Tag Archives: racism

Today We Learn About: Led Zeppelin & the Blues

Baby, baby, I’m gonna bring it on home to you

I done bought my ticket, I got my load
Conductor done hollered, “All, aboard”
I’m-a take my seat, ride way back
and watch this train roll down the track

Baby, baby, I’m gonna bring it on home to you

-Willie Dixon “Bring It on Home” (1963)

Baby, baby, gon’ bring it on home to you

I’ve got that ticket, I got that load
Join up, gone higher, all aboard
I’m-a take my seat, ride way back
and watch this train roll down the track

Gonna bring it on home, bring it on home to you

-Led Zeppelin “Bring It on Home” (1969)

The popular English rock band Led Zeppelin has been brought to court for their multiple instances of copyright infringement. These cases have settled out of court, but are outnumbered by the startling similarities that reside in the remainder of the band’s catalog. Through an examination of the blues as an art form and contemporary copyright law as it stood at the time of Led Zeppelin’s fame, it will be shown that the band went far beyond the tradition of shared concepts, rhythms, and structure that is present in the blues. Led Zeppelin has committed the unforgivable; they have not only taken ideas, lyrics, arrangements, melodies, and rhythms without any credit, but they have taken these musical elements from a population that has been historically exploited. Led Zeppelin is yet another in a long line of western light skinned appropriators that have taken what they deemed just from African-American culture without fair compensation. This practice has not been isolated to labor and culture, but expanded to creative works that are protected under internationally recognized laws. Called into question is the African-American community’s ability to combat such appropriation. Often the artists themselves are not responsible for litigation, but their record label or other representative who act of the musician’s behalf. We will examine this tendency and its implication for what can be seen as a broad, unrecognized cultural theft. Continue reading

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under today we learn about

Today We Learn About: Moral Suasion

According to Margaret Washing, Associate Professor of History at Cornell University, Moral Suasion was a tactic used by abolitionists to assist in the cause to end slavery in the United States.[1] This tactic was not an effective strategy because the causes and effects of slavery were so far reaching, diverse, and ingrained in American culture that merely showing evidence of the inherent ethical problems within the institution were not enough to bring it down. The strategy of Moral Suasion was a slow moving attack on an institution that had gained enough speed to imbed itself into the documents that make up the foundation of this nation. Taking the moral high ground to overcome an institution that half of a country depends on economically and culturally is doomed from the start. Not only are livelihoods working against the strategy, abolitionists were attacking an entire population’s sense of normalcy. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under today we learn about