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mysticman560

Led Zeppelin - Plagarists Or Innovators? Article

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People only go after Zep for borrowing creatively because they were the most successful, so everyone wants to play "giant killer". What's the least altered cover they did? Dazed? Maybe the Lemon Song which was just a slowed down Killing Floor? And it wasn't even that successful. 

Even songs that just borrowed lyrics, like You Shook Me, Whole Lotta Love, In My Time Of Dying, and Nobody's Fault But Mine were altered enough to sound original.

So really, the majority of their most successful tracks were original-  GTBT, Heartbreaker, Ramble On, Immigrant Song, Black Dog, Misty Mountain Hop, Going To California, The Rain Song, OTHAFA, Dancing Days, No Quarter, The Ocean, Kashmir, Trampled Underfoot, Achilles, All My Love, Fool In The Rain. You can call a spade a spade, but at the end of the day no amount of plagiarism accusations can take away the chemistry and personality the band had and gave their music. At some point, game has to recognize game.

And yes I personally believe Page stole the hell outta that Taurus riff, but he changed it enough to make it his own creatively.

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35 minutes ago, gibsonfan159 said:

 

And yes I personally believe Page stole the hell outta that Taurus riff, but he changed it enough to make it his own creatively.

Of course, Page stole it from Taurus who stole it from Davey Graham who stole it from Bach etc. etc. ad nauseam. 

You cannot steal a chord progression, especially one which has been used as the foundation for dozens of songs over three hundred years. Taurus created and owned that progression about as much as I created and owned the progression George Harrison used on Within You, Without You.

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if the alleged start material is on a different popularity level to the alleged end material then how can it be the same?

Taurus does not equal Stairway. If it did then surely Taurus would have been just as successful.

As for the blues.... We are standing on the shoulders of giants, genius does not occur in a vacuum. Einstein couldn’t have come up with relativity without Newton and No Newton without gallileo or however you spell his name. 

 

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6 hours ago, mysticman560 said:

Here's an interesting perspective on the subject:

http://theconversation.com/plagiarists-or-innovators-the-led-zeppelin-paradox-endures-102368

What are your thoughts?

At first I thought the article was heading down the same, tired path, especially with the Anne Bredon mention. But then the writer redeems himself with his conclusion.

This is, as chef free alludes, beating a dead horse, and one can tell immediately if the writer is honest or just a knee-jerk hater by how they approach "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You".

"Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You" was a song on Joan Baez' first album. That is the version that inspired Jimmy and Robert to cover it on the first Zeppelin album. On the Joan Baez album, the song is credited as "Traditional" . Hence, it was credited on the Zeppelin album as "Traditional, arranged by Jimmy Page". Nobody knew Anne Bredon existed at this point or that she had written the song. Joan Baez certainly didn't or she would have credited Anne on her album. Led Zeppelin based their credits on Joan Baez credits of the song. 

It was not until decades later that one of Anne Bredon's friends or family brought up Zep's "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You" to her attention. So of course the haters immediately scream "Led Zeppelin STEAL!" But what about Joan Baez? Why does she get a pass? Jimmy and Robert were going by the credits on the Joan Baez album. It was an innocent mistake turned into more fodder to falsely feed the 'Led Zeppelin are plagiarists' cottage industry.

It is instructive that it was Led Zeppelin's version that Anne's friends told her about, not the earlier Joan Baez version. Which suggests that if Led Zeppelin did not exist, people like Anne Bredon and Jake Holmes would be languishing in even more obscurity than usual. Apparently nobody in Anne Bredon's circle listens to Joan Baez. Which is kind of shocking since both travelled in that very twee, folkie scene of the 1960s.

Are we even 100% certain that Anne Bredon came up with "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You" on her own and that it wasn't borrowed or a pastiche of some earlier, older blues or folk songs? People scream about Led Zeppelin stealing "Gallows Pole" from Leadbelly but not about how Leadbelly stole it from an olde English troubadour.

When it comes to Led Zeppelin's first album, I'll agree that they should have credited Jake Holmes for "Dazed and Confused", and maybe a nod to Davey Graham and Bert Jansch for "Black Mountain Side". They did credit Willie Dixon for "You Shook Me" and "I Can't Quit You" and " Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You" was an honest mistake that was corrected when it was brought to their attention many decades later.

