Every artist "steals" a little, whether they realize it or not. For instance, we talk about how some musician was "influenced" by music they grew up with, even if sometimes that influence consists of outright stealing and/or barely remixing a classic. That's just the way it works.
But sometimes, it's even more blatant than that. In fact, some of the most successful musical acts in history based huge chunks of their careers entirely on plagiarism. Like...
Led Zeppelin are remembered for two things: banging a groupie with a mudshark and recording songs that rocked harder than any band had ever rocked before. Too bad a bunch of that shit was stolen.
Don't believe us? Well, here's a whole laundry list of songs they stole; but if the words of a dawn-of-the-Internet era website aren't enough to convince you, consider their classic song "Dazed and Confused."
A young Jake Holmes played a song of the same name (and chords, and lyrics kind of) at a show in 1967 where he was opening for The Yardbirds, who featured--say it with us!-- Jimmy Page on guitar. "Dazed and Confused" became a mainstay of The Yardbirds live sets and eventually found its way onto Zep's 1969 debut album, where it was credited to... nobody. Holmes never took legal action but he did eventually send Page a letter asking for acknowledgement and maybe a little gas money if he could spare it (he could). The letter went unanswered.
But who cares, right? We're talking about Led Zeppelin here. The band who wrote "Stairway to Heaven" man! It's the most popular song in the history of sound! It's the song that was playing on the van stereo when your father shot the load that would become you into your mother's moist and eager lady parts! That one song is enough to secure the legacy of 10 bands!
Too bad they jacked that shit too. The opening notes (and easily the most recognizable part) of "Stairway" were taken almost note-for-note from a song called "Taurus" by Spirit.
How did nobody notice that? Because nobody knows who the hell Spirit is. But for the record, Led Zeppelin opened for Spirit on their first U.S. tour, so it's safe to assume they were familiar with the band. Repaying an opening spot on a tour of the States by stealing a guitar riff is sad, but what's even sadder is that Spirit's guitarist, the awesomely named Randy California, knew exactly where "Stairway to Heaven" came from but was too nice of a guy to say anything - he just wanted them to say "Thank you."
They never did.