The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Time for Some Zeppelin

Posted on | May 3, 2012 | 13 Comments

Of course, it’s ALWAYS time for some Zeppelin:


13 Responses to “Time for Some Zeppelin”

  1. smitty
    May 3rd, 2012 @ 9:50 pm

    @rsmccain Who is this guy, and why does he think himself capable of taking blame from Bush?

  2. M. Thompson
    May 3rd, 2012 @ 11:49 pm

    Rock on.

  3. Bob Belvedere
    May 4th, 2012 @ 12:04 am

    That monkey on my back
    The m-m-m-m-monkey on my back, back, back
    Gonna change my ways tonight
    Nobody’s fault but mine


  4. Adjoran
    May 4th, 2012 @ 12:35 am

    Blatant and direct theft of Blind Willie Johnson’s original song from around 1929, recorded by Columbia Records.  Blinded at age seven, Johnson built his own first guitar out of a cigar box, but as a poor black handicapped man in the ’20s, had no knowledge of his ability to copyright his intellectual property, so of course his family never received a dime in compensation from any of the dozen or so artists who recorded a version of his songs.

    Nearly all of them at least gave him credit for authorship, though, except Plant and Page, who listed themselves as the writers.

    Blind Willie also made one of the earliest recordings of the blues/gospel standard “John the Revelator,” and also wrote and recorded “Jesus, Make Up My Dying Bed,” also recorded by Zeppelin as “In My Time of Dying,” and also not credited to Johnson.

    Blind Willie at one time supported himself by singing on city sidewalks for donations, including drawing large enough crowds in New Orleans that police had to break them up.  He ended up as a preacher in Beaumont, Texas.  In 1945, his house burned down, but he had nowhere else to go so he continued sleeping in the ruins, caught an infection, probably pneumonia, and died at age 48.

    So a royalty wouldn’t have helped him much, but would it be so hard to give the writer a shout out with credit, instead of passing his work off as your own?

  5. Bunk X
    May 4th, 2012 @ 3:21 am

    Let’s talk about Willie Dixon.

  6. Adjoran
    May 4th, 2012 @ 4:19 am

     He was at least able to sue and make them pay him and give credit on future presses.

    There are a couple dozen examples of Led Zep plagiarism.  Hey, it happens all the time in music – pretty much every rock and blues guitar riff you’ve ever heard (except for Hendrix) comes straight from the very limited production of Robert Johnson, who recorded less than 60 songs, nearly half of them alternate takes of others.  You can hear every single one of Chuck Berry’s “hook” riffs in Johnson.

    But Plant was the most audacious of the blues/rock plagiarists.  Most stole a riff here and there, while he stole whole songs and passed them as his own. 

    Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson told a biographer of the two bands’ early friendship as part of the English blues-rock revival.  They both veered into rock, and shared a building for a period of recording time, Zep putting tracks on their 4th album in the large studio while Tull worked on Aqualung in the smaller one.

    After sitting in on a Zep session with a journalist, Anderson remarked to him, “If we took my lyrics and Page’s guitar, we’d have the beginnings of a fair band!”  Robert Plant took offense, and began something of feud between them.

    Anderson told the biographer, “I hadn’t thought that Plant was writing their lyrics, and might be insulted.”  Well, he didn’t think that because Plant was just stealing others’ work – Anderson wouldn’t come out and say that, but he had to have known it was true, starting out studying the old bluesmen himself.

  7. Adjoran
    May 4th, 2012 @ 4:24 am

    Here is one of the many compilations of examples of Led Zep theft on the web:

  8. Adjoran
    May 4th, 2012 @ 4:27 am

    I should note that Led Zep was always one of my favorite groups, Page and Bonham were both in the very top tier on their instruments in rock music, and Plant has one of the very best rock screams of all time in “Whole Lotta Love” (yeah, it was plagiarized, too).  I owned all their albums in vinyl, and most and 2 boxed sets in CD.  I’m a fan of their music.

    Not so much of their ethics.

  9. SDN
    May 4th, 2012 @ 6:07 am

    I think a lot of people, including musicians, had Kipling’s attitude:

    When ‘Omer smote ‘is bloomin’ lyre,
    He’d ‘eard men sing by land an’ sea;
    An’ what he thought ‘e might require,
    ‘E went an’ took — the same as me!

    The market-girls an’ fishermen,
    The shepherds an’ the sailors, too,
    They ‘eard old songs turn up again,
    But kep’ it quiet — same as you!

    They knew ‘e stole; ‘e knew they knowed.
    They didn’t tell, nor make a fuss,
    But winked at ‘Omer down the road,
    An’ ‘e winked back — the same as us!

  10. Charles G Hill
    May 4th, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

    Stravinsky, or Max Reger, or one of those highbrow dudes, once asserted: “Good composers borrow; great ones steal.”

    At least Memphis Minnie got paid for “When the Levee Breaks.”

  11. ThePaganTemple
    May 4th, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

     I never cared much for Plant, he always struck me as kind of a dick. Somebody should tell him little gods should be able to write their own songs.

  12. ThePaganTemple
    May 4th, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

    By the way, speaking of old blues hits that went mainstream-

  13. Bob Belvedere
    May 4th, 2012 @ 7:09 pm

    Let us not forget Billy Shakes.