When Robert Plant Confronted Pearl Jam For Ripping Off Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin is a legendary rock band that released a great number of hits throughout their musical career. While producing those rock classics, Led Zeppelin created their sound under the influence of various genres. However, one cannot say that all their songs were a product of their creative output as they were sometimes ‘influenced’ by others.
As you know, Led Zeppelin struggled with legal troubles due to copyright claims. Their worldwide known rock hit ‘Stairway To Heaven’ was ‘inspired’ by Spirit’s ‘Taurus.’ On the other hand, ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’ actually belonged to Anne Bredon, and ‘You Shook Me’ and ‘Whole Lotta Love’ were also claimed to be rip-offs.
However, Zeppelin has also accused others of ripping off their classic records. For instance, they sued HBO for copyright claims of ‘Kashmir.’ That being said, the band’s frontman Robert Plant once implied that Pearl Jam ripped off a Led Zeppelin song as well. Let’s learn the details of what happened.
Robert Plant Pointed Out The Resemblance Between Pearl Jam’s ‘Given To Fly’ And Zeppelin’s ‘Going To California’
In a previous interview on Sirius XM’s Pearl Jam Radio, Mike McCready interviewed Robert Plant. In the interview, the Led Zeppelin singer implied that Pearl Jam might have ripped off their ‘Going To California.’ Talking about the creative process behind making a song, Plant also said that musicians mustn’t repeat themselves.
Following that, Plant mentioned Pearl Jam’s song and jokingly named it Led Zeppelin’s ‘Going To California.’ He then said he was sorry to forget the song’s name, and McCready reminded him that it was ‘Given To Fly.’
McCready then allusively said that everyone borrows or steals from some other artist at some point. After that, Plant told the Pearl Jam guitarist that that was exactly what their singer Eddie Vedder said. As a response, McCready recalled that Vedder dedicated the song to Plant and acknowledged him by calling the song ‘Given To California.’
As reported by Ultimate Guitar, Robert Plant told McCready about how important it is to create as follows:
“Crucial, absolutely crucial. Being an entertainer, outside of skill, craft, experience, and whatever else it is you grow into, repetition is a hell of an evil bedfellow.
To repeat yourself as regularly as we do as entertainers, you know this, I mean how many times have you played ‘Going to California’? Oh sorry, whatever your song is called? Fucking hell, what is it called?”
Mike McCready then responded while laughing:
“It’s called ‘Given to Fly,’ yes, yes.”
“Yeah, yeah, whoopsadaisy. Mind you, nobody’s perfect. The truth of the matter is…”
“We all borrow, right? Or steal?“
Plant told him:
“Well, that’s what your singer said.”
McCready then replied:
“Yes. He said ‘Given to California.’ When you came to see us in Sweden, we did the song, and he said, he dedicated it to you I think, and acknowledged you, and said ‘Given to California.'”
Plant jokingly said to him that:
“It’s a good job he had some dancing girls backstage afterward to take the heat out of the moment. We’re all mature, so we all know that’s okay. I didn’t get a check in the post, nothing like that.”
Robert Plant told the guitarist that they all are mature individuals who know that’s okay to an extent. Therefore, it seems that the ‘ripping off accusation’ was not a serious one. Moreover, Led Zeppelin’s ‘Going To California’ was released in 1971, while Pearl Jam released ‘Given To Fly’ in 1998. So, the timeline and the resemblance in their sound makes it possible that Pearl Jam might have been influenced by Led Zeppelin’s track.
You can listen to Led Zeppelin’s ‘Going To California’ and Pearl Jam’s ‘Given To Fly’ below to check out the similarities yourself.