Spirit after the first lineup, after Mark Andes was no longer the bass player.

A. Well, who was he with beforehand? Because I obviously never saw him in Spirit. Who did he play with beforehand, when you say hanging out with him?

Q. I’m not sure. We’ll bring him on the stand later on, we can ask him that. Let me move forward to something else.

A. Yeah, the answer to it is no.

Q. No. Okay. Let me move forward to some additional questions. You made a lot of money from “Stairway to Heaven,” correct?

MR. ANDERSON: Objection, lacks foundation, vague and ambiguous.

THE COURT: Sustained.


Q. Did you receive compensation from the exploitation of “Stairway to Heaven”?

A. Well, we would have got royalties for it.

Q. The last — recently isn’t it true that you signed a publishing deal where you received, as a band, 60 million dollars for your catalog?

A. Well, I don’t know about that, but I signed catalog — I’ve signed publishing contracts, yeah.

Q. Do you recall publishing —

A. But I don’t know what — I don’t know what the terms of them are.

Q. Do you recall signing a publishing contract where you were to receive 60 million dollars over the course of time?

MR. ANDERSON: Your Honor, Counsel said recently, but we’re talking something — about something way outside the three-year statute of limitations, so it’s within the motion in limine.

MR. MALOFIY: It’s — respectfully, it is not with that — it’s not out of the three-year statute of limitations. It’s contained within portions of the payments.

THE COURT: The question is, do you recall receiving such a contract for production of “Stairways to Heaven” that was produced within the last three years?

THE WITNESS: Just “Stairway to Heaven” or the whole catalog of Led Zeppelin?

MR. MALOFIY: Well, respect —

THE COURT: Well, you can clarify it, Counsel.


Q. Sir, it was the catalog of Led Zeppelin —

A. Catalog.

Q. — which contained —

A. Mm-hmm.

Q. — the song “Stairway to Heaven.”

A. Mm-hmm.

Q. Okay. Do you recall signing a publishing deal where you received 60 million dollars?

MR. ANDERSON: Again, Your Honor, it’s outside the statute of limitations, and it’s within the motion in limine.

THE WITNESS: I don’t know how much the amount of money was for, but I did sign a contract.

THE COURT: You signed a contract, and it was for a production within the last three years?

THE WITNESS: Yeah, I guess so, yeah.

THE COURT: Okay. Okay.

MR. MALOFIY: I’d like to pull up Exhibit D — excuse me. Strike that. Pull up Exhibit 100642.

MR. ANDERSON: Your Honor, up until today there have been no exhibits in the hundred-thousands. This is the continuing problem, and so if there is an exhibit on the hard drive that I was given the first —

THE COURT: Is this for purposes of impeachment, Counsel?

MR. MALOFIY: Oh, this is — this is — it’s for purposes of showing him the publishing contract which he signed, which was produced by defense counsel. What we did —

THE COURT: Sustained. Next question, Counsel. The discovery on this has been abominable, and it should have been taken care of before trial, and we’re not going to get into that discussion here in trial. Sustained. Next question.

MR. MALOFIY: What I’ll do to make it easier for defense counsel, and I’ll just share with you —


MR. MALOFIY: — when we have an exhibit a hundred-thousand and then 642, we put all your discovery at a hundred-thousand. So it wouldn’t change your initial Bates numbers. So it would be D 

THE COURT: Counsel, we’re trying a case here. We’re not having a private discussion between the two of you. You can do that at the break. Next question.


Q. Sir, do you recall signing a record deal with Rhino Entertainment where you received 10 million dollars?

A. As part of the band, yes.

Q. Okay.

A. Well, I don’t know if it’s 10 million. I don’t — I don’t know the figures, but I did sign a contract, but —

Q. And didn’t that include compensation for the song “Stairway to Heaven”?

MR. ANDERSON: Objection, calls for legal conclusion, lacks foundation.

THE COURT: Sustained. But the contract that you signed was for material. Did it also include “Stairway to Heaven”?

THE WITNESS: It included all material.

THE COURT: Okay. Next question.


Q. Isn’t it true that Flames of Albion’s a music publishing company for the Led Zeppelin catalog?

A. Umm, I think — I believe it is.

Q. Isn’t it true that you’re a director of that publishing company?

A. Yes.

Q. Isn’t it true that you control that publishing company?

MR. ANDERSON: Objection, calls for a legal conclusion.


THE COURT: Overruled.

THE WITNESS: I don’t know that I control the company.


Q. Isn’t it true that all the money that Flames of Albion receives then gets distributed to the individual living members of “Stairway to Heaven”?

MR. ANDERSON: Objection, lacks foundation.