All other claims are just people grasping at straws. You know, the one's claiming "Your Time Is Gonna Come" is from Traffic and "Communication Breakdown" nicked from Eddie Cochran. Rubbish. 

On Led Zeppelin II, it is really only "The Lemon Song" and the lyrics of "Whole Lotta Love" that got them in trouble for plagiarism. I'll admit the band should have been more forthright in crediting those songs. Especially when Robert Plant claimed during every 1969 concert that the song was "Killing Floor". I mean, the audio proof is on every bootleg...you aren't fooling anyone. That was pretty stupid on the band's (and their lawyers) part. It would have saved the band a lot of money and ill will from critics if they had just credited Chester Burnett and Muddy Waters from the beginning.

BUT THAT IS IT!!!!

All other plagiarism claims are bogus and people just hating on Led Zeppelin.

Led Zeppelin III? Not one valid claim. I have already explained about "Gallows Pole". "Tangerine"? Jimmy brought that from his Yardbirds days and was within his right to do so, as the Yardbirds were a defunct band at that time. "SIBLY" ? One line comes from Moby Grape...it is similar to claiming "Stairway to Heaven" came from "Taurus".

Led Zeppelin IV? "Stairway" has just been proven in court beyond a shadow of a doubt. So we can finally put that canard to rest. The only other song on this album that people cite when saying Led Zeppelin are thieves is "When the Levee Breaks" . Which only proves that these people cannot READ and are STUPID! Led Zeppelin IV has always included Memphis Minnie in the "When the Levee Breaks" credits. ALWAYS! I remember buying the album upon its first day of release and poring over the album sleeve and wondering who Memphis Minnie was. So if anyone brings up "When the Levee Breaks" as an example of Led Zeppelin's plagiarism you have my permission to BREAK their head.

 "Houses of the Holy"? Nada. Not one instance of plagiarism. "Rain Song"? Please...You can't be serious. George Harrison should be honoured.

"Physical Graffiti"? Again...nada. "Boogie With Stu" has always included Mrs. Valens in the credits, so that takes care of that. The people nattering about "Trampled Under Foot" being a rip off of the Doobie Brothers or "Custard Pie" are fools that are just reaching for anything to slur Led Zeppelin. 

 "Presence"? "Nobody's Fault But Mine" is the only trouble spot...mainly for the lyrics. Sonically it's all Led Zeppelin.

"In Through the Out Door"? All Zep. Not one hint of plagiarism.

Now, go through the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan catalogue and you will find just as much, if not a higher rate, of plagiarism.

As I have laid out for all of you fans, the "Led Zeppelin are thieves" is a bogus meme/theme and an overblown charge mainly used as click-bait and to garner attention for the writer. The next time you are accosted by these hotheads, you can use my post to refute them and shut them up

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11 minutes ago, Strider said:

At first I thought the article was heading down the same, tired path, especially with the Anne Bredon mention. But then the writer redeems himself with his conclusion.

This is, as chef free alludes, beating a dead horse, and one can tell immediately if the writer is honest or just a knee-jerk hater by how they approach "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You".

"Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You" was a song on Joan Baez' first album. That is the version that inspired Jimmy and Robert to cover it on the first Zeppelin album. On the Joan Baez album, the song is credited as "Traditional" . Hence, it was credited on the Zeppelin album as "Traditional, arranged by Jimmy Page". Nobody knew Anne Bredon existed at this point or that she had written the song. Joan Baez certainly didn't or she would have credited Anne on her album. Led Zeppelin based their credits on Joan Baez credits of the song. 

It was not until decades later that one of Anne Bredon's friends or family brought up Zep's "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You" to her attention. So of course the haters immediately scream "Led Zeppelin STEAL!" But what about Joan Baez? Why does she get a pass? Jimmy and Robert were going by the credits on the Joan Baez album. It was an innocent mistake turned into more fodder to falsely feed the 'Led Zeppelin are plagiarists' cottage industry.

