DON LEMON: How Many Black Artists Died Broke While White Musicians Got Paid Off Their Music?

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  • The band Led Zeppelin is considered by many the greatest Rock and Roll band of all time.

    One of their biggest hits was “Stairway to Heaven,” considered by many to be the best Rock and Roll song of all time.

    Problem is, it turns out they may have stolen it.

    Attorneys representing the estate of the late Randy California, guitarist for a 1960’s and 70’s band called ‘Spirit’ are suing Led Zeppelin.

    California once said Zeppelin’s song was a “rip-off and the guys made millions of bucks on it and never said thank you.”

    While the youngsters were shocked, people of a certain age are not surprised, at all.

    Zeppelin has been accused of plagiarizing and stealing many of their hits from other performers; mostly black, R & B and Blues acts like Muddy Waters.

    Muddy Waters was the first to perform this 1962 song by a black songwriter named Willie Dixon.

    A few years later Zeppelin recorded something similar.

    Zeppelin never gave Waters credit.

    Waters sued and it was settled out of court.

    They were accused of doing the same thing with Blues performers like Howlin Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson and Blind Willie Johnson, to name a few.

    But Zeppelin was not alone.

    There was Chuck Berry versus the Beatles, The Rolling Stones versus Blues performer Robert Johnson, Elvis Presley versus Little Walter Jacobs, and on and on and on.

    So remember late last year when Marvin Gaye’s family sued Robin Thicke over the song “Blurred Lines” which sounds remarkably like Marvin’s “Got to Give It Up?”

    A lot of older African Americans like my mother were outraged because it brought back memories of a time when the music they listened to was all of a sudden being recorded by other bands who got all the credit and the money while their favorite performers fell into obscurity and died poor.

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