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September 20, 2007

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mikep999

People are so stupid these days. I'm not a good musician in any way, I have played piano in the past and can play an acoustic guitar relatively poorly. Anyways, if you play guitar at all there is a pretty cool program out there called Guitar Pro. It shows standard notation(actual musical notes)if you want but can also just show "guitar tab", or both, whatever you want. My point though is even for someone who has no talent playing guitar, me, I can look at guitar tabs, standard notation, both, or even just listen to the Led Zeppelin songs and the songs they "ripped off". I will agree that Dazed and Confused was clearly inspired by the shitty original Jake Holmes song of the same name. Everything else I have looked at is not a rip off in any way. In some cases Page probably should have credited so and so just to be safe, I would have. As far as "traditional" arrangements go, how would you actually know who to give credit to? If someone recorded a version of a traditional arrangement before you recorded it they don't own that song any more than you or anyone else who records it after you. Also plenty of times people seem to forget about public domain issues, I didn't bother reading through the jerk off list of "rip offs" because I have had this basic argument before with people over the years too many times to really care, right now I am just very bored. Anyways if you don't know what public domain is you can look it up. The bottom line here is Zeppelin got very famous and rich, some people like to use that alone as an excuse to dislike something, or someone, but to me music is a form of art. I mentioned I am a lousy musician, but I am very talented in other forms of art. Look at things from an artistic viewpoint for a second, to an extent there really isn't much left you can do to be truly original, whether you are making music or paintings, everything is in some way taken in part by something someone else already did. If somebody doesn't like Led Zeppelin that is fine, by why do people have to create make believe scenarios where Zeppelin ripped off everything they made? It's pretty lame, even if you can make weak correlations between several of there songs and songs someone else recorded first the majority of there songs are still as original as anything made by any other musicians. Did they rip off Kashmir or Over The Hills and Far Away? I'm sure if someone was a big enough ass wipe with enough time on there hands they could dig up some shitty song recorded by nobodies that could be interpreted as an example of Zeppelin stealing a bar they used in Kashmir that somebody else used first. People liked Led Zeppelin Because of the way they played there songs and the way they sounded. They started out as a Blues based band, if you dig deep enough you will find that basically all of the most famous blues musicians who recorded anything did nothing more than take songs, especially the lyrics, and record there own little versions of those songs that had been handed down for generations and then they put there name on the record. Maybe we should have a blog about "Howlin' Wolf as a Rip-Off Artist!", only why bother because it won't get tons of comments because the guy is dead and wasn't as rich and famous and isn't still popular enough to draw comments from countless people who want to bitch about him because of how popular he was/is.

Lilly Rigby

The Beatles admitted nicking riffs. The guitar riff for 'Moby Dick' and 'I feel Fine' sound similar, from Bobby Parker's 1961 song 'watch your step'. Poor guy has tried for years to get credit. I'm a fan of both bands and always will be but I wish Paul McCartney would help Bobby Parker.

felipe

the one that are defending led are just not ready for the hero to be portrayed like that, but they are. led are scum, they should not be referred as one of the greatest rock artist of all time, shame on you rolling stone magazine, to support plagiarism artist at such a high level.i hope now when led is mention will be with jedward and even they have the dignity to give credit.

Headface

Well... they were smart! They sold their entire catalog to Atlantic in 1981 for 25 million, which is why Page or Plant never had to deal with any litigation issues afterwards. And is also why their greatest hits release does give credit to the rightful writer's.

