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Is Gallows Pole a Cover?


Kramer Ferrington III.

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I thought Led Zep had written it.

 

However, there's a sample here of Leadbelly playing it. Puzzingly, it's called "Gallis Pole".

 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000001DIC/ref=m_art_li_5/102-0391366-1076939?s=music&v=glance&n=5174

 

If Led Zep didn't write it, who the heck actually wrote it then?

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Man, i mean obviously all their covers sound quite different from the originals but now i know of:

 

Gallows pole

when the levee breaks

whole lotta love

the spirit riff rippoff for stairway

 

i thought i knew a few more, im sure you guys do.

 

I know lots of bands do covers but it just kinda takes something away when i find out that about songs i thought they wrote.

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Plant stole lyrics from every bluesman the south ever produced, I think. But a lot of stuff came over with immigrants from England and Ireland. It is ironic, I think, that the Bristish blues guys took lyrics from American blues tunes that had originated in their own country and used them to write their music to.

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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Originally posted by Michael Aloysius O'Picker:

Plant stole lyrics from every bluesman the south ever produced, I think. But a lot of stuff came over with immigrants from England and Ireland. It is ironic, I think, that the Bristish blues guys took lyrics from American blues tunes that had originated in their own country and used them to write their music to.

There is an interview with Page, wherein he says that they might 'adapt' a song and Plant was supposed to re-write the lyrics so that it wasn't an obvious steal, but Plant sometimes didn't bother.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Originally posted by Bill@Welcome Home Studios:

There is an interview with Page, wherein he says that they might 'adapt' a song and Plant was supposed to re-write the lyrics so that it wasn't an obvious steal, but Plant sometimes didn't bother.

I was about to say that the bluesmen themselves probably ripped each other off too, but I can't think of any actual examples.

:confused:

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For me the blues isnt about ripping people off... Its about sharing thoughts and feelings with your fellow man... If you happen to 'steal' lyrics or riffs from another bluesman its because it means something to you and you should make it your own. The delta blues dudes learned from their elders, adapted it and put their own spin on things. Besides apart from it being an interesting conversation does it really matter who wrote what? I dont think of it as ironic that these tunes made a round the world trip :) but more the natural progression of the music. Music is here for all of us to enjoy and for instance I dont really see how the govt. can justify banning Tab & Lyric websites due to copyright infringments etc. when the tab is usually done by a person sitting listening to the cd working it out for themselves.

 

Just another way for the man to make his cut.

 

Anyway started to go a bit off topic, sorry.

 

:)

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Originally posted by Kramer Ferrington III.:

Originally posted by lee83:

Besides apart from it being an interesting conversation does it really matter who wrote what?

Well... yes.

 

I was curious to know who had been the first person to record it. Above all, though, I was surprised to see it was a cover.

Like i said, its an interesting conversation and i understand your curiosity. I just dont see why it makes a difference to some peoples feelings toward a band or particular song... thats what i meant by does it really matter.... y'know "does it really matter in the grand scheme of things" ;) Not "who the fk cares"

 

peace :)

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I don't know as Leadbelly wrote it, either, as it's obviously referring to a gallows pole (for hanging someone condemned to death by execution), and he- or somebody involved, at least- misspelled it as "gallis" pole. If you go over the lyrics it's clearly about a gallows, among other things "nudge-nudge, wink-wink".

 

And, yeah, lots of blues singers and players routinely reworked songs by each other, but it's one thing when you made a regional hit from it and still could get arrested for sipping out of a "Whites Only" drinking-fountain, and another thing if you make millions and get treated like a God internationally! So, while I can understand the initial borrowing and cribbing, I can also understand the misgivings and lawsuits over it!

