Led Zeppelin Songs With Borrowed Or Stolen Lyrics

By Yeshwanth K

People into Hard Rock and Heavy Metal are familiar with the band “Led Zeppelin,” who happen to be famous for that kind of music. Over their successful career, they created music related to various genres such as rock, folk, blues, and others, which was not possible for most other bands.

Even though they have been famous worldwide for their top-notch performances, there are times when Led Zeppelin got their inspiration from other musicians. Yes, we are here to talk about the times when Led Zeppelin borrowed or stole their lyrics from others.

Photo credit: Bruce Alan Bennett / Shutterstock

1. “Boogie with Stu”

Copied lyrics from: “Ooh, My Head.”

People who are familiar with the musical journey of Led Zeppelin are aware of their most obvious situation where they borrowed lyrics from Ritchie Valens’ song “Ooh, My Head.”

The song was recorded in 1971 in London as a part of a Jam session with Ian “Stu” Stewart, a pianist from the band The Rolling Stones. The singer of Led Zeppelin “Robert Plant” used some of the lyrics from Valens’ song released in 1959.

Even though Led Zeppelin used “Mrs. Valens” in the credits, they were sued by Ritchie Valens’ music publisher regarding copyright infringement and settled out of court.

Page was shocked and mentioned in the “Guitar World” in 1998 that, even though the band tried to give credit to the artist’s mother, they were sued by the artist who owned the copyright.


“Ooh, My Head”

Well, well, now, now, baby

Let’s just go all night long

Well, on, on, on, on, darlin

I just want you-to-go-on more

There won’t be no tuttie fruiti

No lolly pop, come on baby just

Rock, rock, rock

Well, now, now, now, now, honey

We gonna rock all night

Well babe, babe, babe, babe, baby

We’re just gonna go fine

Well on, on, on, on, darlin’

Ooh, my head!

“Boogie with Stu”

Been in town, my baby, We just got to rock on

Yeah, darling, we just got to go home

I don’t want no tutti-frutti, no lollipop

Come on, baby, just rock, rock, rock.

Yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah, honey

We’ve been shakin’ all night

Oh, darlin’, we just got to roll right

Ooh, my head… rock on.

2. “Whole Lotta Love”

Copied lyrics from: “You Need Love”

Even though most people might not have heard of Willie Dixon, he was a great artist who was a Grammy winner and was inducted into the Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Blues Hall of Fame. He also got credited for many of his works.

“Whole Lotta Love” was the opening song of Led Zeppelin’s second album with the same name, which is now released with credit to Dixon on all their publications.

In this song, not all the lyrics were the own creation of Page, and as we described earlier, the lyrics from Willie Dixon’s song were paraphrased and used in this song.

In the year 1962, American singer Muddy Waters used the lyrics written by Dixon and recorded the song “You Need Love”. Later in 1968, a British musician band is known as “Small Faces” did their recording of Waters’ song and named it “You Need Loving.”

Steve Marriott, who is a vocalist from Small Faces said that Page and Plant from Led Zeppelin saw their song while it was being performed and were extremely impressed by it. Later, Plant sang their own “Whole Lotta Love” song, where the lyrics had similar phrases and pauses.

In 1985, Led Zeppelin was sued for this, and this legal dispute was resolved in the favor of Dixon.


“You Need Love”

You’ve got yearnin’ and I got burnin’

Baby you look so sweet and cunning

Baby way down inside, woman you need love

Woman you need love, you’ve got to have some love

I’m gonna give you some love, I know you need love

You just gotta have love, you make me feel so good

You make me feel all right, you’re so nice, you’re so nice

You’re frettin’, and I’m petting

A lot of good things you ain’t getting

Baby, way down inside, you need love

You need to be hugged and squeezed real tight,

By the light of the moon on some summer night

You need love and kissing too,

All these things are good for you

I ain’t foolin’ you need schoolin’

Baby you know you need coolin’

Baby, way down inside, woman you need love

“Whole Lotta Love”

You need coolin’, baby, I’m not foolin’,

I’m gonna send you back to schoolin’,

Way down inside, honey, you need it,

I’m gonna give you my love,

I’m gonna give you my love.

