Led Zeppelin vs. The World

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Led Zeppelin vs. The World

“If the lyric hadn’t been stolen, the music would have been lesser for it… It was decided that it was so far away in time and influence that… well, you only get caught when you’re successful. That’s the game.”

-Robert Plant

 

Editor’s Note:

This has been a hot topic for many years and Ben did an awesome job writing this up. I added some notes and the best images I could find on Google 😛

Got anything to add to this list? Add it in the comments below!


Led Zeppelin is certainly no stranger to this site, which to a degree is inevitable with any highly mimicked, vastly popular band. However, most of their coverage thus far has revolved around what others have taken from the group, despite the likelihood that they themselves are one of the most infringing acts in the history of rock. A few glowing moments and an admirable knack for myth-making aside, Jimmy Page & co. borrowed far and wide for both riffs and whole songs, indebting Led Zeppelin not only to their contemporaries but even more substantially to specific old blues tunes — and yet it often went officially unacknowledged by them. Indeed, a cursory glance through old Zeppelin vinyl reveals that even tracks which were later assigned proper songwriting credits in the CD era — after the band was repeatedly taken to task — were initially devoid of any mention of their origins. Hand it to Led Zeppelin: at least they had good taste, borrowing from some of the day’s finest acts past and present.

What follows are samples of tunes that were originally notated as being solely written by the band — delusions since debunked.

Jimmy Page's "zoso" Saturn sigil

Start by considering the back-to-back examples offered in “Your Time Is Gonna Come/Black Mountain Side”, a one-two punch of plagiarism found on their 1969 debut.

The first is pretty straightforward:

Traffic - "Dear Mr. Fantasy" (1967)
Led Zeppelin - "Your Time Is Gonna Come" (1969)
Robert Plant and Steve Winwood on ThatSongSoundsLike.com

Robert Plant and Steve Winwood (Traffic)

 

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Led Zeppelin Going to Court for Stairway

I’ve been covering this “Stairway to Heaven” vs. “Taurus” thing since 2013. Apparently it’s finally really going to court and the boys of Led Zeppelin will have to defend themselves.

A United States district judge, Gary R. Klausner, wrote in the decision Friday that while the chromatic four-chord backbone shared by the songs was “a common convention that abounds in the music industry, the similarities here transcend this core structure.”

A trustee for Spirit’s guitarist, Randy Wolfe, brought the suit against the surviving members of Led Zeppelin in 2014. Mr. Wolfe died in 1997.

The trial, scheduled for May 10, would be the second high-profile jury trial to determine the similarity between two songs in two years, a trend industry experts say may open the gates to more suits. –Did Led Zeppelin Steal ‘Stairway to Heaven’? A Jury Will Decide – New York Times

And here’s the music. I’m still not sure why Dolly Parton is not included in this mess but have a listen anyway:

Spirit - "Taurus" (1968)
Led Zeppelin - "Stairway to Heaven" (1971)
Dolly Parton - "We Used To" (1975)

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE! This is not the only song Led Zeppelin has been accused of ripping off. And on the other side of things, Many artists have borrowed from Zeppeling.

Led Zeppelin vs. The World

Led Zeppelin vs. Chicago vs. Green Day vs. The White Stripes

Coheed and Cambria vs. Led Zeppelin

Devo vs. Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin vs. Rage Against the Machine

Public Image Ltd (PiL) vs. The Stills

Public Image Limited vs. The Stills

If there is a song on this site that screams homage than this MUST be it. I was listening to a satellite radio station the other day and PiL‘s 1983 track “This is Not a Love Song” came on and I immediately thought of  “Still in Love Song” by The Stills. If this was was not intentional then I would love to have a chat with The Stills about this one.

The Stills - "Still in Love Song" (2003)
PiL - "This is Not a Love Song" (1983)

The Offspring vs. Linkin Park vs. Tears For Fears

Linkin Park New Divide vs. The Offspring

Submitted by Travis.

Given the history of The Offspring on this site Travis and I were both a little surprised to see a band sounding LIKE The Offspring rather than the other way around. Check out the main riff on Linkin Park’s 2009 “New Divide” and The Offspring’s 1997 “Gone Away”. After listening to the both of these I also certainly hear Tears for Fears “Mad World” especially in “New Divide”. Maybe that’s what the guy on the turntable in the band is actually playing :)

Linkin Park - "New Divide" (2009)
The Offspring - "Gone Away" (1997)
Tears for Fears - "Mad World" (1982)

And overall “New Divide” and “Gone Away” have very similar verse instrumentation.

Linkin Park - "New Divide" (2009)
The Offspring - "Gone Away" (1997)

SEE ALSO

Muse vs. The Offspring

Muse vs. The Offspring (Again)

Belle & Sebastian vs. The Offspring