It is instructive that it was Led Zeppelin's version that Anne's friends told her about, not the earlier Joan Baez version. Which suggests that if Led Zeppelin did not exist, people like Anne Bredon and Jake Holmes would be languishing in even more obscurity than usual. Apparently nobody in Anne Bredon's circle listens to Joan Baez. Which is kind of shocking since both travelled in that very twee, folkie scene of the 1960s.

Are we even 100% certain that Anne Bredon came up with "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You" on her own and that it wasn't borrowed or a pastiche of some earlier, older blues or folk songs? People scream about Led Zeppelin stealing "Gallows Pole" from Leadbelly but not about how Leadbelly stole it from an olde English troubadour.

When it comes to Led Zeppelin's first album, I'll agree that they should have credited Jake Holmes for "Dazed and Confused", and maybe a nod to Davey Graham and Bert Jansch for "Black Mountain Side". They did credit Willie Dixon for "You Shook Me" and "I Can't Quit You" and " Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You" was an honest mistake that was corrected when it was brought to their attention many decades later.

All other claims are just people grasping at straws. You know, the one's claiming "Your Time Is Gonna Come" is from Traffic and "Communication Breakdown" nicked from Eddie Cochran. Rubbish. 

On Led Zeppelin II, it is really only "The Lemon Song" and the lyrics of "Whole Lotta Love" that got them in trouble for plagiarism. I'll admit the band should have been more forthright in crediting those songs. Especially when Robert Plant claimed during every 1969 concert that the song was "Killing Floor". I mean, the audio proof is on every bootleg...you aren't fooling anyone. That was pretty stupid on the band's (and their lawyers) part. It would have saved the band a lot of money and ill will from critics if they had just credited Chester Burnett and Muddy Waters from the beginning.

BUT THAT IS IT!!!!

All other plagiarism claims are bogus and people just hating on Led Zeppelin.

Led Zeppelin III? Not one valid claim. I have already explained about "Gallows Pole". "Tangerine"? Jimmy brought that from his Yardbirds days and was within his right to do so, as the Yardbirds were a defunct band at that time. "SIBLY" ? One line comes from Moby Grape...it is similar to claiming "Stairway to Heaven" came from "Taurus".

Led Zeppelin IV? "Stairway" has just been proven in court beyond a shadow of a doubt. So we can finally put that canard to rest. The only other song on this album that people cite when saying Led Zeppelin are thieves is "When the Levee Breaks" . Which only proves that these people cannot READ and are STUPID! Led Zeppelin IV has always included Memphis Minnie in the "When the Levee Breaks" credits. ALWAYS! I remember buying the album upon its first day of release and poring over the album sleeve and wondering who Memphis Minnie was. So if anyone brings up "When the Levee Breaks" as an example of Led Zeppelin's plagiarism you have my permission to BREAK their head.

 "Houses of the Holy"? Nada. Not one instance of plagiarism. "Rain Song"? Please...You can't be serious. George Harrison should be honoured.

"Physical Graffiti"? Again...nada. "Boogie With Stu" has always included Mrs. Valens in the credits, so that takes care of that. The people nattering about "Trampled Under Foot" being a rip off of the Doobie Brothers or "Custard Pie" are fools that are just reaching for anything to slur Led Zeppelin. 

 "Presence"? "Nobody's Fault But Mine" is the only trouble spot...mainly for the lyrics. Sonically it's all Led Zeppelin.

"In Through the Out Door"? All Zep. Not one hint of plagiarism.

Now, go through the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan catalogue and you will find just as much, if not a higher rate, of plagiarism.

As I have laid out for all of you fans, the "Led Zeppelin are thieves" is a bogus meme/theme and an overblown charge mainly used as click-bait and to garner attention for the writer. The next time you are accosted by these hotheads, you can use my post to refute them and shut them up

Dude  when you said “I didn’t know who Memphis Minnie was” 

I didn’t know Bukka, Lead Belly, Model T. Etc

Zeppelin put me on to those ,

Clapton put me on to Johnson.

The stones onto others .

It’s like they were showing a glimpse of history and the entirety new direction at the same time. Which i think is pretty smart.

if not for these bands and others the old blues guys would have likely been long forgotten.

In fact in most of the interview they give they name drop these old blues artists. 

 

 

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I have to read the article and then come back and see if I have a different opinion, but to me, they weren't plagiarizing. Their "crime" if you will was not crediting properly. Everyone did it, there is nearly no "original" music..it all feeds off each other

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5 hours ago, IpMan said:

Of course, Page stole it from Taurus who stole it from Davey Graham who stole it from Bach etc. etc. ad nauseam. 

You cannot steal a chord progression, especially one which has been used as the foundation for dozens of songs over three hundred years. Taurus created and owned that progression about as much as I created and owned the progression George Harrison used on Within You, Without You.

You, like so many others, are missing the point. I don't care WHO played WHAT first, I personally believe (without evidence, as no one actually knows) that Page got inspired directly by the Taurus riff and reworked it. Not by Davey Graham or Bach, but by the Taurus riff. That's my assumption. It has nothing to do with the history of music theory or applied musical structuring.

Edit: It's amazing how this opinion triggers so many defensive responses. I even said Page restructured the riff and made it his own, so there's no legal account of plagiarism. I just believe he did what he's done many times- He took a riff he heard and made it his own.

Edited by gibsonfan159

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1 hour ago, mysticman560 said:

Just for fun, the Saxophone riff on James Brown "Think" certainly sounds like it was re-purposed for a certain tune on Led Zeppelin II. Can anyone guess what tune that is?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bqK7meoDCs

Bring It On Home.

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1 hour ago, gibsonfan159 said:

You, like so many others, are missing the point. I don't care WHO played WHAT first, I personally believe (without evidence, as no one actually knows) that Page got inspired directly by the Taurus riff and reworked it. Not by Davey Graham or Bach, but by the Taurus riff. That's my assumption. It has nothing to do with the history of music theory or applied musical structuring.

Edit: It's amazing how this opinion triggers so many defensive responses. I even said Page restructured the riff and made it his own, so there's no legal account of plagiarism. I just believe he did what he's done many times- He took a riff he heard and made it his own.

Agreed, the point is that "Taurus" by Spirit was Page's point of musical reference - not Davey Graham or Bach. Just as in my other post referring to "Think" by Jame Brown, the Saxophone riff was obviously restructured by Page to become the guitar riff for "Bring It On Home", which is (as you stated) another example of what he's done many times, take another musician's riff (or motif) and make it his own to varying degrees. So the question is, is it innovation or something else?

What do people think?

Edited by mysticman560

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2 hours ago, mysticman560 said:

Agreed, the point is that "Taurus" by Spirit was Page's point of musical reference - not Davey Graham or Bach. Just as in my other post referring to "Think" by Jame Brown, the Saxophone riff was obviously restructured by Page to become the guitar riff for "Bring It On Home", which is (as you stated) another example of what he's done many times, take another musician's riff (or motif) and make it his own to varying degrees. So the question is, is it innovation or something else?

What do people think?

I know what I think and that is I am not psychic so I have no clue if Page was inspired by Taurus, Davey Graham, Bach, or some busker on a Chelsea street corner for the progression on STH.

Do we really have to go down this ridiculous road again? Thinking is not knowing and thus means nothing. I think Trump's mannerisms were inspired by Benito Mussolini, however I do not know if that is true or just coincidence and thus my opinion is meritless and means nothing.

Time to move on

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The STH/Taurus suit was obviously rubbish and rightly settled in Zep's favor.  It can't be denied, however, that in statements leading up to the trial, Page and Plant both gave frankly evasive statements about their familiarity with Spirit's music.  

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2 hours ago, mysticman560 said:

Agreed, the point is that "Taurus" by Spirit was Page's point of musical reference - not Davey Graham or Bach. Just as in my other post referring to "Think" by Jame Brown, the Saxophone riff was obviously restructured by Page to become the guitar riff for "Bring It On Home", which is (as you stated) another example of what he's done many times, take another musician's riff (or motif) and make it his own to varying degrees. So the question is, is it innovation or something else?

What do people think?

Innovation, without a doubt.  Whether or not Page was influenced in any way by Taurus (say), he obviously did something with the same basic pattern that had been around decades, if not centuries, and made it something completely unique.  There's only a few possible combinations of chords/notes that sound pleasing to the human ear, so the question is not whether two musicians can come up with something similar, but rather which one really transcends.  Compare Taurus and STH, you don't have to be a Zep fanboy to recognize which one is by far the superior song.

