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Article: Jimmy Page Sued Over “Dazed and Confused”

Jimmy Page Sued Over “Dazed and Confused”

Folk singer Jake Holmes has filed a suit against Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page for infringing his copyright on the original song. This story goes back farther than the hallowed days of Zep, however. Back when Holmes wrote the original piece in 1967, which varies lyrically and sonically than the Zeppelin version, the song wasn’t well received. But Holmes’ band ended up landing a gig opening for the Yardbirds, Page’s band right before Zeppelin, in New York. The band loved Holmes’ song and decided to develop their own version, which they’d frequently play but never recorded. This version also featured Page using the violin bow on his electric guitar. Years later, Page decided to record a version for Zeppelin’s debut album. Of course by then he’d altered the song a lot, but it still remained true to the original in lots of respects. Page would go on to give himself full songwriting credit for the song, which Holmes honestly didn’t care much about at first. He was quoted as saying, in a Led Zeppelin biography called When Giants Walked the Earth, “I didn’t give a shit. At that time I didn’t think there was a law about intent. I thought it had to do with the old Tin Pan Alley law that you had to have four bars of exactly the same melody, and that if somebody had taken a riff and changed it just slightly or changed the lyrics that you couldn’t sue them. That turned out to be totally misguided.” Holmes had been attempting to battle Page for his claim, but found it difficult to get someone to take on the giant. Holmes noted, “I’ve never been able to find [a lawyer] to really push it as hard as it could be pushed. And economically I didn’t want to be spending hundreds and thousands of dollars to come up with something that may not work. I’m not starving, and I have a lot of cachet with my kids because all the kids in their school say, ‘Your dad wrote Dazed And Confused? Awesome!’ So I’m a cult hero”. His goal is to just get a bit of recognition, he explains, “I don’t want [Page] to give me full credit for this song. He took it and put it in a direction that I would never have taken it, and it became very successful. So why should I complain? But give me at least half-credit on it”. Since the statute of limitations has passed on this issue, he’d only get royalties from the last three years, but that doesn’t seem to concern Holmes as much as the recognition itself. Listen yourself to the comparison. Holmes’ version Led Zeppelin’s version Recommended Listening: String Quartet to Led Zeppelin String Quartet Tribute to Led Zeppelin (2 CD Set)

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