Karlo Berkovich

Craig, re Pink Floyd and credits for Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Floyd did credit the sax player - Dick Parry. It's in the Wish You Were Here liner notes. And I sort of hear you on Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones as session players but session players are just that, used on a session. They are not the principal songwriters if they contributed in the writing at all, hence are not typically credited in terms of publishing. That does not mean they did not contribute to the 'writing' of the song in terms of melody or a riff etc.; there are many instances I could cite where session players or backup singers etc. have retroactively claimed credit (and been denied) songwriting credits on myriad rock and roll albums/songs, particularly and obviously if those albums/songs proved successful commercially. I would suggest it comes down to what/how the band wants to credit things and what it takes to get a credit within a given band. Mick Taylor, for instance, while in The Rolling Stones was a major influence of their sound, and was reportedly miffed at not getting some credits during his 1969-74 tenure, but Jagger and Richards control the band and one supposes divvy up credits according to how they think they should be divvied up. Charlie Watts, for instance, no doubt has influenced the Stones' sound and/or 'written' melodies and beats and such yet one never hears Watts carping about song credits. The thing, to me, with Zep is they blatantly appropriated base melodies and moreso lyrics and claimed them as Page/Plant when it simply was not so. Appreciate your comment. - Karlo Berkovich (Blogovich).

Craig

I concur that it would have been good to credit Spirit in some way especially from such a big artist as Led Zep giving a hand-up to a lesser known band. I don't see that communication breakdown is anything like nervous breakdown, except similarities in song title, and, well many songs have the exact same title. I think, in terms of giving credit goes, things were a little different back then, for example, Pink Floyd didn't credit the sax player on Shine on you Crazy Diamonds, I don't suppose Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones would have been credited on all the records they did session work on, so yes overall I'd like to see Zep giving credit, even if retrospectively, but I don't think we should be overly critical, they did pen some great compositions entirely their own. Others have done similar - should the Jam have giving credit to the Beatles (Taxman and Start have the same riff) - the list goes on

Juju

"Taurus" Stairway is not a ripoff.

It's an agreement between Spirit & Led Zeppelin. Spirit said they were ok that Zeppelin use the chords sequence.

The same goes for "CHild in Time", the strong of which is a title from It's a beautiful day's "Bulgaria" (I think). These are arrangements between bands.

That being said, some of the supposed ripoffs are plain ridiculous. It would mean that "custard pie" and "hats off to Harper" are the same songs, since the same song was stolen.

Anyway, we all knwo that Zeppelin were clumsy and blatantly lazy (lyrics) in paying homage to musicians they liked.

Paying an homage without having to pay.
But with all the suing therafter and the music industry setting in motion, Jimmy Page could have done without these tributes
and would have ripped off (as any other musicians) in a less visible way.

Damien Smith

Let me state from the beginning that I'm a huge Zep fan and I think they still deserve to be considered one of the all-time greats-- because most of their catalog is completely original (and awesome). That being said, I agree that technically Zep is guilty of plagiarism. Especially on tracks like "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You," "Dazed & Confused," & "Bring It On Home," where they straight-up copied someone else's song and tried to pass if off as their own.

I also think it's bush-league to take traditional songs like "Black Mtn Side," "In My Time Of Dying," & "Nobody's Fault But Mine," and claim (as Zep did) that they are completely original compositions (the album credits say 'written by Page/Plant,' which is total NONSENSE). Just because some of the old blues guys did that sort of thing doesn't make it right.

Zep was eminently capable of writing amazing material all on their own-- which is what makes these cases of clear plagiarism so puzzling to me. Zep should have just given credit where credit was due, and they wouldn't have given away any of their greatness.

It's true that virtually every song Zep touched they made a better song. The best example of this is "Stairway to Heaven," where they take a rather boring A-minor chromatic descending part (written by Spirit) and turn it into a stirring, thrilling, epic tune.

In conclusion, Zep deserve to be called out for their transgressions. But, in the end, they still have enough high-quality original material to be included among the greatest ever.

P.S. but they're still nowhere near as great as The Beatles :)

Cem Akkılıç

Thank you sir.

weavermomo

Wow this guy is bitter about something. All music comes from somewhere, it is a real stretch his comparisons. Led Zep did much better versions and made the songs famous. That seems to be the problem. LZ has so much of there own incredible music so who cares? It isn't like they didn't write any of there own. They had other musicians they admired and ran with it, SO WHAT? They are incredibly talented regardless and the BEST ROCK BAND THAT WALKED THE EARTH.