Wanna whole lotta love

You’ve been learnin’, baby, I’ve been yearnin’,

All them good times, baby, baby, I’ve been learnin’,

Way, way down inside, honey, you need it,

I’m gonna give you my love

I’m gonna give you my love.

Wanna whole lotta love

You’ve been coolin’, baby, I’ve been droolin’,

All the good times baby I’ve been misusin’,

Way, way down inside, I’m gonna give you my love,

I’m gonna give you every inch of my love,

Gonna give you my love.

3. “The Lemon Song”

Copied Lyrics from: “Traveling Riverside Blues” and “Killing Floor”

Copying lyrics from one song is one thing, but copying the lyrics from two different pieces and making them into one song is entirely different.

“The Lemon Song” was a track recorded by Led Zeppelin during their second tour of North America. This song is composed of borrowed lyrics from two different songs and is considered a song with highly sexual lyrics.

One of those songs is “Killing Floor” by Howlin’ Wolf, and the second song is “Traveling Riverside Blues” by Robert Johnson.

Led Zeppelin performed “Traveling Riverside Blues” for BBC recordings and live performances” under the same title, and the band released these after a couple of decades.

Similarly, in 1968 and 1969, the band performed “Killing Floor” before it became an inspiration for their “The Lemon Song”. When Led Zeppelin came up with their own version of the song, “Killing Floor” was slowed down.

In 1972, Arc Music (owner of Howlin’ Wolf’s rights) sought legal action for this act by Led Zeppelin, and Chester Burnett (legal name of Howlin’ Wolf) was listed on all the releases of Led Zeppelin as a co-writer for that song.


“Killing Floor”

I shoulda quit you, long time ago

I shoulda quit you, baby, long time ago

I shoulda quit you and went on to Mexico

If I had’a followed, my first mind

If I had’a followed, my first mind

I’da been gone, since my second time

I shoulda went on, when my friend come from Mexico at me

I shoulda went on, when my friend come from Mexico at me

But now I was foolin’ with ya baby, I let ya put me on the killin’ floor

“Traveling Riverside Blues “

Now you can squeeze me lemon ’til the juice run down my…

(‘ Til the juice run down my leg, baby, you know what I’m talking about)

You can squeeze my lemon ’til the juice run down my leg

(That’s what I’m talking ’bout now)

“The Lemon Song”

I should have quit you long time ago, long time ago

I wouldn’t be here, my children, down on this killin’ floor

I should have listened, baby, to my second mind [2x] Every time I go away and leave you, darling,

You send me the blues way down the line

Squeeze me baby,

‘Til the juice runs down my leg, oh

Please, squeeze me baby,

Until the juice runs down my leg

The way you squeeze my lemon

I’m gonna fall right out of bed, bed, bed, babe yeah

4. “Bring It On Home”

Copied Lyrics from: “Bring It On Home”

This is another song written by Willie Dixon, of which Led Zeppelin used some lyrics without crediting the actual writer. This song was originally recorded by “Sonny Boy Williamson II” in 1963, while the lyrics were written by “Willie Dixon.”

Even though the band paid homage to Williamson in the beginning and the end of their version of the tune, they didn’t credit the writer Dixon.

In 1972, the band was sued for this along with the Howlin’ Wolf’s song, as the publisher of both these songs was the same and was settled out of court. Now, the song’s authorship is only credited to Dixon even though Page and Plant put some effort into the song.

However, the song duration is 4 minutes and 30 seconds, and almost 2 minutes (including the beginning and ending) of the song were the lyrics from Williamson’s version. Therefore, it cannot be considered as something minuscule.


“Bring It on Home” – (Williamson)

Baby, baby

I’m gonna bring it on home to you

I done bought my ticket, I got my load

Conductor done hollered, “All aboard”

Take my seat and ride way back

And watch this train move down the track

Baby, baby

I’m gonna bring it on home to you

I think about the good time I once have had

Soul got happy now, my heart got glad

I think about the way you love me too

You can bet your life, I’m comin’ home to you

I’m goin’ home

I’m gonna bring it on home, now

I’m gonna bring it on home, now

I’m gonna bring it on home, now

Gonna bring it on home

Bring it on home to you

“Bring It On Home” – (Led Zeppelin)

Baby, baby

I’m gonna bring it on home to you

I’ve got my ticket, got that load

Got up, gone higher, all aboard

Take my seat, right way back

I watch this train roll down the track

I’m gonna bring it on home

Bring it on home to you

Watch out, watch out, man move

5. “In My Time of Dying”

Inspiration: “In My Time of Dying” also called “Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed.”

