Jimmy Page Never Went After the Beastie Boys for Sampling Led Zeppelin Songs

by Jeremy Spirogis
The Beastie Boys in the late

For followers of Led Zeppelin, discovering a “greatest” or perhaps a favourite music may be powerful. And it’s not very totally different for the band members themselves. Whenever Zep founder Jimmy Page fields that query, it appears like he’s being requested to select a favourite baby.

But even for a band that made numerous grandiose statements on their information, “When the Levee Breaks” stands above most Zep songs. That observe, in fact, kicks off with the John Bonham drum beat that sounds just like the conflict march of a vicious medieval battalion.

And when the Beastie Boys had been placing collectively their first album, they realized that Bonham’s “When the Levee Breaks” beat might function an applicable opening assertion. So they looped it, added a couple of file scratches, and had it kick off License to Ill (1986).

But the Beasties didn’t cease there. Two basic Page riffs — one from Houses of the Holy, one from Physical Graffiti — additionally made it onto the trio’s No. 1 debut album (rap’s first). And someway it by no means prompted authorized motion by Page or Zep’s attorneys.

The Beastie Boys stated they by no means heard from Led Zeppelin legal professionals

The Beastie Boys in the late '80s
Adam Horovitz, Mike Diamond and Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys | Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection through Getty Images

RELATED: ‘When the Levee Breaks’: How Jimmy Page Recorded John Bonham’s Epic Drum Part

Looking again on the golden age of hip hop (roughly, 1986-94), you may as nicely name it a golden age of sampling, too. So many glowing cuts from the period used James Brown beats (and extra) as backgrounds for the nice lyricists and producers of the day.

On Eric B. and Rakim’s “I Know You Got Soul” (1987), the duo closely sampled The J.B.’s 1971 music (of the identical identify) to make certainly one of their masterpieces. Taking that pattern out would change the music fully, and you may say the identical for the Beasties’ “Rhymin and Stealin.”

Without Bonham’s epic drums, the Beasties wouldn’t have projected the identical degree of swagger on their hit album’s opening observe. You might argue the identical for “She’s Crafty,” which borrowed Page’s “The Ocean” riff all through. (A snippet of Page’s “Custard Pie” riff additionally turned up on License to Ill.)

But regardless of the flagrant Zep sampling, Beastie Boy Michael Diamond (Mike D) stated his group by no means heard from Zeppelin’s representatives. Later feedback by Page may clarify why.

Jimmy Page thought-about the Beasties’ sampling ‘a compliment’

Led Zeppelin performing in Denmark in 1970Led Zeppelin performing in Denmark in 1970
Led Zeppelin, February 1970, in Copenhagen, Denmark | Jorgen Angel/Redferns

While Zep singer Robert Plant admitted to stealing lyrics from a minimum of one blues music, there have been instances when Page thought-about copyright lawsuits towards them to be frivolous. (“Bring It On Home,” which Page thought was an apparent tribute to Sonny Boy Williamson, counts amongst them.)

In the case of the Beasties sampling Zep materials, it seems Page stayed constant in his thought of a tribute. “I guess I felt it was a compliment,” Page advised Radio.com in 2014. Though he didn’t elaborate on this event, Page observed the opposite samples.

“I know the Beastie Boys used quite a bit of our stuff, really, didn’t they?” he stated. Maybe it’s a case of “what goes around, comes around” then. If you made that argument, it’d recall to mind lyrics from the Beasties’ second album. That observe, “What Comes Around,” additionally featured a Led Zeppelin pattern.

RELATED: How Jimi Hendrix’s Engineer Reacted to Hearing Led Zeppelin for the first Time

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