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9 minutes ago, JohnOsbourne said:

Innovation, without a doubt.  Whether or not Page was influenced in any way by Taurus (say), he obviously did something with the same basic pattern that had been around decades, if not centuries, and made it something completely unique.  There's only a few possible combinations of chords/notes that sound pleasing to the human ear, so the question is not whether two musicians can come up with something similar, but rather which one really transcends.  Compare Taurus and STH, you don't have to be a Zep fanboy to recognize which one is by far the superior song.

Thank you. My question is related to the notion of re-purposing or refashioning the music of others, and is it innovation or something else? And what do people think?

I'm not interested in opening the proverbial "can of worms" over the Taurus/STH debate. But I'll say this, it's also not about which is the better song, because that is a subjective thing. But in my case, I'm a long-time fan of the band, Spirit, and I enjoy their music as much as I enjoy Zeppelin and the Yardbirds.

Edited by mysticman560

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8 minutes ago, JohnOsbourne said:

Innovation, without a doubt.  Whether or not Page was influenced in any way by Taurus (say), he obviously did something with the same basic pattern that had been around decades, if not centuries, and made it something completely unique.  There's only a few possible combinations of chords/notes that sound pleasing to the human ear, so the question is not whether two musicians can come up with something similar, but rather which one really transcends.  Compare Taurus and STH, you don't have to be a Zep fanboy to recognize which one is by far the superior song.

TBH until it was pointed out to me I did not recognize any similarities between the two because I fell asleep at the 0:30 mark in Taurus and the short progression does not begin until 0:45 so, there is that.

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13 hours ago, Strider said:

It was not until decades later that one of Anne Bredon's friends or family brought up Zep's "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You" to her attention. So of course the haters immediately scream "Led Zeppelin STEAL!" But what about Joan Baez? Why does she get a pass? Jimmy and Robert were going by the credits on the Joan Baez album. It was an innocent mistake turned into more fodder to falsely feed the 'Led Zeppelin are plagiarists' cottage industry.

 

Now, go through the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan catalogue and you will find just as much, if not a higher rate, of plagiarism.

 

The Baez point reminds me of the inconsistency in people saying Whole Lotta Love is "stolen" "other bands credited Zep didn't" etc etc. Has it escaped these people's attention that The Small Faces didn't credit when they nicked it off Muddy Waters? Or e.g. the "Jeffrey Rod" credits on the Jeff Beck Group Truth album, which are rewrites of old blues songs, uncredited....other bands get a pass, Zeppelin don't. Another sign of Zeppelin being unfashonable among the "cognoscenti".

Re; the bolded part it's astounding how few people pick up on Dylan's nicks. "...constant sorrow", the Dave van Ronk nick, there's plenty of examples yet it never gets mentioned. Mainly cos there are so many Dylan fanbois in the media.

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2 hours ago, 76229 said:

The Baez point reminds me of the inconsistency in people saying Whole Lotta Love is "stolen" "other bands credited Zep didn't" etc etc. Has it escaped these people's attention that The Small Faces didn't credit when they nicked it off Muddy Waters? Or e.g. the "Jeffrey Rod" credits on the Jeff Beck Group Truth album, which are rewrites of old blues songs, uncredited....other bands get a pass, Zeppelin don't. Another sign of Zeppelin being unfashonable among the "cognoscenti".

Re; the bolded part it's astounding how few people pick up on Dylan's nicks. "...constant sorrow", the Dave van Ronk nick, there's plenty of examples yet it never gets mentioned. Mainly cos there are so many Dylan fanbois in the media.

Yeah, the "Whole Lotta Love" thing is another one that gets my goat. The Small Faces credited "You Need Loving" to themselves when they recorded it three years before Led Zeppelin. But did Muddy Waters or Willie Dixon's people sue them? Nope.

It just shows it was a money grab and nothing to do with musical integrity or artistic purity. And I guarantee the money Led Zeppelin paid went more to lawyers and corporate suits like Allen Klein than to any of the old bluesmen.

