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  #51  
Old 04-13-2016, 07:28 PM
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It's sometimes just not worth the hassle of suing someone.
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  #52  
Old 04-13-2016, 07:48 PM
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Well, there's that and the fact that they don't really sound all that similar.
  #53  
Old 04-16-2016, 02:13 PM
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Just to be clear here, Led Zeppelin is not charged with "plagiarism." They are charged with copyright infringement. Plagiarism is not a legal concept and it is much broader than copyright infringement.
Yes, copyright infringement and not plagiarism. I've spent much of the week grading papers...
  #54  
Old 04-16-2016, 02:17 PM
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Well, there's that and the fact that they don't really sound all that similar.
I'm playing them both right now on the guitar, and it's obvious that STH was built around the section stolen from the Taurus tune.

But the truth is no match for millions of middle schoolers with a bustle in their hedgerow...
  #55  
Old 04-16-2016, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Subterraneanus View Post
I'm playing them both right now on the guitar, and it's obvious that STH was built around the section stolen from the Taurus tune.

But the truth is no match for millions of middle schoolers with a bustle in their hedgerow...
Not that song. The one in post 50.

Last edited by pulykamell; 04-16-2016 at 02:23 PM.
  #56  
Old 04-16-2016, 02:26 PM
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Not that song. The one in post 50.
Got it, my bad.

My second point remains.
  #57  
Old 04-16-2016, 02:38 PM
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Oh, I have little doubt that LZ were influenced by Taurus, whether consciously or not. As a sometimes musician, I think it's not exactly a novel idea (I posted a work from the 1500s that has the same type of chromatic walk in a minor key--the whole idea even has a name, called the lament bass--and is found in renaissance and baroque music) and a sufficient reworking that it's a very different song. By bar three, the chords aren't even the same and the tonality is completely different (minor in Taurus, major in Stairway.) If that's the bar for plagiarism, then practically every song out there is ripping some other one off.

Last edited by pulykamell; 04-16-2016 at 02:39 PM.
  #58  
Old 04-16-2016, 03:16 PM
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I can see both sides of the argument, plus I suppose there's a question of what constitutes plagiarism. If the Beach Boys' wanted to make an issue of it, does "Back in The USSR" plagiarize the Beach Boys' "California Girls" because of one short phrase?
I doubt "Back in the USSR" ever was an issue for the Beach Boys. Paul McCartney began writing the song while the Beatles and the Beach Boys were attending a retreat in India. Mike Love encouraged McCartney to write the song in a similar style to "California Girls." I'm sure the Beach Boys saw it more as being inspired than as infringing on their song.
  #59  
Old 04-16-2016, 05:07 PM
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I doubt "Back in the USSR" ever was an issue for the Beach Boys. Paul McCartney began writing the song while the Beatles and the Beach Boys were attending a retreat in India. Mike Love encouraged McCartney to write the song in a similar style to "California Girls." I'm sure the Beach Boys saw it more as being inspired than as infringing on their song.
Musical composition copyrights are indeed difficult—the question of what "original" exactly means isn't very easy to pin down, and it's not always easy to sort out what aspects of a composition is protectable and what portion is just the public domain arrangement of basic building blocks. (Sound recording copyrights are—comparatively—much easier ... if you copied it, then you copied it.)

However ... whether or not the Beach Boys considered "Back in the U.S.S.R." an "issue" isn't necessarily a very important question. In theory, if "Back in the U.S.S.R." is infringing, then it's infringing whether or not the Beach Boys made it an "issue."

Last edited by Acsenray; 04-16-2016 at 05:07 PM.
  #60  
Old 04-16-2016, 06:00 PM
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Musical composition copyrights are indeed difficult—the question of what "original" exactly means isn't very easy to pin down, and it's not always easy to sort out what aspects of a composition is protectable and what portion is just the public domain arrangement of basic building blocks. (Sound recording copyrights are—comparatively—much easier ... if you copied it, then you copied it.)

However ... whether or not the Beach Boys considered "Back in the U.S.S.R." an "issue" isn't necessarily a very important question. In theory, if "Back in the U.S.S.R." is infringing, then it's infringing whether or not the Beach Boys made it an "issue."
What would the infringement consist of? It's not copyrightable to list types of girls in sundry places.

I think parody is protected anyway.
  #61  
Old 04-16-2016, 07:00 PM
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What would the infringement consist of? It's not copyrightable to list types of girls in sundry places.

I think parody is protected anyway.
Those are both different points than the one I was addressing.
  #62  
Old 04-16-2016, 09:01 PM
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I doubt "Back in the USSR" ever was an issue for the Beach Boys. Paul McCartney began writing the song while the Beatles and the Beach Boys were attending a retreat in India. Mike Love encouraged McCartney to write the song in a similar style to "California Girls." I'm sure the Beach Boys saw it more as being inspired than as infringing on their song.
Right. That's why I said if they wanted to make it an issue. They obviously didn't and don't.

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  #63  
Old 04-16-2016, 09:55 PM
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Jimmy Page on how Stairway to Heaven was written (BBC). Published on Oct 10, 2014.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDo4CA13LbY
  #64  
Old 04-16-2016, 10:05 PM
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Those are both different points than the one I was addressing.
You had another point?
  #65  
Old 04-16-2016, 10:40 PM
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You had another point?
I believe it was a pretty clear and simple point. Is it not?
  #66  
Old 04-20-2016, 12:33 AM
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That riff may be in the public domain.
http://wmgk.com/2016/04/19/stairway-to-heaven-lawsuit/
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Randy California’s estate claims that Zeppelin borrowed the riff from Spirit’s ‘Taurus’. Some researchers from Digital Music News have unearthed a clip from a 17th century composer that bears resemblance to the riff in question which is public domain. Will this news blow this case wide open? Take a listen and make your own judgement.
There are clips at the link.
  #67  
Old 04-20-2016, 08:02 AM
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That riff may be in the public domain.
http://wmgk.com/2016/04/19/stairway-to-heaven-lawsuit/
There are clips at the link.
Huh. Not quite exactly the same chromatic bass (similar, though), but surprisingly reminiscent melody line. Melodically, I find this closer to Stairway than Taurus. This one at least has some of the same melodic movement while Taurus's take is just simple static broken chords.

But, shocker! You look hard enough, and you'll find a similar song by someone else somewhere in music history. And pretty much where I thought you'd find it: Renaissance or Baroque music, as I mentioned upthread.
  #68  
Old 04-20-2016, 08:04 AM
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And it looks not to be exactly a new revelation, either. I just found this Youtube clip from 2011 pointing it out.
  #69  
Old 04-20-2016, 08:08 AM
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Plus, there's also this Davey Graham song from 1959 to compare with Taurus and Stairway.
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Old 04-20-2016, 08:51 AM
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And (sorry for four-in-a-row), it's worth noting that Jimmy Page was a Davey Graham fan and influenced by him, so Stairway could likely have been inspired by both of those sources.
  #71  
Old 04-20-2016, 11:27 AM
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(Another was "Feelings" by Morris Albert, a song which, were it mine, I would probably let people steal it rather than admit to writing).
Actually, Morris Albert was successfully sued in the early 80s by French songwriter Loulou Gaste, who claimed that "Feelings" infringed on the melody of his 1957 song "Pour Toi."

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feelin...Albert_song%29)

Last edited by 42fish; 04-20-2016 at 11:29 AM. Reason: Fix busted quote tag
  #72  
Old 06-16-2016, 08:15 AM
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Trial underway, so reviving this thread.

Apparently Jimmy indicated he NEVER heard the song, but has the album in his record collection. Probably had to be absolute about it due to legal advice, but seems sketchy.

On another note:

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The questioning of Page drew laughs several times, like when Malofiy asked him if he was a session musician. Page told the court he began playing guitar at age 12.

"Later on you had a gift of playing the guitar?" Malofiy asked.

Page, one of rock's premiere guitarists, broke into a wide smile and said, "Well, yeah." The gallery on both sides in the courtroom erupted in laughter.
Hilarious.
  #73  
Old 06-16-2016, 10:14 AM
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Rolling Stone's breathless coverage of the trial.
  #74  
Old 06-16-2016, 10:32 AM
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Trial underway, so reviving this thread.

Apparently Jimmy indicated he NEVER heard the song, but has the album in his record collection. Probably had to be absolute about it due to legal advice, but seems sketchy.
The article I read said he had 5 Spirit albums in a 4,000 vinyl album collection. I doubt anyone can definitively say he even owned the album before Stairway to Heaven. The presence of the album in his extensive collection can be easily countered by any competent defense attorney.
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Old 06-16-2016, 10:47 AM
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The article I read said he had 5 Spirit albums in a 4,000 vinyl album collection. I doubt anyone can definitively say he even owned the album before Stairway to Heaven. The presence of the album in his extensive collection can be easily countered by any competent defense attorney.
Yet he knew the song "Fresh Garbage," from the same album, well enough that Zeppelin used to play it onstage in 1969.
  #76  
Old 06-16-2016, 10:51 AM
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The article I read said he had 5 Spirit albums in a 4,000 vinyl album collection. I doubt anyone can definitively say he even owned the album before Stairway to Heaven. The presence of the album in his extensive collection can be easily countered by any competent defense attorney.
They toured with Spirit. "Taurus" was played. They were huge fans of west coast rock. "Never heard it" is ridiculous.
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Old 06-16-2016, 02:03 PM
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True. But Led Zeppelin will always be identified as part of the psychedelic sixties music scene....Some of that music spilled over into the early seventies but most people think of it as 60's genre music.
Odd perspective. In my mind, Zeppelin didnt spill over into the 70's, they owned the 70's.

Perhaps you're confusing them with The Doors?

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  #78  
Old 06-16-2016, 02:16 PM
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Odd perspective. In my mind, Zeppelin didnt spill over into the 70's, they owned the 70's.

Perhaps you're confusing them with The Doors?
Music owned NOTHING in the 70's, so your statement is invalid. Led did what they could given the hand they were dealt but ownership, not even close, however more traction in the 80's.
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Old 06-16-2016, 02:43 PM
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Yet he knew the song "Fresh Garbage," from the same album, well enough that Zeppelin used to play it onstage in 1969.
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They toured with Spirit. "Taurus" was played. They were huge fans of west coast rock. "Never heard it" is ridiculous.
Exhibit A for the proposition that Jimmy Page is full of shit .
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Old 06-16-2016, 03:47 PM
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Music owned NOTHING in the 70's, so your statement is invalid. Led did what they could given the hand they were dealt but ownership, not even close, however more traction in the 80's.
Ah, c'mon! You wouldn't argue that Zep is one of the biggest 70's bands? I took "owned" as a bit of fine Rock hyperbole

Page is in it to win it, so assume he is following a specific legal strategy. Interesting to see where this goes.
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Old 06-16-2016, 05:33 PM
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Ah, c'mon! You wouldn't argue that Zep is one of the biggest 70's bands? I took "owned" as a bit of fine Rock hyperbole
Hey, I got your back - I think they outsold everybody in the 1970's . Though they certainly had some stiff competition. The Eagles doesn't surprise me, but Pink Floyd kinda does.

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  #82  
Old 06-16-2016, 11:50 PM
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They toured with Spirit. "Taurus" was played. They were huge fans of west coast rock. "Never heard it" is ridiculous.
Gotta agree. My thoughts about the merits of the case aside, there's no possible way I could believe that Jimmy never heard "Taurus."
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Old 06-17-2016, 12:21 AM
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I read some time back that after a concert somewhere Page asked Randy California (nee Wolfe) to show him how to play it. It's hard to believe, given that Page has the album, once toured with Spirit, and is said to have asked for instruction on how to play it by someone who was apparently there, that Page would try to play dumb on this. It's also hard to believe that his lawyer never uncovered this incriminating information. Surely all this will come out and when it does it's likely to cause considerable backlash from the jury.

I hate to see this because even though I like all the guys in the band, Page is my favorite. He seems to have a great zest for life and to be a genuinely nice guy. It's a shame that they stand to lose so much for a few notes that don't make up 3% of the amazingly complex and cinematic song Page and Plant crafted around it.
  #84  
Old 06-17-2016, 01:08 AM
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I read some time back that after a concert somewhere Page asked Randy California (nee Wolfe) to show him how to play it. It's hard to believe, given that Page has the album, once toured with Spirit, and is said to have asked for instruction on how to play it by someone who was apparently there, that Page would try to play dumb on this.
I think testimony stated like this is not going to help the plaintiff. Any competent session musician could play the first part of Taurus after hearing it a couple of times - it's quite simple. Page is one of the greatest guitarists of all time. If he wanted to copy it, he certainly didn't need Randy C to show him how to play it. Maybe they were jamming together and playing it, that would sound more credible.

Last edited by Riemann; 06-17-2016 at 01:11 AM.
  #85  
Old 06-17-2016, 01:22 AM
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I think testimony stated like this is not going to help the plaintiff. Any competent session musician could play the first part of Taurus after hearing it a couple of times - it's quite simple. Page is one of the greatest guitarists of all time. If he wanted to copy it, he certainly didn't need Randy C to show him how to play it. Maybe they were jamming together and playing it, that would sound more credible.
Agreed. Heck, I think one listen should be enough to get the main idea (minor chord on top, chromatically descending bassline.)
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Old 06-17-2016, 01:27 AM
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I think testimony stated like this is not going to help the plaintiff. Any competent session musician could play the first part of Taurus after hearing it a couple of times - it's quite simple. Page is one of the greatest guitarists of all time. If he wanted to copy it, he certainly didn't need Randy C to show him how to play it. Maybe they were jamming together and playing it, that would sound more credible.
I have to admit I wondered about that myself, albeit not for too long. I just figured that perhaps it was easier or took less time for Page to ask California to show him how to play it than to figure it out for himself. Or who knows, maybe Page was otherwise engaged and just heard bits and pieces while Spirit were on stage so he asked about it afterward. Either way I never had any doubt that Page could have figured it out on his own pretty easily if he'd heard it clearly and that was what he wanted to do.
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Old 06-17-2016, 01:36 AM
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Something else just occurred to me too. As I said before Page seems to be a really nice guy, so maybe he wanted to pump California up a little bit by asking him how to play something. I'd think it would be quite a head-sweller for any guitarist to be asked by Jimmy Page how to play something. On the other hand California could have known that Page could have figured it out easily on his own, so really I'm just spit-balling here in search of a reason should the account I read be true.

Last edited by Starving Artist; 06-17-2016 at 01:36 AM.
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Old 06-17-2016, 02:57 AM
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Something else just occurred to me too. As I said before Page seems to be a really nice guy, so maybe he wanted to pump California up a little bit by asking him how to play something. I'd think it would be quite a head-sweller for any guitarist to be asked by Jimmy Page how to play something...
But remember this was early on - LZ were opening for the bigger band Spirit. So at the time, I assume Randy C would have been the senior figure, even if Page's talent was probably already obvious.
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Old 06-17-2016, 03:27 AM
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Thanks. I hadn't realized Spirit was ever a bigger band than LZ. But I wouldn't have thought Page's superior talent would have been obvious to just about any guitar player of the era. He'd been an in-demand session musician while still in his teens and had been a member of the Yardbirds. A pretty impressive resume I would think for a band of Spirit's relatively modest talents. Frankly I don't see how any band member of the era wouldn't have been blown away by any of Zeppelin's members. Every one of those guys was about as good as it can possibly get in their respective discipline.

(In the studio anyway. Saw them live in August of '70 and much as I hate to say it, they sucked. Sloppy, careless and apparently just going through the motions, they robbed every song of its power and emotion...well, emotion, anyway. They were still powerful, but it lacked coherence.)
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Old 06-17-2016, 11:28 AM
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I hate to see this because even though I like all the guys in the band, Page is my favorite. He seems to have a great zest for life and to be a genuinely nice guy.
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As I said before Page seems to be a really nice guy,
A really nice guy? He kidnapped and held captive a 14 year old girl and raped her repeatedly for years. He's plagiarized dozens of other artists for years, stealing their ideas and their songs and making millions while denying them compensation or satisfaction.

Jimmy Page is a fucking douchenozzle.
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Old 06-17-2016, 01:00 PM
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A really nice guy? He kidnapped and held captive a 14 year old girl and raped her repeatedly for years.
Say what now??
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Old 06-17-2016, 01:05 PM
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Say what now??
He's talking about Lori Maddox. It was a consensual affair, but she was way underage and legally incapable of consenting. She has admitted the LZ road manager kept her under 'lock and key'.

