ROCK god Robert Plant has been cleared of stealing the opening notes to the iconic Led Zeppelin track Stairway to Heaven.

Mr Plant and fellow Led Zeppelin founder Jimmy Page were sued in Los Angeles by representatives of Randy Wolfe from American band Spirit who claimed the pair had ripped off the start of instrumental track Taurus.

However, the jury said the riff Led Zeppelin was "was not intrinsically similar" to Stairway of Heaven's beginning.

After the ruling Page and Plant said they were grateful to "put to rest questions about its origins confirming what we have known for 45 years."

Defence lawyers argued the chord progression in question had been used for more than 300 years and was very common.

Stairway to Heaven regularly tops lists for the greatest rock song ever made.

The prosecution had argued Led Zeppelin heard Spirit's song when the two bands played on the same bill in Birmingham in 1970, a year before Stairway to Heaven was released in 1971.

Spirit's bassist Mark Andes testified he met Plant and played snooker with him after the show.

However, Mr Plant said he had no memory of that night, saying because the "hubbub and chaos" he could not remember a one-off meeting 40 years ago.

Mr Plant blamed his lack of memory a bad car crash on his way home from the club. Both he and his wife suffered head injuries in the accident.

However the jury rejected the defence Page and Plant would not have been familiar with Taurus, saying they had "access" to it.

However, the jury ruled that Mr Plant and Mr Page had not stolen the riff after the singer-songwriter described in detail how he wrote the song at the country estate Headley Grange and wanted to capture a bygone sound of English folk.

Led Zeppelin was formed by Mr Plant, who was born in West Bromwich, attended Stourbridge's King Edward VI Grammar School for Boys, worked in Halesowen's Woolworths and now lives in Shatterford, near Kidderminster, London guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist John Paul Jones and Redditch drummer John Bonham.

Wolfe, who also was known as Ricky California, is believed to have complained about the similarities of both songs in an interview before he drowned in 1997 whilst attempting to rescue his son.