kansas joe

“Beyoncé is a thief! She ripped off Led Zeppelin’s "when the levee breaks” in her song “don’t hurt yourself”….she isn’t authentic, just another hip hop artist appropriating rock music to be edgy" K but Led Zeppelin ripped off Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie(pictured) who wrote and recorded “when the levee breaks” in 1929, 42 years before Led Zeppelin put out their version.


 Your elitist, racist, misogynist bullshit badly masquerading as musical preferrence is showing. Anyways, contemporary rock music is bleached, processed and bastardized black music….don’t for one second think you have a more refined taste in music because you listen to led zeppelin, the beatles, the rolling stones etc (any other skinny white boys in guitar music(old or new))……they are to rock music what take away is to a home cooked meal from a family recipe. No comparison

Listen

When The Levee Breaks, 1929. Led Zep’s version probably outnumbers this Kansas Joe McCoy & Memphis Minnie original by at least twenty to one on tumblr. It’s one of many Zep “borrowed” from old blues masters as they made their name in the 60s and 70s. Jimmy Page blamed Robert Plant for not reworking the lyrics, telling Guitar World in 1993 that Plant had thus caused the band “grief” with lawsuits, saying his guitar work was too original to be “nailed” on, but with many of the old blues song lyrics basically unchanged, that wasn’t the case with the words. Personally, I like both versions of this song—Memphis Minnie’s guitar work is great, as is Jimmy Page’s—although in some instances (i.e. “Bring It On Home”) I definitely prefer the old to the new.

Blues Artists That Led Zeppelin Stole From

Whole Lotta Love = You Need Love (written by Willie Dixon. sung by Muddy Waters)

Bring It On Home intro = Bring It On Home (written by Willie Dixon, sung by Sonny Boy Williamson II)

The Lemon Song = Killing Floor (written and sung by Howlin’ Wolf), lyrics nicked from Travelling Riverside Blues by Robert Johnson

How Many More Times = How Many More Years and No Place to Go (written and sung by Howlin’ Wolf)

When the Levee Breaks = written and sung by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie

Nobody’s Fault But Mine = written and sung by Blind Willie Johnson

There are quite a few more, but here are some good examples for starters. The issue I have is not that Led Zeppelin covered blues songs. The Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac also covered blues songs - but, unlike Led Zeppelin, they were very diligent in giving proper credit where due. The issue I have is that Led Zeppelin had claimed these songs as their own without attributing proper credit.

Willie Dixon had even sued Led Zeppelin for Whole Lotta Love, and won! So, yeah, that’s what I mean about Led Zeppelin exploiting blues artists.

~ Sera

Yellow Bee
Bertha Lee Pate & Charley Patton
Yellow Bee

Booker Miller tells us that Bertha Lee Pate (Charley Patton’s last wife who recorded with him in 1934) was an excellent songster in her own right, with a powerful stage presence and a strong voice. This recording is one of only two surviving from the 1934 sessions featuring Bertha Lee as primary vocalist, with guitar accompaniment (and secondary vocals) by Patton. Two more extant recordings feature her as a second vocalist with Patton. Of the twenty nine recordings they made for Vocalion, twelve are currently extant (though record hunters remain on the lookout…). The disappearance of the remaining recordings is down to mismanagement, neglect (!?) and lack of preservational awareness. Many of the lost recordings were credited as “Patton & Lee,” meaning they featured Bertha Lee as either a primary or second vocalist.

Yellow Bee is inspired by Memphis Minnie’s Bumble Bee, which Bertha Lee and Charley Patton bring to new heights in this recording. It embodies the chemistry of their passionate and sometimes turbulent relationship, and places them among the greatest recorded blues couples of all time, along with Blind Willie Johnson and Willie B. Harris, Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie, and others.

Listen

When The Levee Breaks, 1929. Led Zep’s version probably outnumbers this Kansas Joe McCoy & Memphis Minnie original by at least twenty to one on tumblr. It’s one of many Zep “borrowed” from old blues masters as they made their name in the 60s and 70s. Jimmy Page blamed Robert Plant for not reworking the lyrics, telling Guitar World in 1993 that Plant had thus caused the band “grief” with lawsuits, saying his guitar work was too original to be “nailed” on, but with many of the old blues song lyrics basically unchanged, that wasn’t the case with the words. Personally, I like both versions of this song–Memphis Minnie’s guitar work is great, as is Jimmy Page’s–although in some instances (i.e. “Bring It On Home”) I definitely prefer the old to the new.