For this month’s version of The Original vs. the Cover, we are going to discuss the Jake Holmes song “Dazed and Confused” that was later covered (or stolen) by Led Zeppelin. The Jake Holmes song was released in 1967. Jimmy Page heard this song when Jake’s band and Jimmy Page’s band The Yardbirds were on the same bill. Jimmy took the song and made several changes to it and performed it with the Yardbirds. However, it didn’t get recorded until 1968 with Pages new band Led Zeppelin.
I say stole, because Page didn’t credit Holmes as the songwriter with the Led Zeppelin release. Page felt he had made enough changes to the song that he didn’t need to credit Mr. Holmes. And for the longest time Holmes did nothing until 2010 when he finally filed suit against Page. The lawsuit never made it to court as it was eventually settled out of court. Now, when the song is on an album that is newly released from Zeppelin it says…inspired by Jake Holmes.
Enough of the dirty music business. Let us focus on the song and which version is better. We will start as we usually do with the Original and then discuss the Cover ending with a wonderful Verdict of which one I like more. And away we go…
The song was recorded in 1967 for Jake’s debut album, ‘The Above Ground Sound”. It was recorded as a trio with only an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar and a bass. No drums!! And honestly, you don’t miss them. The song is a trippy, psychedelic wonder. The song feels like a bad acid trip, full of paranoia and god knows what. Holmes at one time said it was about a girl and that can be true because women have dazed and confused men for centuries.
Jake’s vocals are fantastic and the guitar playing is really great. There are what sound like asian influenced riffs during the instrumental piece towards the end. There is also a blues vibe to the song as well. It has an ominous feel to it at times and I love how it moves from slow and quiet to louder and more rambunctious and then back again. It is a nice, trippy ride!
What can I say about this version. They took Jake’s song and turned in to a true epic journey with all the musical changes they made. However, at the heart of it really is Jake’s original song. Zeppelin changed the arrangement around, changed the lyrics around and added new ones, added drums (John Bonham’s drums at that), started the song with the bass rather than guitar and turned the 3:45 minute song to over 6 minutes. The song would be released in January 1969 and is on their debut album.
This was the first Led Zeppelin song recorded that had Jimmy Page using the bow on the guitar. Not only that Page recorded the song in one take. As he had been playing it for awhile the Yardbirds, he was very familiar and recorded it in the same fashion as had played it in the past. Page’s guitar work on this thing was totally mind blowing. It has an improvised feel to it, yet totally melds with the song.
Robert Plant’s lyrics were way more bluesy than the original and it changed the dynamic of the song to be less psychedelic and more blues rock. It had the same musical changes as the original where it was slow and then sped it up, but Zeppelin added so much more to the music. It is amazing how much sound this four-piece band could create.
I will admit, I never had heard this version prior to researching the post. I do like Jake Holmes version a whole lot. It really is a sensational song and I can see why Jimmy Page stole it (covered it). There is a simplistic genius to it. HOWEVER, the Led Zeppelin song takes it to an entire new stratosphere.
First, Robert’s vocals are amazing and no wonder he is one of the best singers in rock. The emotions he conveys and that power are second to none. Second and most importantly, Jimmy Page does things with that guitar on this song that are so outstanding and not just the violin bow on the guitar. The drums add a whole new element that wasn’t really missing, but give it so much more character. John Paul’s bass lines are even better than the original that give it that groove that the original was missing. I guess my verdict is simply Led Zeppelin’s version although it was closer than I thought it would be.
Let me know which version you like the best and why. Feel free to leave a comment and talk about the song and tell me how right or wrong I am on this one. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.
Lyrics for Jake Holmes version:
“Dazed and Confused”
I’m dazed and confused, is it stay is it go?
Am I being choosed? Well I’d just like to know
Give me a clue as to where I am at
Feel like a mouse and you act like a cat
I’m dazed and confused, hanging on be a thread
I’m being abused, I’d be better off dead
I can’t stand this teasing, I’m starting to crack
You’re out to get me, you’re on the right track
Yeah, I’m dazed and confused and it’s all upside down
Am I being choosed? Do you want me around?
Secrets are fun to a certain degree
But this one’s no fun ’cause the secret’s on me
Lyrics for Led Zeppelin’s version:
“Dazed And Confused”
Wanted a woman, never bargained for you.
Lots of people talkin’, few of them know
Soul of a woman was created below, yeah.You hurt and abuse tellin’ all of your lies.
Run ’round sweet baby, Lord how they hypnotize.
Sweet little baby, I don’t know where you’ve been.
Gonna love you baby, here I come again.
Ev’ry day I work so hard bringin’ home my hard-earned pay.
Try to love you baby, but you push me away.
Don’t know where you’re goin’, I don’t know just where you’ve been;
Sweet little baby, I want you again.
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah.
Oh, yeah! Alright!
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah.
Oh don’t leave me so confused, no! Oh, baby!
Been dazed and confused for so long, it’s not true,
Wanted a woman never bargained for you.
Take it easy baby, let them say what they will.
(Will your) tongue wag so much when I send you the bill?
Ooh, yeah! Alright!
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh,
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh.