Led Zeppelin – Dazed And Confused

The writing credit on this song is Jimmy Page but is based on an acoustic song with the same title that Jimmy Page heard folk singer Jake Holmes perform. When Page was a member of The Yardbirds, they played on the same bill with Holmes at the Village Theatre in New York City. Holmes’ version is about an acid trip, but contains many of the same elements that made their way into the Led Zeppelin version: walking bass line, paranoid lyrics and an overall spooky sound.

Led Zeppelin’s version was not credited to Jake Holmes, as Page felt that he changed enough of the melody and added enough new lyrics to escape a plagiarism lawsuit. Well that didn’t work, many years later Jake Holmes sued Zeppelin in 2010 for the song. The suit was “dismissed with prejudice” on January 17, 2012, after an undisclosed settlement between Page and Holmes was reached out of court in the fall of 2011. After that the song was credited “By Page – Inspired by Jake Holmes.”

Jake Holmes was never successful commercially as a singer/songwriter…but you know his work. He wrote many famous jingles, including “Be a All That You Can Be” for the US Army and “Be A Pepper” for Dr. Pepper. He also wrote songs for Frank Sinatra and The Four Seasons.

The Yardbirds played the song in concert, but never recorded a studio version, although they did play it for a BBC taping in March 1968. This was one of the first songs Led Zeppelin recorded. It was released as a single in the US in January 1969, two weeks before the album was issued.

At live shows, Page played this using a violin bow on his guitar. He claimed that he got the idea from a session violinist he worked with who suggested it. Eddie Phillips of the UK band The Creation guitarist pioneered the use of the violin bow on guitar strings, predating Page doing it in The Yardbirds by two years.

The song didn’t chart but the self titled album peaked at #10 on the Billboard Album Charts, #11 in Canada and #6 in the UK in 1969.

Jake Holmes – “We were on the bill with The Yardbirds. We performed it there and blew the place apart with that song, and that’s when Jimmy Page saw it. From what I gather from The Yardbirds, Page sent somebody out to get my album. He did a great job, but he certainly ripped me off.”

Dazed And Confused

Been dazed and confused for so long, it’s not true
Wanted a woman, never bargained for you
Lots of people talk and few of them know
Soul of a woman was created below, yeah

You hurt and abuse, tellin’ all of your lies
Run ’round, sweet baby, Lord, how they hypnotize
Sweet little baby, I don’t know where you’ve been
Gonna love you, baby, here I come again

Every day I work so hard, bringin’ home my hard-earned pay
Try to love you, baby, but you push me away
Don’t know where you’re goin’, only know just where you’ve been
Sweet little baby, I want you again

Ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Ahh, ah
Ahh, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ahh, ah

Oh yeah, alright, alright
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah

I don’t like when you’re mystifyin’ me
Oh, don’t leave me so confused, now
Whoa, baby

Been dazed and confused for so long, it’s not true
Wanted a woman, never bargained for you
Take it easy, baby, let them say what they will
Tongue wag so much when I sent you the bill
Oh yeah, alright

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, ah, ah, ah, ah


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

28 thoughts on “Led Zeppelin – Dazed And Confused”

    1. It would have helped their reputation in the long run to give credit and the amount of money they made would not have been affected that bad.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Amazing how much stuff Zep nicked. lol Guess they figured at the time “I will borrow a bit of this and that’ yet over time it caught up to them. Yet they don’t seem to bothered by it….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Picasso once said amateurs borrow professionals steal…I think ole Jimmy took that to heart.
      Just give the people credit…it would not have made a huge difference in money over time considering the court time etc…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. It is a better version of the same song, and they sure did try to get away with a lot. Last November, a long-lost 13 minute recording of Led Zeppelin performing ‘Dazed And Confused’ in Amsterdam on October 5, 1969 was posted online.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t see how he defended himself by saying “I changed it”…no Jimmy you didn’t really. They did a great job though…that doesn’t take away from that.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. One of my (many) favourite Led Zeppelin songs. Didn’t realise the story behind it … and in fact it just didn’t register that my re-issue album version actually carriedthe ‘inspired by Jake Holmes notation.
    I hope he was well rewarded in his out of court settlement.
    (First black mark in my book for the mighty Zepp!) 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t know why Jimmy did this to other artists for…not counting the Stairway to Heaven one…but Willie Dixon and others had to sue…I still like Zeppelin though don’t get me wrong. I did like the 3rd album on more than the first two…but I’m probably in the minority lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I was never a Led Zeppelin fan. Part of it was that, as a blues fan, I found blues-rock mostly annoying – shredding on top of good songs, playing more notes (or louder with more distortion) to try to sound like a virtuoso to make up for the fact that you really didn’t get it. The bigger part of it was that the notion of white people stealing from black composers was already known. Led Zeppelin could not be naively ripping off black artists. They made millions from knowingly stealing and hoping that white privilege would enable them to get away with it. The old quotations re: borrowing vs stealing notwithstanding, with the cultural history of the US, white people stealing the livelihood from black people takes that to another level. I still can’t respect Led Zeppelin.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve never been a huge Zeppelin fan but I do listen to them some…more of their third album on…when they started to get away from the hard blues stuff…they mixed folk and harder rock but yea…Jimmy knew what he was doing…he was/is not stupid. Other artists like Clapton at least gives credit when it’s due. Their first two albums “borrowed” many riffs and melodies from many artists.

