By Brian Ives
Despite being one of the most respected and commercially successful bands in rock history, Led Zeppelin have gotten into trouble more than nearly any other artist when it comes to copyright infringement — which inspired the blog Willard’s Wormholes to create an imaginary trading card set, with one card per penalty.
The latest example of Zeppelin’s alleged song-lifting comes courtesy of attorney Francis Alexander Malofiy, who represents a trust for Randy California, the deceased Spirit guitarist and writer of the song “Taurus,” which sounds suspiciously similar to “Stairway to Heaven.”
And yes, Randy California has his own card in the series — which is just .jpegs on the blog that you can download, print and, of course, save and collect. (Hey, if “Willard” takes the page down, they’ll be collector’s items!)
Like baseball cards, each “card” has an image on the front, and information on the back. In this case, the image is of the artist being ripped off, and a “back” with the story of the infringement.
There are also dual soundcloud embeds, so you can listen to, say, Zeppelin’s “Black Mountain Side” from 1969 and Bert Jansch’s “Blackwaterside” from 1966 back-to-back and decide for yourself if it’s a ripoff or not. Other cards in the series include Howlin’ Wolf (who actually appears on two cards, one for “Killing Floor,” paired up with Zep’s “The Lemon Song,” and another for “How Many More Years,” paired with “How Many More Times”); Memphis Minnie (for her song “When the Levee Breaks,” adapted by Zeppelin’s song of the same name, and which she later got co-writing credit for) and Ritchie Valens (whose “Ohh My Head” sounds a lot of like “Boogie With Stu”; “Mrs. Valens” was later added as a co-writer of that one).
Oddly enough, one of the cards — for Jake Holmes’ “Dazed and Confused” — has a rather familiar Jimmy Page quote. Willard writes, “Page can’t blame his memory on this one, because in a recent interview, he was quoted as saying, ‘I had a pretty good memory and recall, but I was surprised just how detailed my memory was across those decades.’”
That reminded us of our Jimmy Page interview (read it here) where he told us, “Actually, I knew I had a pretty good memory and recall, but I was surprised just how detailed my memory was across those decades,” in reference to his work on the Led Zeppelin reissues.
We won’t get too bent over the fact that we weren’t cited, but if they ever print out physical versions of the cards, we won’t say “no” if they send us a pack.