The Led Zeppelin Plagiarism Compendium

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"One of the surest tests [of the superiority or inferiority of a poet] is the way in which a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different."
And in practically every case, the original was superior than the uncredited LZ remake. I mean, Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters, etc, eat those boys for breakfast.

Jazzbo, Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:03 (4 years ago) Permalink

TS Eliot was a dick fwiw

acoleuthic, Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:03 (4 years ago) Permalink

god the electric blues is so fucking boring

call all destroyer, Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:04 (4 years ago) Permalink

led zep basically made it tolerable

call all destroyer, Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:04 (4 years ago) Permalink

The point of the thread is the egregiousness of their plagiarism. Obviously lots of people like the plagiarized songs, theyve sold a trillion records. I happen not to like them, which puts me in a minority, I guess. The fact that many people think they are "good" doesnt mean they werent ripped off. Which Zep acknowledged after guys like Willie Dixon sued their ass.

Sabbath to Ulver: "Suck It" (Bill Magill), Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:05 (4 years ago) Permalink

besides I mean using this same slippery slope are we gonna say people who don't write their own songs suck too?

well first off, that's not a slippery slope at all because the issue here is the dishonesty in taking other people's material; artists who perform other people's songs are crediting the songwriters and any money they make gets split with the people who wrote the song

signed, a classical singer

Trouble-Making Foods (HI DERE), Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:05 (4 years ago) Permalink

Actually, Bill, that quote swings both ways. I like Zep fair enough and I like Howlin' Wolf but I think it's a little late to engage in the polemic about white Englishmen ripping off black American artists. They did, were successful at it, alas, and made some good music at times, even. Imso, 'tis better at this point to encourage people to buy the originals than to disparage their love of Zep or the Stones or whatever.

Un peu d'Eire, ça fait toujours Dublin (Michael White), Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:05 (4 years ago) Permalink

the point is, does plagiarism matter? is it worth getting worked up about?

margana (anagram), Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:06 (4 years ago) Permalink

um.... YES

Trouble-Making Foods (HI DERE), Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:06 (4 years ago) Permalink

I mean talk about stupid questions

Trouble-Making Foods (HI DERE), Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:07 (4 years ago) Permalink

led zep basically made it tolerable
No, they watered it down, took all the drama out of it and made it shit.

Jazzbo, Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:07 (4 years ago) Permalink

not a stupid question imo

xp

margana (anagram), Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:08 (4 years ago) Permalink

Then you are stupid. Plagarism sucks.

Trouble-Making Foods (HI DERE), Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:08 (4 years ago) Permalink

the plagiarism definitely matters, it's just that like the revelation that this occurred was old even by 1990.

michangelo wuz a party d00d (San Te), Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:09 (4 years ago) Permalink

Actually, and I am merely quoting the master, the best way to resolve this dispute is surely champagne and reefer.

Un peu d'Eire, ça fait toujours Dublin (Michael White), Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:10 (4 years ago) Permalink

there was one debate I read somewhere (newsgroups???) that theorized that Led Zeppelin were subscribing to the old accepted notion amongst blues guitarists that blues was a 'shared' communal music so that ideas could be used collectively and 'borrowed', per se.

Although as one of the respondents correctly pointed out, that doesn't really apply when you're a major recording artist on a major label, rather than being an unsigned blues guitarist gigging at clubs.

michangelo wuz a party d00d (San Te), Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:11 (4 years ago) Permalink

Guitar Magazine also did a fairly nice breakdown of Zep's plagiarism in an issue around 1995-1997, although they focused more on one to two specific songs ("Lemon Song" was one).

michangelo wuz a party d00d (San Te), Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:12 (4 years ago) Permalink

I'd like to know how many albums Zeppelin sold last year. I bet it's a significant one. The plagiarism issue is still a valid one, though maybe alleviated a little bit by the fact the writers of the songs are getting a cut. Except for the poor Dazed and Confused guy. And Page did a flat out note for note rip of that song, if I remember correctly.

Sabbath to Ulver: "Suck It" (Bill Magill), Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:12 (4 years ago) Permalink

"Actually, and I am merely quoting the master, the best way to resolve this dispute is surely champagne and reefer."

Certainly works for me.

