Led Zep Lawsuits 101 [VIDEOS]
Ah springtime. The snow is finally melted, the birds are chirping, flowers blooming and my baby done left me. It's time again for another lawsuit against Led Zeppelin. Over the years, Zep has been accused of borrowing heavily from old blues tunes and not giving credit where credit is due. Just last week, it was reported that a founding member of the band Spirit is suing the band over the opening riff of 'Stairway to Heaven.' Led Zeppelin's first U.S. show was opening for Spirit in 1968.
Led Zeppelin 'Stairway to Heaven':
Blues great Willie Dixon famously sued Zeppelin over basically their whole second album. 'Whole Lotta Love' was a reworking of Willie's 'You Need Love.':
They didn't even try to conceal the album closer 'Bring It On Home.'
Years earlier, Dixon wrote it and Sonny Boy Williamson II performed it:
Willie now receives credit as songwriter on 'Whole Lotta Love' and 'Bring It On Home.' Another blues legend also settled with the band over a song on Led Zeppelin II. Howlin' Wolf (Chester Burnett) gets a songwriting credit for 'The Lemon Song.' That song borrowed heavily from the Wolf's 'Killing Floor.'
Robert Plant and Jimmy Page have both stressed that they were just following the time-honored blues tradition of interpreting past songwriters. Even the 'King of the Delta' bluesman Robert Johnson borrowed from earlier works and made them his own. However, Led Zeppelin has had to pay out in many of these cases. Here's one more, with a twist. When Jimmy Page was in the Yardbirds, they performed a song titled, 'Dazed and Confused.' Jimmy first heard that song when the Yardbirds played in the U.S. in 1967. Folk singer Jake Holmes opened for the group and performed the self-penned 'Dazed and Confused.' After that Page reworked the lyrics and the Yardbirds played the song as part of their live acts, and famously turned it into a thirty-minute psychedelic concert centerpiece. Holmes sued and on Zeppelin's 2007 'Celebration Day' reunion set, the song was credited as written by Jimmy Page with inspiration by Jake Holmes.