Led Zep Vs Spirit issue

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Bear in mind that we are all speaking with the benefit of hearing 40 + years of music since that time. What we perceive as common today was not as common back then.

Though it's a common chord progression, the first bars of STH sound to me to not only be the same chords, but very similar in execution. That Zep and Spirit toured together makes it all more likely. Having said that, the STH intro now has achieved either iconic or faceplam status, depending on how often you've heard the tune. Obviously Zep applied a great deal of creativity to that snippet at the start but, calling a spade a spade, it's almost certainly "borrowed".

To my ear it's much more obvious than either My Sweet Lord vs She's So Fine or, especially, the ugly case about the Land Downunder flute line using the nursury rhyme, Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree (that suit was triggered by a change of publishers to Larrikin, who were hungry and ruthless and the case basically ruined a fine musician's life).

Yes, it's old news. Yes, everyone borrows everything. Not judging, just calling it for what it was, in the same way as we are calling the court case as a cash grab.

I have blatantly stolen things myself in my few attempts at writing, partially inspired by Jimmy Page because it worked so well for him (even in the 70s we all knew about his bowerbird ways - and we thought it was clever).

Take my shameless 80s ripoff of Botthiststatva https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkJey6pyb54. (you need only suffer through it for a few seconds to get my point). What if the song by some miscarriage of justice made lots of money - and suits representing Donald and Walter sent me off to court? I could rationalise and say that II-I progressions are common as muck, but it would be a lie. Nope, I enjoyed drumming along with the record so I wrote a song based on the groove (and the chords lol).

A lot of things happened back then that we frown on today - not just in music, but generally. It's not easy to validly judge the past by today's standards.
 

GeoB

Gold Member
you used he same chord progression 45 years ago whaaaaaaa !!!!!

please
That progression has been around for.... I think I even heard some Beethoven with that run. I have definitely heard rock riffs in Mozart compositions and they weren't turned into neo-classical rock songs either just plain old rock.
 

T.Underhill

Pioneer Member
Let's just hope this case isn't heard by the (less than) Honourable Justice Peter Jacobson in the Aussie Federal Court. He seems to have a habit of bad judgement calls when it comes to copy write infringement. Just ask Men At Work who were taken to court, to subsequently lose, what many though was a frivolous claim with little standing. Yet......

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_Under_(song)


Edited section from Wiki:

Copyright lawsuit[edit]

Sections of the flute part of the recording of the song were found to be based on the children's song "Kookaburra", written in 1932 by Marion Sinclair. Sinclair died in 1988[3] and the rights to the Kookaburra song were deemed to have been transferred to publisher Larrikin Music on 21 March 1990.[21] In the United States, the rights are administered by Music Sales Corporation in New York City.

In June 2009, 28 years after the release of the recording, Larrikin Music sued Men At Work for copyright infringement, alleging that part of the flute riff of "Down Under" was copied from "Kookaburra". The counsel for the band's record label and publishing company (Sony BMG Music Entertainment and EMI Songs Australia) claimed that, based on the agreement under which the song was written, the copyright was actually held by the Girl Guides Association.[22][23] On 30 July, Justice Peter Jacobson of the Federal Court of Australia made a preliminary ruling that Larrikin did own copyright on the song, but the issue of whether or not Hay and Strykert had plagiarised the riff was set aside to be determined at a later date.[24]

On 4 February 2010, Justice Jacobson ruled that Larrikin's copyright had been infringed because "Down Under" reproduced "a substantial part of Kookaburra".[25]

When asked how much Larrikin would be seeking in damages, Larrikin's lawyer Adam Simpson replied: "anything from what we've claimed, which is between 40 and 60 per cent, and what they suggest, which is considerably less."[26][27][28] In court, Larrikin's principal Norman Lurie gave the opinion that, had the parties negotiated a licence at the outset as willing parties, the royalties would have been between 25 and 50 per cent.[29] On 6 July 2010, Justice Jacobson handed down a decision that Larrikin receive 5% of royalties from 2002.[29][30] In October 2011 the band lost its final court bid when the High Court of Australia refused to hear an appeal.[31]