Sabbath to Ulver: "Suck It" (Bill Magill), Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:13 (4 years ago) Permalink

plagiarism or not, I can't trick my ears into not liking what I hear when "Dazed and Confused" comes on. there's no contradiction in finding the act itself deplorable while still "liking" the music

michangelo wuz a party d00d (San Te), Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:14 (4 years ago) Permalink

loosy goosy, violin bow wielding sloppy guitar playing

LOL you know what the blues really needs to make it exciting is rigid, perfectly exercised technique.

a mix of music (Lionel Ritchie) and kicks (my tongue) (Phil D.), Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:14 (4 years ago) Permalink

many xps yeah that's what drives me crazy--it's not that plagiarism "doesn't matter," it's that everyone knows this and knew it 20 years ago, the impacted parties are all dead, and yet the opening post of this thread is like some smoking gun shit that is suddenly supposed to do....what? how is this information supposed to impact me?

call all destroyer, Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:15 (4 years ago) Permalink

the solo in "Rock 'n roll" is so sloppy that I gave up trying to learn it cuz I can't make out half of it. but uhm are we really talking about sloppiness as a detractor in blues-based rock 'n roll, cuz if so there's a lot of bands that will need to snap their guitar cases shut.

michangelo wuz a party d00d (San Te), Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:15 (4 years ago) Permalink

Q: Are the second and third in this series of pictures "deplorable"?

(Neither credits Goya)

Hadrian VIII, Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:17 (4 years ago) Permalink

hey guyz do you think HEre Comes the Hotstepper is a ripoff of Come Together

michangelo wuz a party d00d (San Te), Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:18 (4 years ago) Permalink

xxp well I didn't know all this, I find the debate mildly diverting and it's good that it has its own thread on ilm. so this information 'impacts' me for sure.

margana (anagram), Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:18 (4 years ago) Permalink

glad 4 u

call all destroyer, Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:19 (4 years ago) Permalink

hey I was just about to post those paintings! first one is Velazquez though not Goya.

margana (anagram), Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:20 (4 years ago) Permalink

that would be extra deplorable if they had credited goya then

Hadrian VIII, Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:22 (4 years ago) Permalink

Big payout

Hadrian VIII, Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:23 (4 years ago) Permalink

well I guess it's only a matter of time before the sister "The Quentin Tarantino Plagiarism Compendium" thread gets started on ILE.

michangelo wuz a party d00d (San Te), Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:23 (4 years ago) Permalink

altho that one is fairly more engaging because it's ongoing as he's still making movies

michangelo wuz a party d00d (San Te), Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:24 (4 years ago) Permalink

My problem with Zeppelin (besides Robert Plant’s voice) is not so much that they borrowed or stole songs, but that they didn’t even bother to acknowledge those artists who helped shape their sound. The Rolling Stones once refused to appear on a TV show unless Howlin’ Wolf was given a spot, too. In the folk or blues tradition, it’s quite common to “borrow” themes, melodies, etc. — Dylan’s been doing it his whole career. But the guy has always trumpeted his admiration for those who influenced him, naming names in countless interviews for nearly 50 years now. He helped bring a lot of his musical heroes to the public eye and, yes, increase their record sales (whether they actually saw a dime of the profits or not).
LZ basically said: “This is our song. Fuck you.”

Jazzbo, Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:24 (4 years ago) Permalink

hey, and you guys don't have Morbs to deal with in this thread!

xpost

Gucci Mane hermeneuticist (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:25 (4 years ago) Permalink

I love Robert Plant's voice. also I don't think anybody here is saying "plagiarism is a-ok".

michangelo wuz a party d00d (San Te), Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:30 (4 years ago) Permalink

except for anagram

michangelo wuz a party d00d (San Te), Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:31 (4 years ago) Permalink

well I dunno if I would say it was a-ok. and I'm no Led Zep fan. but in general the knowledge that some riff or lyric or something is ripped off is not enough to spoil my enjoyment of it.

margana (anagram), Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:35 (4 years ago) Permalink

Hey, I think they were an awesome-sounding group (again, except for Plant, whose shrieking is more painful to my ears than nails on a chalkboard). But they managed to distinguish themselves as being even bigger twats than nearly every other multiplatinum-selling band. That takes some doing.

