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We Can Be Very Forgiving

January 14, 2012 @ 12:45

Earlier this week while going through my news feed on facebook I came across a segment on the Howard Stern Show about the thievery of the band Led Zeppelin.

Right off the top, I'll admit I've never been a Led Zeppelin fan. I've never been one for strident / hard rock and today the very sound of Classic Rock on the radio, any classic rock, nauseates the shit out of me.

To me, Classic Rock on the radio is like watching an Andy of Mayberry marathon. A couple of episodes are alright, but I'm quickly bored and need to escape before I get depressed.

It's alright by the campfire in small doses, but I'd prefer my radio enlighten me.

I've never really understood the fascination with Led Zeppelin, and that's before I learned that a good measure of their work was actually somebody else's work.

Their screechy uneven sound is something that I've always found more aggravating than appealing. Stairway To Heaven was a small exception, but it turns out even that was a rip-off.

When I hear The Ocean I want to drive ice picks through my ears and run to my Beatles collection

I don't even know how old the segment on Stern is, but it really doesn't matter. There is no time limit on thievery or proof and I'm not about to explain it all. Go here and have a listen for yourself and then go here for more proof.

The point of this essay is this. After I posted the link to my facebook I was amazed at the comments and e-mails I received actually defending Led Zeppelin.

I guess I really shouldn't be surprised. It's human nature to defend, at any cost, something you have a vested interest in.

Taste is subjective and I'm not about to criticize anyone who adores Led Zeppelin because we all receive art differently. One mans Van Gogh is another mans finger painting.

But I find it extremely amusing when people, having had proof laid in their laps, still want to defend them.

They use the excuse that all bands "borrow" music, and that may be true. Influence is something that's hard to resist, but when you steal material word for word and pretend it's your own till you're exposed, it's slimy. Especially when you begrudgingly allow credit that was due at the outset.

But again, it's human nature. The same way my mother in law is willing to over-look Tiger Woods behavior because she absolutely adores the guy. The same way I'm sure there were Philadelphia Eagles fans that were ready to defend Michael Vick because they wanted him back on the football field.

OJ Simpson got way more support than he deserved. I think you get my point.

But the Led Zeppelin response floored me. We still don't know absolutely for sure if OJ cut off his wife's head, but we sure as hell have blatant proof that Led Zeppelin stole other peoples work.

And as I stated above, there is no timeline on theft. One guy commented this morning that at this point it doesn't matter. "Let's just enjoy the music they gave us."

I beg to differ, it does matter.

Here some other comments, with the position that Led Zeppelin wasn't alone, which for some crazy reason makes it OK.

"Plagiarism is part of music."
"It's not like Zeppelin was the only band to rip off a song."
"There is no new rock and roll."
"Is this any different than Elvis ripping off black artists?"
"What about the originals that Page and Plant penned?"

All are pointless arguments given the circumstances. Again, influence is one thing, but ripping somebody off word for word like Led Zeppelin did is another thing.

And please, don't respond to this by defending Led Zeppelin "the musicians" because I'm sure there are musicians I like that you hate.

This is all about integrity and apparently Led Zeppelin had none.

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