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Did Led Zeppelin Rip Off a Folk Singer?

6/29/2010 2:45 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Led Zeppelin must have been a little "Dazed and Confused" when it recorded the classic by the same name 41 years ago  -- because it sounds just like a folk song -- so says the folk singer who's now suing Zep's guitarist, Jimmy Page.

Led Zeppelin

According to the Federal lawsuit obtained by TMZ, Jake Holmes says he snagged a copyright for "Dazed and Confused" in 1967, two years before Zeppelin recorded its version that sounds suspiciously similar.

Could it be -- Zep ripped off a folk singer?  Listen to Holmes' 1967 recording.

Now take a listen to Zep's 1969 version.

The verses are different, but the music's a dead ringer.

Here's the good news for Page.  Even if a court decides Page ripped off Holmes, the folk singer can only sue for damages from the last 3 years, because of that pesky statute of limitations.

As for why Holmes waited so long to sue ... who knows? His attorney had no comment.


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Page denies that such an agreement occurred. In a 1990 interview with Musician magazine Page said he'd never heard Jake Holmes. Jake says he contacted Zep as far back as the early '80s about the song. Jake says he never heard the Yard Birds version prior to 2001. But he says he likes it better than the Zep version.

1543 days ago

Dj WrathChild    

Some facts for you people about the song. This was inspired by an acoustic song called "I'm Confused" that Jimmy Page heard Folk singer Jake Holmes perform. When Page was a member of The Yardbirds, they played on the same bill with Holmes at the Village Theatre in New York City. Holmes version was about an acid trip, but contained many of the same elements that made their way into the Led Zeppelin version: walking bass line, paranoid lyrics and an overall spooky sound. The Yardbirds played the song in concert, but never recorded it for an album, although they did play it for a BBC taping in March, 1968.

More Fact: In Shiloh Noone's book Seekers Guide To The Rhythm Of Yesteryear, he helps explain the origin of this song: "Jake Holmes, a one time member of Tim Rose & The Thorns, had written entire albums for Frank Sinatra and The Four Seasons, but his 2 most prolific albums released in 1967 are now recognized as groundbreaking projects. Jake's debut The Above Ground Sound Of Jake Holmes which featured Jake on acoustic guitar, Teddy Irwin on electric guitar and Rick Randle on bass carried the original 'Dazed And Confused' which Jimmy Page borrowed for the Led Zeppelin debut. This was confirmed when the Yardbirds witnessed Jake playing it live at The Village Gate in 1967. The same happened with the opening chords of Spirit's "Taurus" which Jimmy used for 'Stairway To Heaven.' Jake's artistic actualization follow up, A Letter To Katherine December is translucently a monumental landscape that captures a surreal bluesy world somewhere between Arthur Lee and David McWilliams."

1543 days ago


"34. This was confirmed when the Yardbirds witnessed Jake playing it live at The Village Gate in 1967.
Posted at 12:44 PM on Jun 29, 2010 by Dj WrathChild"

That makes his 1990 statement that he'd never heard Jake's version pretty damning.

1543 days ago


Led Zeppelin was not known for ripping off other's music. What genius said that? Led Zeppelin recorded songs written by other artist but they were never "known" for ripping people off. Let's see some proof.

1543 days ago


Why did it take 41 years to notice that there might be a similarity? Was the guy too wasted from all he was smoking while listening to Led Zepplin?

1543 days ago


Zeppelin were terrible either way. But there have been music copyrights cases based on a few musical notes before.

1543 days ago


Is it really so difficult to spell Led Zeppelin??? It is not Zepplin!!!! It is Zeppelin!!! Ugh.

1543 days ago


This is a long line of musician Zeppelin has rip-off. Including Randy California from Spirit . His song "Taurus" was stolen to become the progression to "Stairway To Heaven".
Don't believe me? read what I wrote years ago about Led Zeppelin.

1543 days ago


I'm an ENORMOUS Led Zeppelin fan and the rumor has been going around for years that several of their songs off their first album were the same chords from several old blues songs. Whether it's true or not, I don't know. I only know no one played a guitar like Jimmy Page or had the stage presence Plant and Page did and it was an extreme talent that puts all other rock bands to shame. I've always thought their muscianship and performances far exceeded any other band as is well do***ented in their music and performances. Zeppelin did something remarkably insightful when they dropped out of the public when Bohmen died. They knew the music was so astounding and could never be duplicated without the original set up and brilliantly kept it alive as a pasttime. Even though they are one of the biggest and most popular selling acts in history, you never see them in public or hardly ever granting interviews or licensing their music. Brilliant. It's always irked me when people call Zep a hard rock band. No, they are blues through and through. So we'll see where this goes.

1543 days ago


"38. Zeppelin were terrible either way. But there have been music copyrights cases based on a few musical notes before.
Posted at 12:58 PM on Jun 29, 2010 by G.R."

I beg to differ. Zeppelin is great - even if they didn't actually originate all the music they claim to have originated. Hell, Jimmy Page claimed to be the originator of a folk song that had been around for over a century. Jimmy Page is a douchebag. But he's still a guitar god. Thievery or not, Zeppelin still rocks. It's good that people are getting credit for music they wrote but which Zeppelin made famous.

1543 days ago

Robert Eggplant    

What's with all the burned out hippies here insisting the two songs don't sound exactly alike? They are almost as dumb as the tools saying "Dazed and Confused" was a Yardbirds rip-off when Jimmy Page was in both bands. As the smarter people pointed out, Led Zeppelin regularly ripped off many older songs note for note. Anyone who can't hear that needs to give up the hero-worship and detoxify from forty years of too much weed.

1543 days ago


The song was written by him and first redone by the Yardbirds and later again by Led Zeppelin. It's not a secret that Jimmy Page reworked the song. It's mentioned on Wikipedia.

1543 days ago

#1 Tribute Band    

This is old, old news. Half of Led Zeps songs are lifted from other musicians. Especially from early American blues songs. Led Zep, one of the worlds greatest tribute bands!!!

1543 days ago


Impossible for this article to be Jimmy Page wrote and performed this song (called simply DAZED at that time) as a member of the YARDBIRDS in 1967 and bought it over to Led Zep made some lyric changes and renamed it. Very poor research on the media side.

1543 days ago

captain chillymost    

It taking 40 years is not relevant. Just cause he never heard it until now. Maybe the guy has good taste.

1543 days ago
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