Jazzbo, Thursday, 19 August 2010 14:44 (4 years ago) Permalink

Led Zeppelin is just ripped off blues, in fact their music is exactly the same as Blind Willie Johnson. In fact if people weren't so racist you could have put Blind Willie Johnson in front of an arena and it would have had the same effect on the audience as Led Zeppelin because Led Zeppelin did not actually bring anything to the music.

Theodore "Thee Diddy" Roosevelt (Hurting 2), Thursday, 19 August 2010 15:01 (4 years ago) Permalink

The Bob Dylan Plagiarism Compendium

The Pablo Picasso Plagiarism Compendium

― Hadrian VIII, Thursday, August 19, 2010 12:22 AM Bookmark

The Robert Johnson Plagiarism Compendium

The Miles Davis Plagiarism Compendium

etc

Theodore "Thee Diddy" Roosevelt (Hurting 2), Thursday, 19 August 2010 15:03 (4 years ago) Permalink

The Stones ones are different though - those aren't ripping off existing songs, it's ripping off the guys who were playing with them.

this is a boring argument/thread in general but I would just like to point out that this is historically inaccurate (see: Staple Singers, tons of others)

glitter hands! glitter hands! razzle! dazzle! (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 19 August 2010 15:34 (4 years ago) Permalink

but that they didn’t even bother to acknowledge those artists who helped shape their sound.

I don't think this is true at all either fwiw

glitter hands! glitter hands! razzle! dazzle! (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 19 August 2010 15:34 (4 years ago) Permalink

Page namechecks the author of In My Time of Dying from the stage in How the West Was Won iirc

glitter hands! glitter hands! razzle! dazzle! (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 19 August 2010 15:35 (4 years ago) Permalink

this is a boring argument/thread in general....

^ then why did you click on it?

Sabbath to Ulver: "Suck It" (Bill Magill), Thursday, 19 August 2010 16:09 (4 years ago) Permalink

I didn't think Moka's post was argumentative or critical - it is interesting to pore over Zep's sources (as I enjoyed doing with this comp: http://www.discogs.com/Various-The-Roots-Of-Led-Zeppelin/release/519398). But when it turned into: RIPOFF ARTISTS! J'ACCUSE then it got bad.

sorry Bill

glitter hands! glitter hands! razzle! dazzle! (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 19 August 2010 16:10 (4 years ago) Permalink

I said this on some other thread but one of the things that I think gets overstated is that while Zep borrowed/stole liberally (I don't think there's anything at all wrong with this, fwiw) they're stuff rarely actually SOUNDS like the original. the production/arrangement/performance of material was a central aspect of Zeppelin, and claiming that, for example, they're version of Nobody's Fault But Mine bears anything more than a passing resemblance to Bukka's stripped-down, lo-fi original is just ridiculous.

glitter hands! glitter hands! razzle! dazzle! (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 19 August 2010 16:14 (4 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, that.

Theodore "Thee Diddy" Roosevelt (Hurting 2), Thursday, 19 August 2010 16:17 (4 years ago) Permalink

^^^^^^^

Hadrian VIII, Thursday, 19 August 2010 16:43 (4 years ago) Permalink

Totally disagree. I like how you picked that one and not a complete and utter ripoff like Dazed and Confused. And Ive never heard Bukka White's version, but a steal is a steal.

Sabbath to Ulver: "Suck It" (Bill Magill), Thursday, 19 August 2010 16:45 (4 years ago) Permalink

You are an annoying aphorism that provides absolutely no insights whatsoever

Burt Stuntin (Hurting 2), Monday, 10 February 2014 22:20 (7 months ago) Permalink

(i'm sorry for the tirade. It is one of these phrases that I've heard repeated so many times in bullshit circumstances that I just snapped)

Poliopolice, Monday, 10 February 2014 22:20 (7 months ago) Permalink

You are an annoying aphorism that provides absolutely no insights whatsoever

nyah nyah!

Poliopolice, Monday, 10 February 2014 22:21 (7 months ago) Permalink

this only works as a dismissal of eliot if we assume there is no other rubric by which we can assess the quality of an artist's output (hint: there probably is!)

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Monday, 10 February 2014 22:28 (7 months ago) Permalink

"Basically I think it diminishes them as people that they didn't give co-writing credits in at least some of these cases. About 10% of them or so are really egregious cases of stealing, e.g. Dazed and Confused. At the same time, Jake Holmes's version kind of sucks compared to Led Zeppelin. So they're diminished as people but not as a kick ass band.