      What is so confusing about it is they proved they could write their own songs so I don’t know why he did it… I hope Holmes got a big reward and I’m pretty sure Willie Dixon did.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Hope Holmes got a good payoff for it, especially since in LZ’s case it seems unlikely it was subconscious…more like their M.O. in the early days. Still, origins aside, quite a good track & one synonymous with Zep to me. Too bad Jimmy didn’t do his own spin on ‘wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper too?’

    Liked by 3 people

    1. They did well with the song but when you listen to the Holmes version…it’s a no brainer…you don’t accidently steal that…the Holmes version was the song…it’s like hearing an unplugged version of Zeppelins .


    1. I said almost the same thing in the comments….there are traces on the 3 album but they started to grow then and incorporate folk/rock and got away a little from the bombastic first two albums.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The Holmes song is the architecture all the bright and loud overpinnings are tacked onto. All the improvements- and I won’t deny they made the song a whole lot better than the bare bones version- would just flutter away without the basic foundation of the Holmes creation. But, as always when ripp- being inspired by someone else’s work, the audience remember the hit, the originator misses out. I can’t really blame Zep or whoever from repurposing someone else’s excellent work, it was often done back in the day- but then I’m not poor out of pocket Jake Holmes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They improved it no doubt. They turned it into a sonic sounding song.
      I don’t understand why Holmes didn’t try something earlier. I have read since… he did get a good sum out of them. Jimmy took the others to trial but not Holmes…he knew he would lose. At least he got something out of the deal. You are right…history will forget Jake Holmes.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I really think trying to compare the first song with Zep’s song is laughable. That’s like a primer set of paints saying DaVinci ripped off their color scheme. I love the live performance you included. When they “stick to the program” it sends chills up and down my spine, but Jimmy’s hot-dogging gets a little wearisome. There is something about the Plant-Page connection that reaches right into my very being and shakes it. Of course they couldn’t be who they are without the two Johns either.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea it’s like they used it as a skeleton and they filled out the rest. They did a great job making it sonic sounding.
      Did you hear about Jeff Beck? So sad…another one gone.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No I didn’t 😦 So sorry to hear it.

        About Zep and other artists “stealing” there is two ways to look at it. If Zep hadn’t done that song nobody would have remembered the original artist and the song would fade into nothingness. Now the original artist’s song is immortalized. Did they steal a skeleton? Maybe, but that skeleton never would have danced without them. They did the right thing by paying him something and putting attribution on it. Do I look down on Zep for what they did? HELL NO. Artists steal from each other by nature.

        Great director, Jim Jarmusch writes:
        ❝Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.❞

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yea it wouldn’t have been known but I am glad he did get something out of it. He probably was glad they did it because he is probably living better now. My problem with Holmes is he should have brought it up at the time and not wait 40 years.

        If someone copied one of my songs…I would hit them up quickly.

        I commented with someone about it…I quoted Picasso… Amateurs borrow…professionals steal lol.

        Beck was one of the greats…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks for letting me vent, Max, and Picasso is right. We as a species keep building upon what comes before — until a major extinction event — and then we have to start over.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. We all steal ideas but come on Jim, it’s easy just tell the truth. Despite all that nonsense I absolutely love the cut. Heard it at a very young age so it colored my tastes in music. That live cut sounds mean and Nasty. I like it.

    Liked by 1 person

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