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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Before there was a recording industray and BMI, ASCAP, etc, Blues was part of the Folk tradition. People handed songs down to others who re-worked them as the wished. With the rise of the commercial recording industry, obviously those practices had to change in order for songwriters to get their fair share of the money that was being made. I'm sure there were many instances of people copywriting/publishing songs that they had learned from others simply because they were the first to have that opportunity.
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LZ were great musicians, but like many other blues-based British acts of the time (including the Yardbirds, where JP was before LZ), didn't think twice about taking full royalities and composer credit for lyrics they didn't writewhich was dishonorable. Besides the Gallows Pole example, in the Lemon Song are verses stolen from both Howlin' Wolf (Killing Floor; in the double-time section they also play the gtr chord riff from the Wolf version almost verbatim) AND Robert Johnson (Traveling Riverside Blues is where the lemon-squeezin' verse was lifted from). Whole Lotta Love plagiarized "You Need Love" by Willie Dixon (performed by Muddy Waters), who successfully sued them for the credit that now appears on reissues & a slice of royalties. "Bring It On Home" steals from Willie Dixon's song of the same name (performed by Sonny Boy Williamson); credit is given on How the West Was Won, however. Bad enough black blues artists got miserable royalty arrangements (if they were ever paid any at all) back in the day, but then someone sells millions of copies and doesn't even give them a credit. :cry:

 

p.s. In case you think the plagiarism claims are exaggerated LISTEN to the original Sonny Boy Williamson version of Bring it on Home... Notwithstanding the uptempo midtempo section that LZ adds, c'mon, would YOU have the balls to say you "wrote" this verse? :rolleyes:

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Soundwrangler, you nailed it right on the head. I was going to cite all those examples, especially the Sonny Boy one, but you did it ahead of me.

 

Gallis Pole was according to some sources written by Huddie Ledbetter-Leadbelly, and according to others is listed as Traditional.

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Originally posted by SoundWrangler:

LZ were great musicians, but like many other blues-based British acts of the time (including the Yardbirds, where JP was before LZ), didn't think twice about taking full royalities and composer credit for lyrics they didn't writewhich was dishonorable. Besides the Gallows Pole example, in the Lemon Song are verses stolen from both Howlin' Wolf (Killing Floor; in the double-time section they also play the gtr chord riff from the Wolf version almost verbatim) AND Robert Johnson (Traveling Riverside Blues is where the lemon-squeezin' verse was lifted from). Whole Lotta Love plagiarized "You Need Love" by Willie Dixon (performed by Muddy Waters), who successfully sued them for the credit that now appears on reissues & a slice of royalties. "Bring It On Home" steals from Willie Dixon's song of the same name (performed by Sonny Boy Williamson); credit is given on How the West Was Won, however. Bad enough black blues artists got miserable royalty arrangements (if they were ever paid any at all) back in the day, but then someone sells millions of copies and doesn't even give them a credit. :cry:

 

p.s. In case you think the plagiarism claims are exaggerated LISTEN to the original Sonny Boy Williamson version of Bring it on Home... Notwithstanding the uptempo midtempo section that LZ adds, c'mon, would YOU have the balls to say you "wrote" this verse? :rolleyes:

I believe all that is true. I'm pretty sure that LZ was forced to make financail restituion to several Blues artists, including Willie Dixon for "Whole Lotta Love"
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It is interestintg that BB King has a different take on that stuff than folks who yell "rip-off" at the British blues guys. There is a clip of him saying that if the Brits hadn't woke America up to the blues and made it popular, he personally wouldn't have had half the career he had, or made near as much money either. He was grateful that guys like the Stones and Zep popularized the music, and said it opened doors for black blues artists that would not have been opened in his lifetime, if ever.

I guess it's a matter of perspective, but if BB King isn't calling them theives, maybe white American musicians who didn't lose a cent in the deal ought to think twice about it...