Since the verdict, Colin Hay has continued to insist that any plagiarism was wholly unintentional. He says that when the song was originally written in 1978, it did not have the musical passage in question, and that it was not until two years later, during a jam rehearsal session, that flautist Greg Ham improvised the riff, perhaps subconsciously recalling "Kookaburra". Hay has also added that Ham and the other members of the band were under the influence of marijuana during that particular rehearsal. Greg Ham was found dead in Melbourne on 19 April 2012. In the months before his death, Ham had been despondent over the verdict, and convinced that "the only thing people will remember me for" would be the plagiarism conviction.


Common sense doesn't always prevail, it would seem.
An interesting take, and from an Aussie too. I personally feel that the flute section has identical melody to that song. At least that case had more merit than others...looking at you Fantasy, Inc. v. Fogerty
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
I agree that it's borrowed. The progression during the Chorus in Baby, I'm Gonna Leave You is also borrowed from Chicago's 25 or 6 to 4. I think Green Day does a lot of borrowing too. Just listen to Brain Stew. It's the same chord progression.

Led Zeppelin took that Taurus progression and made the greatest rock song ever recorded.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
An interesting take, and from an Aussie too. I personally feel that the flute section has identical melody to that song. At least that case had more merit than others...looking at you Fantasy, Inc. v. Fogerty
Yeah, it's an interesting one isn't it? I just felt the fact that it had seemingly gone unnoticed for so long spoke volumes. It was all brought about due to the issue being raised on a popular music trivia show at the time. The fact it took nearly 30 years for someone to even consider the similarities, just tells me that the reference wasn't nearly as blatant or obvious as it was subsequently made out to be.
 

MisterZero

Senior Member
Does anyone know the actual chords being played on both? Aren't they different? The guitar sounds similar, of course, but I think the notes are not the same. Bear in mind, I don't have a clue about guitar chords.

I think the Harrison case was even worse. I couldn't tell at all even with playing both " He's so Fine" and " My sweet Lord' at the same time. Zep's was closer to Spirit's, IMO.

I'm a HUGE Zeppelin fan, so it's tough for me to swallow this, even if it's correct. But all in all, Stairway to Heaven is an absolute great song, and if they " borrowed" the intro part from another, fine. The words and other parts of the song were their own. Still, the greatest band ever.....
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Then this will really flip your lid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyvLsutfI5M :)
Perfect link for the thread. It's easy to imagine Jimmy loving playing the original Dazed and Confused and wanting to do it his own way with his great new band. You can imagine the temptation in his position. Who hasn't loved passages played in old bands and hoped for something reminiscent in a new one?

In those days the bigger "crime" was sounding like everyone else. Writing songs built from inspired passages of non mainstream music still sounded fresh compared with most music around.

While the initial inspiration came from the original artists, what Zep did was pure creative thinking, unfettered by ethics or legal concerns :) They did great things with all those stolen passages.
 

BFrench501

Senior Member
I agree that it's borrowed. The progression during the Chorus in Baby, I'm Gonna Leave You is also borrowed from Chicago's 25 or 6 to 4. I think Green Day does a lot of borrowing too. Just listen to Brain Stew. It's the same chord progression.

Led Zeppelin took that Taurus progression and made the greatest rock song ever recorded.
Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't Babe..... a cover? I thought it was written by a folk artist not by them?
 

MisterZero

Senior Member
Then this will really flip your lid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyvLsutfI5M :)
A few of these are reaches, I think. Communication Breakdown was way different, and I disagree with How many more times. We need to separate plagiarism and influence. Being a Zep fan, I'm going to naturally lean in their favor, I'm trying to be non-biased here, but I think they were influenced on some of these tunes, and expanded on them, making them great. How come none of these other songs that Zep "stole" were even heard of?? Page took snippets here and there, added AMAZING sounding drums, and turned these into masterpieces.
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
Steal an apple,steal a car,you're still a thief.Different degree,granted,but it is what it is.Most of the theft,was from unknown singer/songwriters,so less of a chance of being found out.Most songwriters are guilty of this in some way.Listen to Steve Millers "The Snake" and Joe Walshs "Rocky Mountain Way",which came first.

