When it was revealed yesterday that Led Zeppelin was being sued by the band Spirit for stealing the famous intro to "Stairway to Heaven" from its song "Taurus," it came as no real surprise to anyone familiar with the history of Led Zeppelin, who has been accused of plagiarism many times before. Here are seven examples of songs that Led Zeppelin ripped off from other artists.
1. "Dazed & Confused" (1969)
Though Led Zeppelin often based its music around songs by American bluesmen, the band's first great song "Dazed & Confused" was actually taken from Jake Holmes, an American folk singer that Jimmy Page's previous band the Yardbirds played with in 1967. Page originally adapted the song for the Yardbirds, altering the melody and the lyrics, but eventually recorded a version for Led Zeppelin's first album, without crediting Holmes at all. Holmes finally sued Page for copyright infringement in 2010.
2. "How Many More Times" (1969)
My favorite song on Led Zeppelin's first album is the closer "How Many More Times," an eight-and-a-half-minute psychedelic blues jam with one of Zeppelin's best riffs, originally credited to Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham. However, since 1993, the song has included a credit for Chester Burnett a.k.a. Howlin' Wolf, whose song "How Many More Years" was allegedly the song's inspiration. Listening to both songs side-by-side, I honestly can't hear any similarities, other than the lyrical themes.
3. "Whole Lotta Love" (1969)
Written by Willie Dixon and originally performed by Muddy Waters, "You Need Love" was actually stolen by two bands. The Small Faces recorded a song called "You Need Loving" in 1966 without giving credit to Dixon, while Led Zeppelin recorded the classic "Whole Lotta Love" in 1969, which takes some lyrics from Dixon's song. Led Zeppelin would be sued over the song in 1985, though the Small Faces never faced any legal action.
4. "The Lemon Song" (1969)
Another song that Led Zeppelin allegedly took from Howlin' Wolf was Led Zeppelin II's "The Lemon Song." Though I didn't see the similarities between "How Many More Years" and "How Many More Times," "The Lemon Song" does sound a whole lot like Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor," with a similar riff and lyrics. The song's titular "lemon" is also taken from another old blues song: Robert Johnson's "Travelling Riverside Blues."
5. "Bring It On Home" (1969)
Led Zeppelin II's closing track "Bring It On Home" is divided into two distinct sections. The extended intro, which comes back around at the end, is a tribute to "Bring It On Home" by Sonny Boy Williamson, written by Willie Dixon, while the song's rocking middle section was written by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. However, the entire song was credited to Page and Plant, but was corrected in 1972 to include Dixon.
6. "Since I've Been Loving You" (1970)
One of Jimmy Page's greatest performances comes from Led Zeppelin III with the blues ballad "Since I've Been Loving You," credited to Page, Robert Plant, and John Paul Jones. However, the song's mellow atmosphere is very reminiscent of Moby Grape's "Never," and even "shares" some lyrics with that song as well.
7. "In My Time of Dying" (1975)
One instance of blatant plagiarism that the members of Led Zeppelin were never sued over was Physical Graffiti's epic "In My Time of Dying." The song was credited to all four members of the band, despite the fact that it's a well-known traditional gospel song that has been covered by many people, including Bob Dylan. Because it's traditional, no one is able to claim ownership and sue Led Zeppelin over its supposed authorship.
What other songs did Led Zeppelin steal? Let us know in the comments section!