One of the famous tracks of Led Zeppelin, which was featured in their album “Physical Graffiti” and clocks around 11 minutes is the song “In My Time of Dying” and was released in the year 1975.

The prior version of this tune was released way back in the year 1928, which was recorded by Blind Willie Johnson, and the lyrics were dated even before that.

This song was based on a gospel song, while the lyrics referred to a passage of the Bible that can be found in Psalms (Psalm 41:3), and therefore, even Johnson might not be considered as the original author for this song.

Before Led Zeppelin released this song, other singers like Bob Dylan, John Sebastian, and The Soul Stirrers also recorded this song.

However, artists like Led Zeppelin seem to have gotten their inspiration from the version recorded by Bob Dylan. Some people say that the version released by Led Zeppelin happens to be less positive compared to the other versions.

Unlike other songs in this list, Physical Graffiti lists all the 4 musicians who performed before Led Zeppelin, and there were no changes in credits or lawsuits.

There is no need for comparative lyrics because the lyrics were changed radically over time, and this can only be observed as a traditional song with no set lyrics.

6. “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”

Copied Lyrics and Music from: “It’s Nobody’s Fault But Mine”

Page from Led Zeppelin has accepted during an interview that Plant wanted to do the song “It’s Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” which was originally recorded by “Blind Willie Johnson” (yes, him again).

Similar to the song “In My Time of Dying,” this song was also done by several other musicians over time, and it was also a gospel/blues song.

Led Zeppelin combined the song by Blind Willie Johnson and “Hell Hound on My Trail,” which was a song by Robert Johnson, and made their very own version.

The lyrics of “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” are very similar to the original version sung by Blind Willie Johnson that was released in 1928. However, this song didn’t have a credited songwriter during that time, and taking advantage of that scenario, Page and Plant listed themselves as authors for this song.

“It’s Nobody’s Fault But Mine” – (Johnson)


Nobody’s fault-a but mine

Nobody’s fault by mine

If I don’t read, my soul be lost

I have a Bible in my arm

I have a Bible in my arm

If I don’t read my soul be lost


Bible taught me how to read

Bible taught me how to read

If I don’t read my soul be lost

Nobody’s fault-a but mine

“Nobody’s Fault But Mine” – (Led Zeppelin)

Nobody’s fault but mine

Nobody’s fault but mine

Trying to save my soul tonight

It’s nobody’s fault but mine

Devil he told me to roll

Devil he told me to roll

How to roll the log tonight

Nobody’s fault but mine

7. “Custard Pie”

“Custard Pie” is another song of Led Zeppelin from the album Physical Graffiti, which is an overtly sexual song.

If you thought combining two songs into one song is too much, then this song has lyrics and music copied from three different songs namely “Drop Down” by Sleepy John Estes, “Shake ‘Em On Down” by Bukka White, and “I Want Some of Your Pie” by Blind Boy Fuller.

“Shake ’em on down” is the lyric taken from the first song, the opening lines from the second song, and some of the lines from the third song were used respectively.

Nevertheless, Led Zeppelin was not sued for this song, and even till today, Page and Plant are the accredited authors for this song.


“Drop Down Mama”

Now, drop down, baby, let your daddy be

I know just what you’re tryin’ to pull on me

Well my mama, she don’t allow me to fool ’round all night long

Now I may look like I’m crazy, poor John do know right from wrong

“Shake ‘Em On Down”

Yes, you’re a nice girl, mama

And little girl

Night before day

We gonna

Shake ’em on down

“I Want Some of Your Pie”

Now, your custard pie is good an’ nice

When you cut it, please save me a slice

You gotta give me some of it

You gotta give me some of it

You gotta give me some of it

“Custard Pie”

Drop down, baby, let your daddy see.

Drop down, my lady, just dream of me

Well, my mama allow me to fool around all night long

Well, I may look like I’m crazy, I should know right from wrong

See me comin’, throw your man outdoor

Ain’t no stranger, done been this way before

See me comin’, mama, I throw your man outdoor

I ain’t no stranger, I been this way before.

