SMG Legends: Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Page

Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Page

What can be written about Jimmy Page that has not already been written a million times? Maybe how Zeppelin “stole” many of their famous songs, and even that is widely known with their fans. Often it has been implied that Led Zeppelin were nothing more then a cover band, but that wouldn’t be fair. Jimmy Page played his guitar in a fashion that took his music to a new place. It was harder and the sound was unique and fresh.

Blues music from the beginning has been handed down with each artist adding his own touch and style to the tune.   This handed down style of art has been going on for 100’s of years, and is nothing new and is not unique to blues music.  The famous novel, Beowulf, was written in much that way, being a story that was passed down from generation to generation and improved on with each.   Arguably, the most important song in the United States, The Star-Spangled Banner, was adapted from music written in the mid-1760s as a British drinking song.

Here are a few examples of where Led Zeppelin borrowed, stole, or were inspired by others’ music, (the reader can decide the crime if any).

  • Dazed & Confused is a cover of the Jake Holmes song.  It is the most blatant rip-off or a song Jimmy Page ever attempted. The tune is the same except for Jimmy Page’s crazy guitar solo.  Jimmy Page before Led Zeppelin with the Yardbirds also preformed this tune.
  • Stairway To Heaven was strongly influenced by the song, Taurus, by Spirit.
  • Since I’ve Been Lovin You was influenced by Moby Grape’s song Never.
  • Whole Lotta Love was very similar to a song by Willie Dixon, You Need Love.

The Lemon Song was a Howlin’ Wolf song “Killing Floor.”  Parts were also from, Travelling Riverside Blues by Robert Johnson, who also lifted lyrics from other songs. There are many others.  Some subtle and some blatant

This list could go on, but the point is that in all the examples, Led Zeppelin has improved the songs they stole, and much of the credit goes to Jimmy Page.  He added his unique heavy guitar sound and turned uninspired and unnoticed songs into the classic masterpieces that they became. Jimmy Page proved that he could take music without sounding like a cover band and turn it into something new, something that had never been heard before.  The people who own the rights to the songs and the courts can work out the rest.  Meanwhile enjoy the music.

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  • Zeppelin and The Stones were both heavily influenced by the blues and the artists that you listed, but The Stones and Zep sound absolutely nothing alike. The Stones covered those songs, Zep created something very new and different out of them. That alone I think is a rebuttal to anyone who says Zep stole that music.

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