Christopher Hunter

I love Zeppelin more than any band in the history of rock..I got to see them twice...and they changed me....I had never seen a band do what they did on stage and I won't ever see it again..but I don't think this blog is about hate..they did rip off blues artists, and other artists...Jake Holmes, who wrote Dazed and Confused, sued them ..as well he should have....Yes Jimmy made those songs his own...but give the original artists what they deserve....Clapton gave money to the Robert Johnson foundation....I think it's only fair Zep does the same for what they took....that's only IMHO..but I think that's what's right..that's what's fair....

cheryl cartwright

holy shit are you ever bitter about something!

red

led zeppelin is the sXXX and they own even though they stole music they still played it themselves and thats what made it sound good. they should of given credit though

Patrick Hazell

Interesting list of "ripoffs". However, these things happen all the time with a great many artists--especially when it come to traditional musics of all genres. Many blues songs attributed to and copyrighted by famous blues songwriters are not only inspired, but lifted in part or in whole from earlier traditional blues songs that had never been recorded or copyrighted--and these earlier versions are pasted-together versions of yet even earlier ones, ad infinitum into the distant misty past. Such songs are the legacy of an entire culture that have developed over centuries. This is not to excuse Led Zeppelin, but the real authorsip of much of the material they performed is in question. Even Willie Dixon was accused of ripping off earlier artists. Really, guys like Dixon were simply creating copyrighted songs by assembling verses together that had been used in various combinations for generations. It was the modern way to make some cash on their music--so why not?

Eric

I don't think there is any argument that everything in music since Mozart has been a stolen song from some other artist. What bothers me is when they directly take a recording and change the tempo to make it fit for their own purpose, then make millions with another stupid rap song.

Sure Rap had a place, and time, but now? Just the same as Zeppelin had a place and time.

When are people going to get back to what is real, honest, and true talent?

Tim

I will say this to all the folks attempting to defend LZ. All other artists, Stones, Beatles, Blackmore, etc gave due to the artists who inspired them. The Stones rocked out with many great blues artists. LZ waited until they were sued. don't get me wrong, I love the sound of LZ, but they were rip-off artists. That's probably the main point here, give credit where credit is due.

Icerz

"Good artists borrow, great artists steal." Pablo Picasso ;)

Ryan

Everything has already been done. Just because a song by Led Zeppelin sounds a little bit like an earlier song doesn't mean you should go running to the police.

Don't you people get it? THIS IS THE WHOLE IDEA OF MUSIC. You listen to and become inspired by other songs and other artists and expand upon what they have made. THIS is the driving force behind all of musical history.

Karlo Berkovich

thanks, Ted, for the support re Page/Plant.

Ted rass

showing thievery is jealousy? If anyone was jealous, it was Page and Plant, taking other people's material without acknowledgement.

erik burk

Oh the jealousy. What have YOU created, blogodouche? So easy to be the critic. Critics are just failed creators, which all of you are who put down the most popular and influential rock band of our time. Funny, I stumbled on this like trying to find some obscure article on some dead bluesman. Google "Led Zeppelin" and see what you get, losers.

Karlo Berkovich

Virtually EVERYTHING by Led Zeppelin sounds like something by somebody else.
-- Blogovich.

doodah

"Since I've Been Loving You" sounds exactly like Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "Portrait Of A Man"...check out both songs.

exciter

Yeah some of it sounds like a pure rip off like the willie dixon stuff. But I gotta tell you as a musician. It is entirely possible to come up with a similar sounding riff that someone else came up with.. which in fact someone else came up with before that.

Listen... Rock n' roll died when bands like Zep found a formula for it.. People were saying Rock'n roll was dead in the 70s.. so I'm told!!