Put on your night shirt and your morning gown

You know by night I’m gonna shake ’em on down

Put on your night shirt, mama, and your morning gown

Well, you know by night I’m sure gonna shake ’em on down

Shake it, shake it

Ooh, your custard pie, yeah, sweet and nice

When you cut it, mama, save me a slice

Your custard pie, yeah,

I declare you’re sweet and nice like your custard pie

When you cut it, mama… mama, please save me a slice

8. “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp”

 Copied Music from: “The Waggoner’s Lad”

“Bron-Y-Aur Stomp” is a country-sounding tune from Led Zeppelin III, which has an extreme similarity with the song “The Waggoner’s Lad” recorded by Scottish folk artist Bert Jansch in his album “Jack Orion.”

In the song, Jansch makes use of a banjo while the guitar part was covered by John Renbourn, and both of these sound the same as what Page played in “Bron-Y-Aur-Stomp.”

However, Jansch’s version was only instrumental and is credited to “traditional” and therefore, no lawsuits were filed against Led Zeppelin in this case.

9. “Since I’ve Been Loving You”

Copied Lyrics from: “Never.”

“Since I’ve Been Loving You” song was described as the best guitar solo of all time, and the songwriting credits were given to Jones, Page, and Plant while Jones plays organ along with a bass pedal drum squeak.

This song’s opening and closing lyrics are extremely similar to the song “Never” by Moby Grape which was released in the year 1968. Not just the lyrics but the mood of the song is also the same as Moby Grape’s version.



Working from eleven to seven every night

Ought to make life a drag, now I know that ain’t right.

Thinking ’bout those bad times I wish you really knew,

How happy I would be if I were living love with you

Yeah, I’ve gone a long time at best, I’m glad of that

I’ve been to see the best of fools and I thought I had it pat

Know I love you, baby, I don’t need no one else

Come love me, baby, hear my crying

Can’t you hear me? Come on back, baby, bring your love on home,

I’m needing you bad and knowing I’m sad

Bring your love, bring it on home ’cause I love you, yeah, I love you

“Since I’ve Been Loving You”

Working from seven to eleven every night

Really makes the life a drag

I don’t think that’s right

I’ve really been the best, the best of fools

I did what I could

‘Cause I love you, baby

How I love you, darling

How I love you, baby

My beloved little girl, little girl

I’ve been, I’ve been working from seven to eleven every night

I said it kinda makes my life a drag, drag, drag, drag

Lord, that ain’t right, no, no

Do you remember mama, when I knocked upon your door?

I said you had the nerve to tell me you didn’t want me no more

I open my front door, I hear my back door slam

You know, I must have one of them new fangled, new fangled back-door man

10. “Stairway to Heaven”

Copied Music from: “Taurus.”

This song should have got the top place in our list because it is one of the most controversial songs of Led Zeppelin for borrowing/stealing from another musician.

This song has a resemblance with “Taurus” by American band Spirit that was released in the year 1968 and was written originally by Randy California.

Even though the song by Led Zeppelin was released way back in 1972, a lawsuit was filed in 2014 by Mark Andes (Bassist for Spirit) and Randy California’s trust to attain a writing credit for California.

California died in 1997, yet the lawsuit was filed after so many years because Spirit was not financially stable back in those days and they thought that they may not be able to stand against a powerful label such as “Atlantic” (Led Zeppelin’s label).

If the lawsuit was successful, then California (his trust) was not going to receive the $500 million past earnings, but they might receive a cut from the future earnings. In June 2016, a jury rules in favor of Led Zeppelin that the similarities in the songs were not enough for copyright infringement.

In March 2017, the verdict was appealed stating that the jury should have listened to the recording of “Taurus” rather than opting for giving judgment based on written music.

Till now, the case is going on, and we are not sure whether Led Zeppelin would have to credit California in their song.

Bottom Line:

These are the 10 instances of Led Zeppelin where we can see them stealing/borrowing/lifting lyrics or music from other artists without proper credits.

Nevertheless, Led Zeppelin is an extremely successful band, and regardless of being successful, we should remember the fact that everyone must acquire their inspiration from others whether it is for lyrics or music, and Led Zeppelin also did the same.