Led Zeppelin's fame, media antipathy and deep pockets made them a juicy target. Otherwise, why not sue Joan Baez and the Small Faces and Bob Dylan, whose record sales were paltry in relation to his fame.

Again, let's use "Whole Lotta Love" as an example. What are the distinguishing characteristics of this song that made it memorable to people?

1. The opening riff.

2. The vocal hook of the chorus "Wanna whole lotta love".

3. The backwards slide echo that accompanies the chorus.

4. The overall sonic architecture of the song...the orgasmic freakout followed by that incendiary solo.

NONE of those characteristics are part of the original song...either Muddy Waters or the Small Faces cover. In other words, everything that makes "Whole Lotta Love" memorable is Led Zeppelin's own contribution.

 

Edited by Strider

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I still don't get the the reason why Zep lost to Jake Holmes for D&C. Except for the line "I've been dazed and confused..." the two songs could not be more different. Even if you played the Zep version of D&C as a folk arrangement it would still not sound like Holmes version so, I am dazed and confused regarding the lawsuit.

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35 minutes ago, IpMan said:

I still don't get the the reason why Zep lost to Jake Holmes for D&C. Except for the line "I've been dazed and confused..." the two songs could not be more different. Even if you played the Zep version of D&C as a folk arrangement it would still not sound like Holmes version so, I am dazed and confused regarding the lawsuit.

True, but then without Holmes song there wouldnt have been anything to be "inspired by". That way of crediting sounds about right imo, and I'm surprised more bands haven't offered it in to the plaintiff in legal cases where there's clearly a similar vibe, but not an outright nick. But then the law of musical copyright is in a mess right now E.g. the  Marvin Gaye / Blurred Lines judgment.

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19 hours ago, Strider said:

"Presence"? "Nobody's Fault But Mine" is the only trouble spot...mainly for the lyrics. Sonically it's all Led Zeppelin.

How do you think it should have been credited? 

"Trad. arr/adap. by Page and Plant" ?

I was also curious about your opinion on IMTOD. I think when Page recorded it with the Black Crowes (correct me if I'm wrong) it got credited as "Trad. arr/adap. by Bonham, Jones, Page and Plant".

Great post by the way. The Led Zeppelin 'stole' "everything they played" canard is absurd. Watch a Led Zeppelin video on Youtube and the comments are full of ridiculous accusations. 

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7 hours ago, 76229 said:

True, but then without Holmes song there wouldnt have been anything to be "inspired by". That way of crediting sounds about right imo, and I'm surprised more bands haven't offered it in to the plaintiff in legal cases where there's clearly a similar vibe, but not an outright nick. But then the law of musical copyright is in a mess right now E.g. the  Marvin Gaye / Blurred Lines judgment.

I believe that is a bit of a broad interpretation to say the least. After all, does that mean if someone hears The Rain Song and writes a tune in poetic stanza where each stanza represents a different season, they should credit Page & Plant? I would not think so.

As posted above, the songs which either "inspired" the band or where parts of a song were lifted such as WLL, no one gave a single shit about the originals because they were mediocre tunes at best. One can hear the potential in Willie Dixon's You Need Love but that song was pretty much crap compared to Howlin Wolf's Smokestack Lightning or Spoonful, or numerous other much better blues compositions. I was never much of a Dixon fan as IMO he tried to somewhat commercialize the blues so his tunes (many of which he appropriated from unknown artists BTW) were a bit too watered down for my taste. Give me the Wolf, Mamie Smith, or Little Walter any day over Dixon.

Anyway, if I wrote some song that went nowhere and some group picked it up, turned it completely inside out and upside down, reinvented it and it became a super smash hit I would not seek any credit because I am not a dick and I would understand that if my song was good it would have become popular.

It's one thing to nick a song keeping most of the arrangement in place and release it as you own compared to hearing a song, completely re-arranging it and changing it so it is completely different. One is plagiarism, the other is creative license. Then again what do I know, I write bad poetry, have been playing guitar for 35 years, and no one gives a single shit. Sometimes it's just timing, talent, and plain luck. As I have bad timing and middling talent, I am shit outta luck.

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