My verdict.. the melody lines sound like they are ripped off.. if you are not a musician, the melody lines are the way the vocals go!! Anyone can come up songs that sound similar.. There are only a hand full of notes on any instrument. And furthermore, if two people write a riff based on the same scale.. there is a possibility it could sound alike. Because, guess what.. we are all working on the same influences.

A small personal example! I used to write a lots of speed/death/thrash metal songs for my band. I thought I was completely original. Then I met a guitar player who's obviously been around the block and he started calling out some of my riffs and saying this sounds like this and that!
And you know what.. it was true and I didn't even know it. The weirdest example was when I came up with a riff which was really, really cool.. A lot of people said
it was cool.. Then that guitar player friend said look this riff sounds like the second song on this album.. I listened to it and I said.. holy shit.. I must have heard that album like 1 time my whole life.. My riff was a slower version of that riff.

Bottom line.. many people can write similar sounding riffs because our influences are all the same!! (unless you lived under a rock)

It's all been done before man!!
There's nothing new under the sun..
That's what killed rock and metal in the late 80s.. If you ever listen to the first metallica complation cd.. Metal massacre or whatever.. all those bands except slayer sound exactly like metallica at that time.. I mean the riffs..

Can anyone truly claim that they wrote a piece of music.. ha.. ha.. that's why even 500 years ago classical musicians call it an 'arrangement'...

BECAUSE ALL YOU ARE DOING IS ARRANGING NOTES NOT CREATING!!

Linda Musumeci

Look at what Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham did with those songs...they brought them to LIFE....How many more people enjoyed the music because of their creative ingenuity. There are so many connections with music (especially ROCK) in general...it's just knowing 'what connections to make' that make a music a success. Nothing will pull Led Zeppelin down in my book! Peace and Love Out to ALL.

adam

This is all crap. The dazed and confused one is the only one with any validation, the rest are just sloppy copyrighing by atlantic. you've got zep re-making a bunch of old blues classics their own - all these songs, pre zep were either credited as traditional or claimed by some other guy that wasn't the first one to do it. Sonny Boy Williamson (the fake one) didn't write bring it home, it's been credited to Willie Dixon (who also didn't write it he was just the first dude to record it). He's also unlikely to be the first guy to perfom, let alone write the 2 songs from the first album that zep covered. Sloppy copyrighting, sure, but that's hardly the bands fault. Read anything on Zep and see what problems they had even getting atlantic to print the album covers right, let alone the liner notes. Check out the Richard Cole autobiography. He was their tour manager and most of the stuff he says is not complementary, and is degrading to the character of everyone in the band, but he does mention several times how what zep gave atlantic to print got twisted all around. Then there's 'babe i'm gonna leave you'. This song had already been recorded by someone else who didn't write it, so it's not that unreasonable that some atlantic goon would list it as trad. arranged page. It's not Page's fault he didn't know who wrote the original words. All the blues guys that got ripped-off, yeah I'd like to see them get paid and get theirs too, but the truth is that until music was recorded there was no way that the original composers got credited or paid. This is all just a bunch of who recorded what first, and if you look at the zep legacy there are so many standout true 100% page/jones/bonham composed originals that this is just a bunch of nonsense. There's a reason they teach the zep catalogue like kashmir at 2nd semester college music theory classes (after the beatles, who ripped off plenty of stuff if zep did, by the way, but no one can talk smack about them)

Jim Stacho

Led Zeppelin is the most overrated band of all time. As an act, they completely ripped off The Who, Townshend & Co. being the far superior band in performance and artistic achievement. Nobody before or since has played an album onstage the way The Who played Tommy in 1969-1970. The songwriting was probably too smart for the masses to appreciate as opposed to vamped up blues covers such as Zeppelin exploited.

john

"in my time of dying" is a cover of "jesus gonna make up my dying bed" by joshua white an old goslpel blues guy

TANNITH

One you missed. 'Girl I Love She Got Long Wavy Hair' from 'BBC Sessions'. It's credited to Page & Plant but it is a Sleepy John Estes song.

