Why Robert Plant And Jimmy Page Sued HBO And Won The Case

Originally named the New Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin is one of the most famous bands in rock music history. Led Zeppelin was formed in 1968 and is considered among the pioneers of hard rock and heavy metal. They also have a highly innovative and powerful sound that has been influenced by various genres, including blues and folk.

Since their formation, the pioneers of hard rock have sold more than 300 million records worldwide. Led Zeppelin recorded numerous commercially successful albums throughout their prolific career and produced classic hits, including ‘Black Dog,’ ‘Kashmir,’ ‘ Whole Lotta Love,’ and the most popular, ‘Stairway To Heaven.’ Today, millions of people still sing along to Led Zeppelin’s songs, and the band continues to influence many musicians.

Following the band’s drummer Bonham’s death in 1980, Led Zeppelin sadly disbanded. However, the band members continued appearing together, and they even made some efforts to make music again and performed together on various occasions.

During the iconic band’s career, Jimmy Page was the one who wrote the music while Plant wrote most of the lyrics. Page and Plant, the brains behind Led Zeppelin, also filed a major lawsuit against HBO once. Let’s delve into the details of that incident.

Robert Plant And Jimmy Page Sued HBO For Copyright Claims Of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’

Back in 1988, rapper Schoolly D released his song ‘Signifying Rapper’ in which the rapper sang his lyrics over the guitar riff from Led Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir.’ The rapper did not license it, thus, was not authorized to use the sample. Moreover, the 1992 film ‘Bad Lieutenant‘ also featured the song in some scenes.

Following its use in the film, ‘Signifying Rapper’ became the target of lawsuits. In 1994, Robert Page and Jimmy Plant sued Home Box Office to remove the song from television appearances. Along with that, Live Home Video and distributor Aries Film Releasing were ordered to destroy any unsold copies of ‘Bad Lieutenant.’

After the incident, ‘Bad Lieutenant’s director Abel Ferrara expressed his anger in a statement. He reportedly told the A.V. Club in an interview that the lawsuit cost Schoolly D $50,000, and it was a nightmare. Ferrera then even compared ‘Signifying Rapper’ with ‘Kashmir,’ saying the former is 50 million times better.

‘Bad Lieutenant’s director told the A.V. Club that:

”Signifying Rapper’ was out for five years, and there wasn’t a problem. Then the film had already been out for two years, and they start bitching about it. And these pricks, when their attorneys are on the job, our guys are afraid to come out of their office. You’re not gonna fight their fucking warriors, you know what I mean?

It cost Schoolly like $50,000. It was a nightmare. And meanwhile, ‘Signifying Rapper’ is 50 million times better than ‘Kashmir’ ever thought of being. Why sue? You should be happy that somebody is paying homage to your work.”

Below is the song ‘Signifying Rapper’ for you to check out.