First recorded by Kansas Joe McCoy & Memphis Minnie (1929).
Hit album version by Led Zeppelin (1971).
From the wiki: “The blues song ‘When the Levee Breaks’ was written and first recorded by husband and wife Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie in 1929, in reaction to the upheaval caused by the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 that ravaged the state of Mississippi and surrounding areas. The flood destroyed tens of thousands of homes and devastated the agricultural economy of the whole Mississippi Basin, forcing people to flee to the cities of the Midwest in search of work and contributing to the ‘Great Migration’ of African Americans to the industrial North in the first half of the 20th century.
“The song was re-worked in 1971 by UK rock group Led Zeppelin, and released as the final track on Led Zeppelin IV. According to Led Zeppelin guitarist and producer Jimmy Page, the famous drum performance of John Bonham was a happy accident:
Written and first recorded by Jake Holmes (1967).
Also recorded (as “I’m Confused”) by The Yardbirds (1968).
Hit album version by Led Zeppelin (1969)
From the wiki: “‘Dazed and Confused’ was written and first recorded by Jake Holmes for his debut solo album The Above Ground Sound of Jake Holmes, released in June 1967. The song has been incorrectly labelled as a tale about a bad acid trip; however, Holmes has confirmed that is not the case – that the song refers to the potential break-up of a relationship, typical of Blues numbers.
“In August 1967, Holmes opened for The Yardbirds at a Greenwich Village gig in New York City. According to Holmes, ‘That was the infamous moment of my life when ‘Dazed and Confused’ fell into the loving arms and hands of Jimmy Page.’ When ‘Dazed and Confused’ subsequently appeared on Led Zeppelin’s album in 1969, Holmes was aware of it but didn’t follow up on it at that time. He said: ‘In the early 1980s, I did write them a letter and I said basically: ‘I understand it’s a collaborative effort, but I think you should give me credit at least and some remuneration.’ But they never contacted me.’
“In June 2010, Holmes finally brought suit against Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page for copyright infringement, claiming to have written and recorded ‘Dazed and Confused’ two years before it appeared on Led Zeppelin’s debut album. In court documents Holmes cited a 1967 copyright registration for the song which he had renewed in 1995. This court case was ‘dismissed with prejudice’, as the parties settled out of court in January 2012.
Written and first performed by Anne Bredon (1959).
First commercial recording by Joan Baez (1961).
Also recorded by The Plebs (1964), The Association (1965).
Album hit version by Led Zeppelin (1969).
From the wiki: “‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’ was written by Anne Bredon née Johannsen in the late 1950s. Bredon appeared on the live Folk music radio show, The Midnight Special, on Pacifica radio’s KPFA singing ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’. A fellow Folk singer guesting on the program, Janet Smith, took up the song and developed it further, playing it live at hootenanny events at Oberlin College, one performance of which was attended by Joan Baez. Baez requested of Smith to send her a recording of her songs, including ‘Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You’, which Baez subsequently began performing herself.
“Vanguard Records, Baez’s label, later sent Smith a letter asking if she had written ‘Babe’. In the meantime, Baez had recorded the song and included it on her In Concert album. Initial pressings listed no writer’s credit for ‘Babe’. The 1964 recording by the Surrey, England, band The Plebs credits ‘Trad arr. Dennis’ but, later the same year, the Joan Baez Songbook rightfully lists Anne Bredon as the author as does the 1965 recording of the song by The Association. (It was the group’s first single release, but had no chart impact.)
Inspired by “You Need Love” by Muddy Waters (1963)
and “You Need Loving” by Small Faces (1966).
Hit version by Led Zeppelin (US #4 1969).
From the wiki: “In 1962, Muddy Waters recorded ‘You Need Love’, written for him by peer Willie Dixon. In 1966 British mod band the Small Faces recorded the song as ‘You Need Loving’ for their 1966 debut album. Some of the lyrics of Led Zeppelin’s version were copied from the Willie Dixon song, a favorite of Plant’s. Plant’s phrasing is particularly similar to that of Steve Marriott’s in the Small Faces’ version. Similarities with ‘You Need Love’ would lead to a lawsuit against Led Zeppelin in 1985, settled out of court in favor of Dixon.
First recorded by Little Richard (R&B #7/UK #9 1956).
Also covered by The Animals (1964), The Everly Brothers (1965), The Flamin’ Groovies (1969), Led Zeppelin/The Nobs (1970), Mick Ronson (1975), Darts (as “Daddy Cool/The Girl Can’t Help It” UK #6 1977), Bonnie Raitt (as “The Boy Can’t Help It” (1979), Babes in Toyland (2001).
From the wiki: “‘The Girl Can’t Help It’ is the title song to the film The Girl Can’t Help It, composed by songwriter Bobby Troup (‘Route 66’, ‘Girl Talk’, ‘The Meaning of the Blues’). The recording was released in December 1956 and peaked at #49 on the Billboard Top 100 singles chart (also UK #9 and US R&B #7 ), and is included in the Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Originally, Fats Domino was lined up to record the track, which was not written to be a Rock song. The movie, The Girl Can’t Help It, was originally intended as a vehicle for the American sex symbol Jayne Mansfield, with a satirical subplot involving teenagers and rock ‘n’ roll music. The unintended result has been called the ‘most potent’ celebration of Rock music ever captured on film. The original music score included the title song performed by Little Richard. Reportedly, the producers had wanted Elvis for ‘The Girl Can’t Help It’, but Elvis’s manager Tom Parker demanded too much money.
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