Tag: Los Angeles

Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan detained at US airport again

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Actor says experience ‘really, really sucks’ after being detained for a third time in seven years, this time in LA

Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan detained at US airport again
Shah Rukh Khan said in 2012: ‘Whenever I start feeling arrogant about myself, I always take a trip to America.’ Photograph: Matthias Balk/EPA

The Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan has expressed annoyance about being detained by US airport immigration authorities for a third time, saying the experience “really, really sucks”.

The last time Khan, 50, was detained by immigration officials, in New York in 2012, it sparked uproar among his Indian fans who accused the US of racial profiling, and led Washington to apologise.

“I fully understand and respect security with the way the world is, but to be detained at US immigration every damn time really really sucks,” Khan tweeted after he was pulled aside at Los Angeles airport on Thursday.

“The brighter side is while waiting caught some really nice Pokémons,” he added.

As news of Khan’s detention broke on Indian television channels, the US assistant secretary of state, Nisha Biswal quickly expressed regret.

“Sorry for the hassle at the airport, @iamsrk – even American diplomats get pulled for extra screening!” Biswal tweeted.

Washington had previously denied allegations that Khan was singled out because his name denotes him as a Muslim. Someone with the same name is reportedly on a US no-fly list of 80,000.

After the 2012 incident, Khan joked in a speech to Yale University that he was accustomed to such hassles. “Yes, it always happens. Whenever I start feeling arrogant about myself, I always take a trip to America,” he told students. “The immigration guys kick the star out of stardom.”

In 2009 Khan was detained for more than two hours at Newark airport outside New York, prompting a similar Indian outcry and a US apology.

Expert testifies Stairway to Heaven chord progression used 300 years ago

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Former bandmate says Jimmy Page never mentioned American band Spirit, whose song Led Zeppelin is accused of stealing a riff from

Expert testifies Stairway to Heaven chord progression used 300 years ago
Led Zeppelin lead singer Robert Plant (left) and guitarist Jimmy Page. Photograph: STAFF/Reuters

Led Zeppelin’s attorneys on Friday brought in music expert Lawrence Ferrara, who testified that the only similarity between Taurus and Stairway to Heaven was a “descending chromatic minor line progression”.

Ferrara said that musical element was used 300 years ago, as well as in many pop songs since then.

Also on Friday, Led Zeppelin musician John Paul Jones testified that his former bandmate Jimmy Page had never mentioned American band Spirit, whose song Led Zeppelin is being accused of stealing a riff from its 1971 hit Stairway to Heaven.

Jones, 70, appeared in federal court in Los Angeles on Friday in a copyright infringement trial in which the British rock band is accused of copying the opening riff to Stairway to Heaven from the 1967 instrumental Taurus by Spirit.

When asked if guitarist Page, the co-writer of Stairway, had ever mentioned Spirit, Jones said no.

Jones also said that he himself had never heard of Spirit until the current lawsuit that was brought in 2014 by Michael Skidmore, a trustee for Randy Wolfe, the late guitarist of Spirit and composer of Taurus.

The lawsuit seeks a writing credit for Wolfe on the song and damages in an amount to be proven at trial.

Lawyers for Skidmore on Friday called Michael Einhorn, an expert on music royalties, to testify about damages related to the case. Einhorn said Plant and Page have made $58.5m in total as composers of Stairway to Heaven.

The trial has been closely watched this week as Page, 72, and Plant, 67, attended court, both wearing suits with their long silver hair tied into ponytails.

Page took the witness stand on Wednesday and Thursday and was questioned on whether there were any similarities between Stairway to Heaven and Taurus.

The British musician said he did not recall hearing Taurus until recently, after he had been made aware of comparisons being made between the two songs.

He also testified that the descending chromatic structure of the guitar riff at the center of the lawsuit is heard in numerous other songs, including Chim Chim Cher-ee from the 1964 Disney film Mary Poppins.

Earlier in the trial, Skidmore’s lawyers simultaneously showed the jury two video clips of expert Kevin Hanson playing the openings of both songs. Hanson said the two clips “play together as one piece of music. It is not discordant”.

Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page denies stealing guitar riff in Stairway to Heaven

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  • Guitarist testified he hadn’t heard the song Taurus until a few years ago

  • Lawyer says chords that begins Stairway were lifted from the Spirit tune

Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page denies stealing guitar riff in Stairway to Heaven

The Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page testified on Wednesday that until a few years ago he had never heard a song that the megastar band is accused of ripping off for Stairway to Heaven.

“Something like that would stick in my mind. It was totally alien to me,” Page said of the instrumental song, Taurus, by the band Spirit.

A lawyer for the estate of Spirit’s late guitarist, Randy California, contends that the famous descending-chord guitar riff that begins 1971’s Stairway was lifted from the Spirit tune, which was released a few years earlier.

An eight-member jury is hearing the copyright infringement case in federal court. Jurors must decide whether the two sequences are substantially similar.

Earlier in the day, former Spirit member Mark Andes testified that riffs from both songs, played by an acoustic guitarist on a video aired in court, were the same.

Musical experts not involved in the case have said the sequence is common and has appeared in other pieces from decades and even centuries ago.

Page, clad in a dark gray suit, a vest and tie and wearing his white hair in a ponytail, acknowledged that he had three Spirit albums in his collection of some 10,000 record albums and CDs.

But Page said he only discovered he had Spirit’s first album, which contained Taurus, a few years ago after his son-in-law told him that comparisons with Stairway were cropping up online.

Page acknowledged that Led Zeppelin used a riff from another Spirit song in a medley during their first tour in Scandinavia but Page said he had heard it on the radio – and never heard Taurus.

In his testimony, Andes said Spirit played Taurus in 1968 at a Denver show where Zeppelin was the opening act, and that in 1970 he and Zeppelin singer Robert Plant drank beer and played the billiards-like game snooker after a Spirit show in Birmingham, England.

“Yeah, we hung out. We had a blast,” Andes said.

US district judge R Gary Klausner ruled in April that evidence presented in hearings made a credible case that Led Zeppelin may have heard Taurus performed before their song was created.

Plant and bandmate John Paul Jones are expected to testify at the trial, though Jones has been dismissed as a defendant in the case.

Led Zeppelin has settled several similar copyright disputes over songs such as Whole Lotta Love and Dazed and Confused, but the judge has barred a lawyer for the late Spirit guitarist from introducing evidence from those cases.

Stairway to Heaven has generated hundreds of millions of dollars over the years.

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