Calling Mr. Page, Mr Jimmy Page: Song Stealing

Uncle Vinnie

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He's So Fine - The Chiffons.

Reprise: My Sweet Lord - G. Harrison.

Hey, it happens.
 

Roberteaux

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You know what else I've noticed that's a bit screwy?

When it comes to LZ, Plant and Page-- but especially Page-- there's a weird sort of favoritism that some like to play.

For instance, we could point to the Mississippi Sheiks and their song, "Sitting on Top of the World", and compare it to a Rolling Stones song called, "You've Got to Move", I find the melody for both songs to be completely identical...

But nobody hollers that Mick and Co. plagiarized that melody. One time I mentioned this and had a fellow explain to me that this was because the Rolling Stone's song was just "strongly derivative" of the Mississippi Sheiks song.

I got the feeling that if Page and LZ did anything like that, now it would be red-hot PLAGIARISM!

*****

Same thing happened with "Train Kept A-Rollin'"... I have no idea if the Yardbirds or Aerosmith ever gave credit or royalties to whoever wrote/owns the song... but learned that when Tiny Bradshaw first recorded it in 1951, that he sort of borrowed some of the lyrics from a song called "Cow-Cow Boogie"...

But no big lawsuits cropped up regarding the song. Derivative, I guess... not plagiarism. But where the line is drawn, I have no clue.

Even stranger, Aerosmith used some of the melody for the song for their version of "Train" (and before that, when Foghat did "Honey Hush", I don't think anybody really complained-- let alone sued anybody else).

Not sure if Foghat gave credit or $$$ to Big Joe Turner or his estate... or even if Aerosmith paid anybody for use of the song.

But I wouldn't be surprised if there was nothing of the sort that happened at all. Anybody got a better grip on that particular melody, and those songs and performers?

*****

Sometimes I think it's all just money and the fame of LZ that keeps the group in perpetual hot water.

I kind of wonder the same things about Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" and the Chiffon's "He's So Fine"... like, if George wasn't so famous and wealthy, would such a heated lawsuit have erupted?

I mean, RnR?

It's almost *all* derivative somehow.

Eh! Whatever.

--R :dunno:
 
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efstop

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Harrison eventually got the rights to He's So Fine and solved the royalty problem. He referenced the lawsuit and song in "This Song" and plays a bit of the My Sweet Lord riff in I Don't Care Anymore.
 

mgenet

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I do believe the above is not quite the truth.

In the early decades of the 20th century (say 1900 - 1940), there were a LOT of travelling blues musicians, who heard songs by others and adapted them to their own interpretation. In those times, copyright was nowhere near to what it became in later decades. So you will find many variations on the same lyrics from that time.

Into the 1960s, things were much clearer. The Rooftop Singers got 'Walk right in' to the top of the US charts, without any acknowledgement as to who wrote it. Unfortunately for them, (or should I say those behind them), Gus Cannon was still alive, and hit them for songwriting royalties, as he wrote it and recorded it with his band, Cannon's Jug Stompers, decades earlier.

Equally, after Cream recorded the Skip James number 'I'm so glad', they sought him out on their next US tour and gave him a cheque for his songwriting royalties.

Page/Plant come along later and claim to have written quite a bit of their early stuff, when that was plainly deceitful. Jeez, they did whole verse of 'The Hunter' and claimed it as their own! They nicked loads of other stuff and attributed it as their own. Doesn't matter whether they 'changed it up a bit' or 'played it louder and faster' - they nicked it and claimed it as their own.

And finally, as far as I am aware, the songs of others that the Beatles recorded were correctly attributed. Correct me if I am wrong.
I have to agree with you John.

I belive some of the songs LZ allegedly wrote, now have, on newer releases, co-writing honors listed with the original bluesman. Probably part of the legal agreements finally hashed out.

Also, Taken from a Rolling Stone article:

Willie Dixon was appropriately credited as the author of “You Shook Me” and “I Can’t Quit You Baby” on the band’s debut album; when they covered Memphis Minnie’s 1929 track “When the Levee Breaks” on their fourth album, the members of Led Zeppelin granted themselves songwriting credits, but at least they also included Memphis Minnie.
 

Bill Hicklin

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In the early decades of the 20th century (say 1900 - 1940), there were a LOT of travelling blues musicians, who heard songs by others and adapted them to their own interpretation. In those times, copyright was nowhere near to what it became in later decades. So you will find many variations on the same lyrics from that time.

Prior to 1976, in the US, copyright didn't exist unless you hired a lawyer, went through all the formalities and registered the work with the US Copyright office (and deposited two copies with the Library of Congress). In other words, most of those poor blues musicians never had any legal copyrights at all. At least, except for those who moved north and got recording deals in Chicago, or those like Leadbelly who got 'second careers' from the folk boom in the late 50s/early 60s.

And I agree that most of those sharecropper singers whose names have been attached to songs, had themselves lifted them from earlier sharecropper singers. I'd be surprised if Robert Johnson actually wrote half of the songs he recorded, but he's been given credit for all of them.
 

MikeyTheCat

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Harrison copped James Taylor's line "something in the way she moves", but he was cool as according to him he stole the line "and I feel fine" from them.
 
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Pal

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Hell, people cry he "stole" from poor blues musicians who recorded this stuff in obscurity 40 years earlier....guess what, most of those guys stole it from someone poorer who couldnt record it. Just because they stole from some unknown, sold 5k records and page stole it and sold 5 million...Page is the thief and they are the victim.
Not exactly 40 years earlier.
 

John Vasco

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For instance, we could point to the Mississippi Sheiks and their song, "Sitting on Top of the World", and compare it to a Rolling Stones song called, "You've Got to Move", I find the melody for both songs to be completely identical...

But nobody hollers that Mick and Co. plagiarized that melody. One time I mentioned this and had a fellow explain to me that this was because the Rolling Stone's song was just "strongly derivative" of the Mississippi Sheiks song.

I got the feeling that if Page and LZ did anything like that, now it would be red-hot PLAGIARISM!

--R :dunno:
Actually, the Stones referenced the Mississippi Fred McDowell song, 'You gotta move', word for word, not the Sheiks song. And the back end of the verse in both songs is different.
 

Crotch

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It is my probably unpopular opinion that the amount of talent (especially JPJ) in this band made it so any guitar player could have been in it and it would have been good. I don't look to Page when I hear this music. Nothing extraordinary to me.
 
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