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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The first pressings of Led Zep's 1st album had "Trad., Arr. Page/Plant" for "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You". Subsequent pressings and songbooks just have "Page/Plant". I have come across folk artists albums from the 50's and 60's with this song credited simply as "Trad.". All were much less complicated versions of the song, usually shorter, but the same song. Despite all this I still love most of Zep's work,

 

Jim

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Originally posted by Michael Aloysius O'Picker:

It is interestintg that BB King has a different take on that stuff than folks who yell "rip-off" at the British blues guys. There is a clip of him saying that if the Brits hadn't woke America up to the blues and made it popular, he personally wouldn't have had half the career he had, or made near as much money either. He was grateful that guys like the Stones and Zep popularized the music, and said it opened doors for black blues artists that would not have been opened in his lifetime, if ever.

I guess it's a matter of perspective, but if BB King isn't calling them theives, maybe white American musicians who didn't lose a cent in the deal ought to think twice about it...

Yup, I saw that recently and it's bang on.

 

Talking about covers/ripoffs, how about 'Mannish Boy' by Muddy Waters and 'I'm A Man' by Bo Diddley?

 

G.

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=738517&content=music

The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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its not that they covered it or ripped it off or whatever. Thats not what gets to me, i thought those songs were originals and when you find out theyre not its like "yea its still a good song, it was better when i thought they made it up". Kinda know what im sayin? Like i dont know, takes some of the magic away knowing they didnt create it.
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Originally posted by Michael Aloysius O'Picker:

It is interestintg that BB King has a different take on that stuff than folks who yell "rip-off" at the British blues guys. There is a clip of him saying that if the Brits hadn't woke America up to the blues and made it popular, he personally wouldn't have had half the career he had, or made near as much money either. He was grateful that guys like the Stones and Zep popularized the music, and said it opened doors for black blues artists that would not have been opened in his lifetime, if ever.

I guess it's a matter of perspective, but if BB King isn't calling them theives, maybe white American musicians who didn't lose a cent in the deal ought to think twice about it...

What you (and BB) say is absolutely true. But I don't think that's the point here. Undeniably, if not for many of these Brit rockers in particular, there probably wouldn't be so many millions of people who know about Robert Johnson (or a picture of him on a US postage stamp!) and a lot of these other classic blues artists whose careers were energized by a revival of interest in the blues in the mid 60's. It was great that popular rock groups covered classic blues, especially when it was starting to be viewed as too "old-fashioned" in much of the black community (outside of the South, none of it was getting played on black radio, which was by then dominated by Motown & related soul/R&B-based pop; these older blues guys were living almost exclusively from live gigs). Covering someone else's tune (and imitating their style when they're a freekin' genius, as in these cases) certainly wasn't a rip-off. But here's the difference: Eric Clapton (Cream, etc.) and the Rolling Stones (for the most part) gave credit to the composers. (They also went out of their way to bring original blues artists on as opening acts for their tours, once they were in a position to call the shots, and frequently discussed their blues inspirations by name in interviews from the time. The Stones also famously went to Chicago to record much of their 2nd US album, "12x5" in the Chess studios, in 1964.) Personally, as a record-buying youngster at the time (I'm now 900+ years old!), from looking at the composer credits on albums by those 2 groups in particular, I wondered "who the #$*&@ are Robert Johnson, Willie Dixon?" (especially once I noticed that guys like Johnny Winter were also covering their songs, WD even appearing on one of JW's early albums), then went & found out.

 

Eric Clapton in particular deserves a lot of credit - if you haven't yet checked out the CD "Me and Mr. Johnson" or the related DVD "The Sessions for Robert J" (and if you're into this kind of rootsy blues stuff), you're in for a treat.

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That is entirely the point Soundwrangler, some chose to, dare I say, risk...giving credit where credit was due.

 

Others did not and shamelessly reaped the benefits. Thing is, if Zep had credited these cats properly, I still would have liked them as much as I did. In fact as a kid I would not have cared. It was later when I realized the different ramifications about this issue that I got a bit of a 'tude about it.....just a bit though. It is water under the bridge now and less likely to happen without penalty nowadays.

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