And as I pointed out before,"The Lemon Song".Page has been sued numerous times,and mostly,rightfully so.

Steve B
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't Babe..... a cover? I thought it was written by a folk artist not by them?
You are indeed correct.​
"Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" is a folk song written by Anne Bredon (then known as Anne Johannsen) in the late 1950s. It was recorded by Joan Baez (credited and becoming widely popular as "traditional") and released on her 1962 album Joan Baez in Concert, Part 1, and also by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, who included it on their 1969 debut album Led Zeppelin.​
... the Chorus in Baby, I'm Gonna Leave You is also borrowed from Chicago's 25 or 6 to 4.
Maybe Anne Bredon should sue Chicago.​
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
You are indeed correct.​
"Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" is a folk song written by Anne Bredon (then known as Anne Johannsen) in the late 1950s. It was recorded by Joan Baez (credited and becoming widely popular as "traditional") and released on her 1962 album Joan Baez in Concert, Part 1, and also by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, who included it on their 1969 debut album Led Zeppelin.​
Maybe Anne Bredon should sue Chicago.​
I was gonna get back to BFrench, but had nothing to add at the time.

All very interesting...

I give you Exibit B:

http://youtu.be/2jqPZ8L-yWo

and Exhibit C:

http://youtu.be/3-vOFPP0WDI
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
(credited and becoming widely popular as "traditional") ...
There's a few tracks labelled "Trad. arranged by Page", like Babe and Gallows Pole. It is hard for today's people to have even the slightest idea just how ignorant we were in the 60s and 70s without internet.

You might like a riff or melody you heard one time on the radio but you never heard it again. No Google or YouTube or forums to help you sleuth down a song if you missed the DJ calling the title. So you figure you might as well use that riff or melody. You ask around and no one seems to have heard of it.

It's easy to forget just how much we were in the dark back then. So, yes, Zep ripped off some stuff but I doubt it was as cynical as it would seem now. They probably didn't want to restrict their creative flow with the kind of concerns suits worried about. Hard rock was about as accepted then as metal is today and you didn't get into it because you admired what was touted as "a model citizen".

It was about breaking out of the shackles of hypocritical conservative society, so you had wild music, casual sex, drug gluttony, property destruction ... and, yes, some copyright theft.
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
Even if they copied they are still led zeppelin.
So what?That gives them license to just do what they want?You want to give them permission,because the're Zep?That's fan boy stuff.Great band,got it,and I'm a fan also,but a shoe is still nothing but a shoe,no matter who's wearing it.

Steve B
 
There's a few tracks labelled "Trad. arranged by Page", like Babe and Gallows Pole. It is hard for today's people to have even the slightest idea just how ignorant we were in the 60s and 70s without internet.

You might like a riff or melody you heard one time on the radio but you never heard it again. No Google or YouTube or forums to help you sleuth down a song if you missed the DJ calling the title. So you figure you might as well use that riff or melody. You ask around and no one seems to have heard of it.

It's easy to forget just how much we were in the dark back then. So, yes, Zep ripped off some stuff but I doubt it was as cynical as it would seem now. They probably didn't want to restrict their creative flow with the kind of concerns suits worried about. Hard rock was about as accepted then as metal is today and you didn't get into it because you admired what was touted as "a model citizen".

It was about breaking out of the shackles of hypocritical conservative society, so you had wild music, casual sex, drug gluttony, property destruction ... and, yes, some copyright theft.
That's an important distinction: you can justify a lot of old-school 'plagiarism' with this mentality, which is why I think we should be less critical of it.

I do, however, object to this 'hypocritical conservative society' stuff. Conservative? Sure. Hypocritical? Hard to buy. So we lost the conservatism ... but on the other hand, with the power of the Internet, you can see hypocrisy every day in the modern world.
 

paradiddle pete

Platinum Member
I read somewhere once that Carmine Appice says to John Bonham i might borrow those bass drum triplets you do, John replies i borrowed them from you. Music back then was about moving people.
 
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