Greta Van Fleet have been making the rounds on the internet and the music industry recently, blowing up mostly this year. The band has gotten pretty good coverage, being called the “Rebirth of Rock and Roll” and other fun things like that, but, like most artists, they’ve got some criticism too. “Led Zeppelin Rip-Offs” are usually the most used term thrown around for them and at first listen you can see why. The riffs are similar, the vibe, the chord progressions, and of course the vocals, but is it really fair to put all of this against them? No. It's not.
Greta Van Fleet
Greta Van Fleet obviously wears their influences on their sleeves, which is totally okay. The band members all follow under the ages of 23, considering that you have to give them the benefit of the doubt if they sound a little too similar to any band, however, I think the band has a lot of creativity that most of the media is missing. Part of the research for this article made me turn to their 2017 record “From The Fires” and I have to say, I was pretty mesmerized. Despite three of the singles, I haven't heard any of these songs and they were amazing and contained a lot of material that didn’t sound like the typical Led Zep song. I feel like everyone who has ever dived even a little bit into this debacle needs to listen to this record, it really captures how much potential this band has. They’re young, even younger than Led Zeppelin when they started, and they have a lot of time to grow artistically and evolved, keeping this in mind, it makes me excited for their upcoming album!
Getting The Led Out
Let me preface by saying, I love Led Zeppelin. Zep has been one of my favorite bands for basically all of my life, and I'm convinced they're one of the few groups who has produced not one, but two flawless albums (First album and Houses of the Holy), but that's just my opinion. However what's not opinion, if you wanna talk rip-offs, Led Zeppelin has stolen so many musical ideas and straight up full lyrics, you can't really sit there and point fingers at just GVF. If the only reason you hate Greta for is the fact they “steal,” but you're a Zep fan, you're kind of a hypocrite.
If you don't believe me, well for one, you should dig into the history of Delta Blues music because it's fantastic and was a huge inspiration to the band, especially songwriting-wise. However, it should be noted that rock, in general, was heavily inspired by the genre, even back to its roots in the 50s. There's plenty of other specific moments of the Zep boys taking some liberties: “Dazed and Confused” was also a song written by Jake Holmes with similar lyrics and motifs, a song Jimmy Page “didn't know about.” Yeah, okay. “Whole Lotta Love,” arguably one of their most popular songs, takes lyrics directly from Muddy Waters’ “You Need Love”. The list goes on, but I think the point is proven, but to be honest, who really cares?
Led Zeppelin rules. Just because they ripped-off stuff doesn't mean they're a bad band, but the same principles should apply to Greta Van Fleet as well. Copyright and the issues related are always sparked up in the news and courtrooms frequently, it's always the same situation: You can't copyright chords, drum beats, etc. All you can really copyright is Melody, and with that, it should just be a given that when it comes to these two great rock bands, no one is in the wrong. If you like Led Zeppelin, get excited for Greta, and especially their upcoming album!