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Dealing with Led Zeppelin's plagiarism

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Versatile, Jun 9, 2013.

  1. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I had Led Zeppelin III on in the car yesterday when I picked up a friend, and "Since I've Been Loving You" came on. Now I of course have heard all the talk about Jimmy Page and Robert Plant stealing songs, from outright thieveries such as "Since I've Been Loving You," "Dazed and Confused" and "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" to songs in which they gave the original writer a credit alongside their own credits such as "Whole Lotta Love," "When the Levee Breaks" and "Gallows Pole."

    I'd always seen that as a knock on Zepplin, a reason the band shouldn't be compared to The Beatles or the Rolling Stones. Many bands do covers or take a little inspiration from other artists, but few do it as boldly and covertly as Zeppelin did. But I hadn't ever contextualized it like this: What if someone stole your quotes from a feature story, used them without credit and in some cases even said "so-and-so told me" to take full credit for the quotes?

    The Zeppelin version of "When the Levee Breaks" is one of my favorite songs ever, but it's a cover, albeit even more extremely rewritten than Jimi Hendrix's "All Along the Watchtower." And even for that cover, they credited Memphis Minnie but not Kansas Joe McCoy, the second writer. They didn't bother to credit Memphis Minnie correctly, either, using her act name instead of her real name (Liz Douglas turned Minnie Lawlers), which obviously should be how she's credited.

    Given my standards for my own industry, why should I be forgiving to Zeppelin? Again, it's not as though every group was like this. Zeppelin took great civil liberties. So did the Beastie Boys in Paul's Boutique and De La Soul in 3 Feet High & Rising, but that sort of sample usage was the industry standard in rap in the 1980s. Zeppelin could have credited its songs better and done a lot to help a group such as Moby Grape from toiling in relative obscurity.
  2. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    I loved Bob Dylan's response to Rolling Stone when he was accused of not citing Henry Timrod's poetry.

    "It's true for everybody, but me. There are different rules for me."

    And he's right.
  3. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I looked up that quote. I suppose my retort would be, "Shouldn't we hold Bob Dylan (and Jimmy Page and Robert Plant) to higher standards?"
  4. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    They only gave credit on "Whole Lotta Love" after they got sued.
  5. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    The same is true for "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You."
  6. lesboulez

    lesboulez Member

    isn't r'n'r all about plagging? you take what came before, and add your spin? then you move and and do your own thing... read keith richards' biog. he says he stole chuck berry...the beatles lost a suit to ... chuck berry...they all did it and they all do it.
  7. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    They played the original version of Dazed and Confused on Stern several years ago and while the Zeppelin version is far better, it's pretty obvious they were, if nothing else, heavily influenced by the original.

    RS writer David Wild said on Carolla's show awhile back that one of the many sources of the feud between Page and Plant is that Plant blames Page for all of the sampling that took place, presumably without Plant's knowledge. I don't know if I believe that, but that's what Plant has claimed.
  8. Claims that a band initially called the New Yardbirds weren't wholly original? I'm shocked!
  9. AreaMan

    AreaMan Member

    Love me some Zeppelin. But this "plagiarism" whether it's lyrics or riffs and chord progressions within the rock world is what makes me chuckle when these same folks (I'm looking at you Gene Simmons) and fans of the rock genre blast hip-hop artists and their penchant for "sampling" music in their songs.

    To me, there's no difference from what the rock folks are doing. I can't tell you how many times I've heard riffs and chord progressions that are damn-near a copy of other, older rock songs. I mean, it's blatant. And no one seems to give a hoot.

    At least the rap folks actually shell out the money to the record companies/artists when they use those samples. Sometimes they are forced to by legal means, but usually by getting clearance beforehand.
  10. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I'm not trying to justify what they did, but what was the precedent for this kind of thing in the late 1960s early 1970s? Wasn't Elvis accused of doing the same thing? He may have escaped since he didn't write his own stuff...
  11. pressboxer

    pressboxer Active Member

    It's Now or Never uses the music of O Sole Mio

    Can't Help Falling in Love uses the melody of Plassir d'Amour, an 18th-century French tune
  12. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    In the latter case, that song was in the public domain. Copyright only lasts the author's life plus 75 years. For example, that's why you can adapt Shakespeare without paying royalties to anyone.
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