Tom

A few songs are directly ripped off, but some of these examples are incredibly flimsy, and rip-offs cannot be claimed.

Communication Breakdown - listen to what they apparently ripped off please. Not even remotely similar, and no-one would believe that they were even slightly alike if you lsitened to one after another. It's Zeppelin's original composition. Also, notice the "apparently" that follows it - some idiot claimed it on a talk show, but no-one will ever agree with such a foolish claim.

Alot of the "uncredited cover of a traditional song" is a load of rubbish as well, really - listen to the claimed "originals". The only similarities are the lyrics, and that's where the claim comes in. Thankfully, the actual songs are original compositions, eg. Custard Pie. Lyrics are unimportant, the actual song is what truly counts.

Whole Lotta Love, again, is completely different to the supposed "original" in all forms, bar the similarity in lyrics.

Bring It Home is NOT a direct rip-off lol. The intro and outro were intentionally referencing a blues artist and was supposed to be credited originally. However, everything else to do with the song is a 100% original composition.

Stairway To Heaven - only 15 seconds of the song are the same. Only 15 seconds of that intro are similar, the rest is 100% Led Zeppelin originality, including the lyrics (Taurus didn't actually have lyrics, btw). Thankfully, this is truly Led Zeppelin's own work, bar the guitar intro.

Another notable thing is, only 2 of these songs are actual rip-offs - Dazed And Confused and Babe I'm Gonna Leave You. The rest are either flimsy claims of ripping off (Stairway To Heaven), lyrical rip-offs but entirely original compositions (Whole Lotta Love, Custard Pie etc.) or claims with absolutely zero authenticity about them whatsoever, which is the case of Communication Breakdown which is 100% Led Zeppelin's creation.

Daniel

"How can you honestly say that Zeppelin is a rip-off band? All of those songs that they supposedly "ripped off" from other artists aren't even popular songs" -TONY

Dude! Are you serious?? So its only a rip-off if its taken from a popular song? I take it your not a musician or an artist of any kind. That just means that their trying not to get caught!!!

And Zep never claimed to have written them? Their name and no one elses was on the album. Right?

Also Zep ripped-off "Gallows Pole" directly from Ledbelly(sp?). I mean directly!!!

Now that we all agree that they ripped off song after song I would still say that Zep is still one of the great Rock bands of all time. They took me farther away with their music than any band or artist ever have. I will still say that and I rarely even listen to them any more.

guy

its about influence, not ripping off.
Of course robert plant borrowed lots of lyrics from blues songs, and jimmy page took blues and made progressive rock out of it.
Every artist on earth took a bit from others to compose, that goes for everyone!
But Zep couldnt be accused of plagiarism, they were the most original and creative and groundbreakin of the 70s!

HOWEVER, zep really ripped off the main guitar riff from Taurus's song "Spirit" to make "stairway to heaven". listen to it online on deezer
http://www.deezer.com/#music/result/all/taurus%20spirit


The Godfather

How can you honestly say that Zeppelin is a rip-off band? All of those songs that they supposedly "ripped off" from other artists aren't even popular songs. And this just in, Led Zeppelin never claimed that they wrote any of those songs anyway. So, I don't get what you're trying to say here.

Tony

On the subject;
I noticed purely by chance tonight a real rock n roll riff rip-off.
I was listening (carefully for the first time) to Ozzy Osbourne's Bark At The Moon (first track on his 1983 album, same name), and it reminded me of another song: by Boston. Listen to the obvious similarity in the guitar riff of the part after the chorus of Boston's Don't Look Back (1978. No idea 'bout the rest) and Osbourne's;
Unabashed musical plagiarism!

Thank you, Tony

ron

could not agree more.

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About Karlo


  • Karlo Berkovich is Associate Editor-Online Content of the Waterloo Region Record and www.therecord.com A former sports writer and editor, he draws on that experience for many of his posts, but also comments on any number of topics including his other areas of interest, rock music and politics.

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