A Major Car Crash Played a Pivotal Role in Led Zeppelin Singer Robert Plant’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Lawsuit Testimony

One of the most iconic rock songs is Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” First released by the celebrity in 1971, even today’s younger generation knows the song. It is a song that exemplifies what classic 1970s rock is all about. It’s a song that has an interesting history, which includes lawsuits and car crashes. One of the significant points in the lawsuit surrounded a collision that involved a Series 1 Jaguar XJ. 

Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ was released in 1971

Robert Plant dressed in black on stage with a red curtain in the background.
Robert Plant | Getty Images

Led Zeppelin was a four-member band that formed in 1968. The members were Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham. The group disbanded in 1980, after Bonham’s tragic death. Rather than trying to replace their drummer, the rest of the members of Led Zeppelin decided to disband in honor of Bonham. 

Led Zeppelin is known for some of the greatest rock songs ever made. With Plant as a vocalist, Page on guitar, Jones on keyboard and bass, and Bonham on drums, Led Zeppelin has a good claim to be one of the best rock bands ever. Led Zeppelin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. 

Along with “Stairway to Heaven,” the band also had success with “Black Dog”, “Whole Lotta Love,” and “Ramble on.” Thor: Ragnorok gave new life to “The Immigrant Song” when it was released in 2017. 

Robert Plant was accused of plagiarizing 

“Stairway to Heaven” was never released as a single, but that didn’t stop it from becoming insanely popular. It wasn’t without controversy, either. According to BBC, Robert Plant was accused of plagiarizing the opening riff. The song “Taurus” from the band Spirit had a similar riff, and it was alleged that Plant heard the track in 1970, which was a year before “Stairway to Heaven” was released. 

Spirit had played at a club in Birmingham, AL. Plant attended that show and met and had a jam session with the members of Spirit afterward. The lawsuit alleged that Plant heard and learned the riff that night, then used it later for Led Zeppelin’s iconic song.

Plant’s defense was that he was in a car accident that night. He wrecked his Series 1 Jaguar XJ on his way home and suffered a head injury. According to GQ, Plant said, “Part of the windshield buried in the top of my head, which was interesting. I don’t remember a thing.” Led Zeppelin won the lawsuit, in part thanks to that defense. The original lawsuit was filed in 2014, and after appeals, was finally settled in 2020. 

Plant had a crazy car collection

The Series 1 Jaguar XJ was the brand’s flagship at the time. Motortrend calls the Series 1 Jaguar XJ a clean and basic sedan, with classic stylings like a chrome bumper and a large front grille. The XJ was designed as a large luxury sedan, and it lives up to the name.

Plant also owned other cars, and his collection is impressive. Plant wanted a pickup when he moved from the city to a farm and decided on a 1948 GMC 3100 pickup. Plant called her a “good old girl.” He also had a 1959 Chrysler Imperial Crown and an Aston Martin DB5. Only 555 of the Chryslers were made, and Plant got one in bright pink. The Aston Martin was a 1965 model year. Plant sold it in 1986. It only had 62,400 miles on it when he sold it. Today, that car would be worth millions. Plant also bought a 1972 Buick Riviera Boat-tail and a 1985 Mercedes AMG W126.

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