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Old 06-17-2016, 01:12 PM
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But I wouldn't have thought Page's superior talent would have been obvious to just about any guitar player of the era.
Randy California had been the teen protege of Jimi Hendrix ( pretty apparent in this track ) - the only reason he didn't go to England with him was his youth. With that kind of background I doubt he was particularly in awe of Page. Respectful, I'm sure, but probably not overwhelmed.

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Old 06-17-2016, 01:13 PM
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Say what now??
Ditto.
I don't mean to doubt you, Snowboarder Bo, but do you have a cite for that? It seems like he would be in prison or at least have stood trial if this were known to be a fact.
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Old 06-17-2016, 01:28 PM
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How do you really feel about Page, Bo?
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Old 06-17-2016, 02:05 PM
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Zep, partly because of their manager Peter Grant, were known as animals and thugs in the music industry. Not nice guys at all. It's easier to be seen as nice when you're a rich old rock god though. It would seem Plant was more the nice guy. He was just a kid at the time and has a lot of mixed feelings about it I think.

I wonder if Randy California had known of the provenance of Dazed and Confused before he taught Jimmy Taurus. There's a red warning light for you.
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Old 06-17-2016, 02:33 PM
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A really nice guy? He kidnapped and held captive a 14 year old girl and raped her repeatedly for years. He's plagiarized dozens of other artists for years, stealing their ideas and their songs and making millions while denying them compensation or satisfaction.

Jimmy Page is a fucking douchenozzle.
14-year-old groupies were not unusual in those days. I would imagine if Page genuinely kidnapped Maddox and held her captive the law would have come into play at some point during those years they were together. From what little I've read he had their road manager pick her up and bring her to him at his hotel room, after which the sex was consensual. (She wasn't a virgin at the time. Further, her first time was with David Bowie, who somehow doesn't come in for the shrill 'child rapist' label that some like to pin on Jimmy Page.) She fell in love with him and the relationship lasted for some time. All this informed consent stuff, where people capable of driving cars, graduating high school and fighting wars (with parental okay to join the military at 17) are considered incapable of figuring out if it's okay to have sex with someone is a recent development.

And if Page actually did plagiarize 'dozens' of songs I'm fine with it, provided he made out of them the vastly superior and different type of song that Stairway to Heaven is when compared to Taurus.

From what I've been able to glean, Page is a friendly, open and approachable guy with a good sense of humor and a real passion for life. So yeah, I thought he was a nice guy before and I still do now.

Last edited by Starving Artist; 06-17-2016 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 06-17-2016, 02:44 PM
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Randy California had been the teen protege of Jimi Hendrix ( pretty apparent in this track ) - the only reason he didn't go to England with him was his youth. With that kind of background I doubt he was particularly in awe of Page. Respectful, I'm sure, but probably not overwhelmed.
Interesting. I had no idea, thanks. I have to say though that my impression of California vs. Page consists mostly of having compared Taurus with Stairway to Heaven, and the fact that Spirit had only one hit, which to me was just a pretty standard and routine type of rock song of that era. I liked I Got A Line On You very much but never thought of it as an artistically superior song.
  #99  
Old 06-17-2016, 03:12 PM
Tamerlane is offline
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Originally Posted by Starving Artist View Post
I liked I Got A Line On You very much but never thought of it as an artistically superior song.
Courses for horses and all that, but the album Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus in particular is a 1960's classic IMHO. I find all of their 1960's output fairly adventurous actually ( in the context of what had come before ). I Got A Line On You was probably their most radio-friendly piece, but I certainly wouldn't label them one-hit wonders. They didn't lean particularly on California playing the guitar-hero, so he never really got a popular reputation as one, but he was pretty good for all of that.
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Old 06-17-2016, 03:28 PM
Starving Artist is offline
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Wow, I hadn't thought of that album in decades. I never knew it but I knew of it. This has been an interesting and educational thread. Thanks for your comments.

And speaking of the tie-in between Hendrix and California upthread, there's another guy Hendrix was high on who unfortunately died an early death, and that was Terry Kath of Chicago. I've read a couple different accounts of what Hendrix had to say about him, but on terrykath.com, Hendrix is said to have remarked to Chicago's saxophone player, "Your guitarist is better than me."

It's nice to know that Hendrix, that widely acknowledged paragon of guitar-playing, was apparently humble in acknowledging the talents of other guitarists.
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