― Burt Stuntin (Hurting 2)"

i think it diminishes them more as people that they were horrible human beings through most of the '70s, myself. fortunately for me when i listen to a record i very seldom stop to wonder what i think of the musicians as human beings.

rushomancy, Tuesday, 11 February 2014 00:54 (7 months ago) Permalink

Jesus christ, has anyone ever escaped the past unscathed? Any artist? Any anyone?

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 11 February 2014 01:33 (7 months ago) Permalink

Just Tom Hanks.

Dr. Strongo's Peppermint Paté (WilliamC), Tuesday, 11 February 2014 02:37 (7 months ago) Permalink

*reads about the mud shark incident*

"NOT YOU TOO ZEP! NOT YOU TOOOOOO!!!!!"

Burt Stuntin (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 11 February 2014 02:41 (7 months ago) Permalink

josh: william butler yeats got out of lincoln park okay, at least.

rushomancy, Tuesday, 11 February 2014 02:49 (7 months ago) Permalink

in re the OP list -- so there's no plagiarism at all on Houses of the Holy?

"D'yer Mak'er" is a reggae rip-off of "Angel Baby" by Rosie & The Originals. (They even put "Whatever happened to Rosie & The Originals?" on the lyric sheet.)

And, of course, "The Crunge" is a James Brown pastiche.

KCB (Kent Burt), Thursday, 13 February 2014 02:14 (7 months ago) Permalink

And, of course, "The Crunge" is a James Brown pastiche.

It doesn't exactly steal from any specific James Brown tracks though, does it?

you are clinically deaf and should sell you iPod (stevie), Thursday, 13 February 2014 08:10 (7 months ago) Permalink

Can't think of any JB tracks in 5/8 time or whatever it is. Plant does namecheck a coupla Otis Redding song titles though.

Sir Lord Baltimora (Myonga Vön Bontee), Thursday, 13 February 2014 18:59 (7 months ago) Permalink

3 months pass...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-27497950

groovypanda, Wednesday, 21 May 2014 07:58 (4 months ago) Permalink

this one seems particularly lazy. the music is just a basic groove - no huge rip there. just write some lyrics, robert.

brio, Wednesday, 21 May 2014 13:43 (4 months ago) Permalink

Zep actually co-credited this one to Ritchie Valens' mother, who I believe was originally credited on "Ooh! My Head."

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 21 May 2014 13:55 (4 months ago) Permalink

oh carry on then led zeppelin

brio, Wednesday, 21 May 2014 14:11 (4 months ago) Permalink

Given that it's literally the only instance in their entire catalog of voluntarily giving co-credit, it's understandable that someone would think otherwise.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 21 May 2014 14:14 (4 months ago) Permalink

I thought "When the Levee Breaks" was co-credited to Memphis Minnie? It is on my LP.

EveningStar (Sund4r), Wednesday, 21 May 2014 15:38 (4 months ago) Permalink

Whoops, you're right, it is!

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 21 May 2014 15:42 (4 months ago) Permalink

can't forget Charles Obscure

Sir Lord Baltimora (Myonga Vön Bontee), Wednesday, 21 May 2014 16:07 (4 months ago) Permalink

i'm kind of torn between thinking copyright laws should allow significantly more reuse and thinking that it's shitty to not give credit to artists you're borrowing from. complicated also by the historical power inequities that are at play when white artists steal from black artists.

what's the copyright situation in jamaica? listening to a lot of reggae recently and thinking about such a remix-heavy culture, with "version upon version" of tunes i can only imagine were not created w/ permission from copyright holders, if there were even clear owners to begin with

marcos, Wednesday, 21 May 2014 16:43 (4 months ago) Permalink

tealing from the (relatively) rich seems OK and sometimes laudable, stealing from the (relatively) poor feels wrong - but it can't work one way and not the other, can it?

Throwing Randy California's estate a bone seems like the right thing to do - but honestly don't know if he deserves a songwriting credit even though Page almost certainly ripped off Taurus a lil bit.

brio, Wednesday, 21 May 2014 16:49 (4 months ago) Permalink


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