When one considers the case against Led Zeppelin in relation to Dazed And Confused, when one weighs up the evidence and listens to the song, one must ask how on earth could they have called the song on Led Zeppelin I by the same name as Jake Holmes’ song when there were indeed so many similarities?
Here’s the version from his album, The Above Ground Sound Of Jake Holmes from 1967 and actually a ripping live version of Led Zeppelin’s Dazed and Confused from 1969.
The dictionary definition of plagiarism is “the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own.” It seems that Led Zeppelin may have done just that . . . even if you argue that they didn’t copy it, they certainly took the idea. But then every blues song is plagiarism isn’t it?
In the case of U2, I read somewhere that Island had overspent on all their other great acts that didn’t sell and U2 hadn’t been paid royalties owed for the millions of records that they were selling and they were owed so much money by Island that they gave them half the company instead. This may be a very loose version of the truth and I really do not know the facts but Bob Marley was signed to Island and if Island owned Marley’s work and owed U2 so much money they would hardly be suing them, they might then have come to a sensible agreement.
The fact is that when Bono sings, “One love” in One, he surely should have said . . . ‘Nah, I can’t do that, that’s One Love by Bob Marley’ . . . apparently he didn’t. He might at least have chosen another title (like Led Zeppelin he saw no conflict) or was it a nod to Marley anyway with an agreement with Island that he wouldn’t be sued. Still why wouldn’t Bono at least acknowledge the similarity in the writing credit, it’s not like U2 needed the money and the Marley credit would also have helped Island out with their financial difficulties as well as giving money to Marley’s estate? I guess he just didn’t hear the similarity or think it was an issue and even if there was an issue it was such a fleeting moment in the two songs ‘ideas’ being the same, that it simply didn’t matter.