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Rock legend misses gig to fight US court battle; ROBERT PLANT ACCUSED OF COPYING OPENING TO SONG.

Byline: ROZ LAWS Showbiz Reporter roz.laws@trinitymirror.com @rozlaws

ROCK legend Robert Plant has pulled out of the Meltdown Festival - because he has to appear in court.

The West Bromwich-born musician has to give evidence before a jury at the Central District California Court in a copyright wrangle over Led Zeppelin's classic Stairway To Heaven.

Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page have been accused of copying the opening of the iconic anthem from another song.

A judge has ruled that the 1971 track has substantial similarities to the 1967 instrumental Taurus by psychedelic rockers Spirit.

The case has been brought by Michael Skidmore, a trustee of the estate of Spirit's late songwriter, guitarist Randy California.

The two bands toured the US together in 1968 and 1969 and Skidmore claims Zeppelin may have been inspired by Spirit.

Now Plant and Page must appear before a jury to defend themselves. The case was originally set for May 10 but the court then moved the hearing back to June 14, just five days before Plant was due to appear at the Meltdown Festival.

The festival at London's Southbank Centre is this year organised by Elbow star Guy Garvey, who is playing alongside the likes of Richard Hawley, Helen Whitaker, The Staves and Laura Marling from June 10 to 19. Plant was taking part in a special gig titled The Boat We're In at the Royal Festival Hall as part of Refugee Week, but it has now been cancelled.

"It's with great disappointment that Robert Plant must cancel his appearance at this year's Meltdown Festival," a statement from the singer read.

"Robert has been proud to contribute towards the British Red Cross/Refugee awareness campaign. He has been enthusiastic to help in any way the increased awareness and support of so many powerless and distraught peoples. The opportunity afforded at Guy Garvey's Meltdown was an event Robert was passionately drawn to."

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:May 26, 2016
Words:324
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