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Led Zeppelin found not guilty.


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Yep.

Now, I've been of the opinion for decades that Led Zeppelin ripped off Spirit, but Randy California always laughed it off and said "oh well". The lawsuit was all kinds of wrong, but mainly because it came so long after it would have mattered. The "borrowing" was plain, even back in the day music writers commented on it. Randy talked about how Robert and Jimmy sat front row listening to him play it.

Led Zeppelin was always famous for "borrowing" then denying. I cringe sometimes when I hear their songs on the radio, and think about the rock bands and bluesmen they took from and made a fortune. But that is water LONG under the bridge. This lawsuit was ridiculous.

I'm pretty well read in the arts, and borrowing is something that goes back millennia. It is what allows art to continue and thrive. Sometimes you gotta pay the man, though, and Zeppelin got by for decades without doing so.

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The jury only heard the written version of Spirit's "Taurus", not the version that was recorded which is somewhat different.

Both songs are in the same key (Amin), and share the same tempo although the lead figure is ascending in STH and descending in Taurus, making them contrapuntal harmonies. 

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Both songs are in the same key (Amin), and share the same tempo although the lead figure is ascending in STH and descending in Taurus, making them contrapuntal harmonies. 

I have no idea what that means,but they both sound pretty similar to me!

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I have no idea what that means,but they both sound pretty similar to me!

They are pretty similar, but it's different *enough* to avoid being a copyright infringement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I just listened to Spirit's Taurus for the very first time and thought it as an interesting musical piece.  Yes, there are similar chords but note that Spirit's song went nowhere, but Led Zeppelin  turned that simple guitar piece into a masterpiece that I still stop and listen to every time I've heard it in the past 45 years.

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But the whole issue was the acoustic intro, not the rest of the song. I dunno... I hear a lot of similarities between the intros... more than just coincidental. If I was on that jury I would have voted guilty.

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but some of the defense was that you can hear the same chords and the same sequence in classical and folk guitar music going back centuries. The verdict wasn't about whether they sounded the same, it was about whether Paige and Plant had infringed copyright on _published_ music. 

best,

M.

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I'm a little late to the table on this, but consider during the doo-wop days, you could in some cases literally layer one song over another they were so similar. One good song launched a hundred copy cats. Not only were there no (or few) lawsuits, but borrowing riffs and sounds is what built rock & roll. I could list two or three right off (Boston, Blues Traveler) who stole Pachelbel's Canon in D, but who's complaining, they all sound great. Pretty much all of the Blues genre follows the same music structure whether subtly or overtly. To hear Men At Work lost a hefty sum 30 years after Down Under for borrowing 11 notes from the Kookaburra song is disgusting in my opinion. I have no problem with Led Zeppelin re-inventing parts of another's work, as long as it's not a direct rip-off.

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But the problem with what Led Zeppelin did is they took other people's work and gave themselves writing credits on their albums with no mention of who actually wrote the song.

Just a few examples (there are many more)... "Dazed and Confused" was written and recorded by a guy named Jake Holmes in 1967. When the song turned up on Zep's first album, writing credits were listed as "Page/Plant," with absolutely no mention of the guy who actually wrote the song.

"Whole Lotta Love" was similarly credited to "Page/Plant," when in fact is was nothing more than a slightly reworked version of the song "You Need Love" written by Willie Dixon.

"When the Levee Breaks" was written and recorded by Kansas Joe McCoy and his wife "Memphis Minnie" in 1929! No mention of their names in the song credits on Zep's album.

The list goes on and on. In many cases, the original artists sued Led Zeppelin and the cases were settled out of court. But Page and Plant have a long history of, er... "borrowing" other people's songs without giving credit where credit was due.

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