“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.”
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 😛
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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.
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: