Dazed and Confused (song)

Dazed and Confused (song)

"Dazed and Confused" is a song by Jake Holmes, which was covered by The Yardbirds, and later reworked by Led Zeppelin who hold a separate copyright on the song.[1]


Jake Holmes

"Dazed and Confused"
Song by Jake Holmes from the album "The Above Ground Sound" of Jake Holmes
Released 1967
Genre Folk rock, psychedelic rock, psychedelic folk
Length 3:50
Label Tower
Writer Jake Holmes
Audio sample
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Singer-songwriter Jake Holmes wrote and recorded Dazed and Confused for his debut solo album "The Above Ground Sound" of Jake Holmes, released in June 1967. Like the other tracks on the album, the song does not include any drums. It was recorded entirely with the trio of Holmes on guitar, keyboard and vocals, Ted Irwin on guitar and Rick Randle on bass.[2][3] The song has been incorrectly labelled as a tale about a bad acid trip. Holmes himself has confirmed that this is not the case. In 2001 he gave an interview to Shindig! magazine and said this about "Dazed and Confused":

I never took acid. I smoked grass and tripped on it, but I never took acid. I was afraid to take it. The song's about a girl who hasn't decided whether she wants to stay with me or not. It's pretty much one of those love songs.[4]

In June 2010, Jake Holmes sued Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page for copyright infringement, claiming to have written and recorded “Dazed and Confused” two years before it appeared on Led Zeppelin's debut album. In court documents Holmes cited a 1967 copyright registration for “Dazed and Confused” which was renewed in 1995.[5]

The Yardbirds

During a 1967 tour of the United States by English rock group The Yardbirds, Jake Holmes performed as the opener at the Village Theater in Greenwich Village on August 25, 1967.[6] The Yardbirds were inspired by his performance and decided to work up their own arrangement. Their version featured long instrumental passages of bowed guitar courtesy of Jimmy Page, and dynamic instrumental flourishes. Page has stated that he obtained the idea of using a violin bow on his guitar from a violinist named David McCallum, Sr., during his session days before joining the Yardbirds in 1966.[7] At that time, it even had a little Eastern influence, as can be heard on some French television appearances. It quickly became a staple of The Yardbirds' live act during their final year of their existence.

The song was never officially recorded by the band, although a live version recorded on 30 March 1968[8] is included on the album Live Yardbirds: Featuring Jimmy Page under the alternate title "I'm Confused". Notably, it is the only track that has no songwriter credits on the release.[9] Another live version of the song, recorded on the French TV series "Bouton Rouge" on 9 March 1968, was included on the CD Cumular Limit in 2000 and was credited "by Jake Holmes arr. Yardbirds."[10]

Led Zeppelin studio recording

"Dazed and Confused"
Song by Led Zeppelin from the album Led Zeppelin
Released 12 January 1969
Recorded October 1968, Olympic Studios, London, England
Genre Heavy metal, psychedelic rock, blues rock, hard rock[11]
Length 6:26
Label Atlantic
Writer Jimmy Page
Producer Jimmy Page
Led Zeppelin track listing
"You Shook Me"
"Dazed and Confused"
"Your Time Is Gonna Come"
Audio sample
file info · help

When the Yardbirds disbanded in 1968, the song "Dazed and Confused" was re-worked by Page yet again, this time while as a member of Led Zeppelin. According to Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, the first time he heard the song was at the band's very first rehearsal session at Gerrard Street in London in 1968: "Jimmy played us the riffs at the first rehearsal and said, This is a number I want us to do."[12] Led Zeppelin recorded their version in October 1968 at Olympic Studios, London, and the song was included on their 1969 debut album Led Zeppelin.

The Led Zeppelin version was not credited to Holmes. Page took the title, came up with a new set of lyrics, and changed enough of the melody to escape a plagiarism lawsuit from Jake Holmes.[3][13][14] While Holmes took no action at the time, he did later contact Page in regards to the matter. Page had not replied as of 2001.[15] In June 2010 Holmes filed a lawsuit in United States District Court, alleging copyright infringement and naming Page as a co-defendant.[16]

Led Zeppelin's interpretation of the song begins with a slow-tempo bluesy rhythm, propelled by John Paul Jones' descending bass line. It then changes to a faster tempo during the darkest part of the song, again featuring bowed guitar by Page, followed by a furious guitar solo (similar to Page's solo from the Yardbirds' "Think About It"), before finally returning to the initial rhythm. John Bonham's sporadic, explosive drumming throughout helped define the song's power and intensity, as well as featuring one of Bonham's signature fills, the Bonham Triplet, while Robert Plant contributed open-throated falsetto vocals suitable for the anguished lyrics to the song.[17]

This was one of three Led Zeppelin songs on which Page used a bow on his guitar, the others being "How Many More Times" and "In the Light". The intro of the song "In the Evening" utilised the Gizmotron rubber wheel string exciter to achieve the violin-like effects. Many often mistake this for his use of the bow.

Led Zeppelin live performances

"Dazed and Confused" was widely popularised by, and is still heavily identified with, Led Zeppelin's version. It became the centrepiece for the group at Led Zeppelin concerts, at least through the release of "Whole Lotta Love" from their second album. When performed live, it was (except for the fast middle section) played at a slower overall tempo, and gradually extended in duration (up to 45 minutes by 1975) as a multi-section improvised jam. Although initially performed in a manner similar to the studio version, some noticeable differences were gradually developed in live performances. By June 1969, in the section where Page plays guitar with a violin bow, the rest of the band dropped out completely, allowing him to perform a lengthier free-form improvisation, though by January 1970, the main structure of the section was already formed. By 1972, another improvised section had been added between the verses and this. The fast section was extended to allow changes in dynamics and volume, as well as changing the beat, sometimes seguing in and out of another song altogether. There was a short jam at the end of the song after the final verse.

Over time, the improvisational suite incorporated more and more material. In 1972, the song incorporated riffs from the Led Zeppelin songs "The Crunge", and "Walter's Walk", as can be heard on the live album How the West Was Won. By 1973, the song featured an extended transition before the violin bow solo, which incorporated a melody that would later be used in 1976's "Achilles Last Stand". Plant sang lyrics from either Scott McKenzie's "San Francisco" or Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock" during this transition. Also during this time, the violin solo would incorporate "Mars" from Gustav Holst's suite The Planets, accompanied by Plant's vocalisations.

In his 1997 publication Led Zeppelin Live: An Illustrated Exploration of Underground Tapes, Luis Rey dissects the pattern of the song (as it was in 1975) into twelve sections, in order to demonstrate its gradual state of evolution when played live:

Stage 1: Bass intro and wah-wah interludes
Stage 2: Main vocal theme
Stage 3: Fast instrumental and 'oriental' riffs
Stage 4: "San Francisco" or "Woodstock"
Stage 5: Violin bow episode including echo-slapping from the guitar; interlude with Plant's 'instrumental voice'; Gustav Holst's Mars, the Bringer of War and return of the rhythm section
Stage 6: Fast guitar solo and battle with Plant
Stage 7: Slower tempo solo and 'funky' moods
Stage 8: Violent breaks and call and response interlude
Stage 9: Faster solo in crescendos and occasional break-up tempo
Stage 10: New arrangement of Mars, the Bringer of War (slow and fast versions) and final frenzy
Stage 11: Return to main theme
Stage 12: Coda. Final instrumental and vocal battle inside syncopated rhythms, drum-solo and final explosion.[18]

A live version of "Dazed and Confused" was featured in Led Zeppelin's 1976 concert film, The Song Remains the Same (and accompanying soundtrack), as part of Page's fantasy sequence. Other live recordings are also found on the official releases Led Zeppelin BBC Sessions (featuring two different versions), How the West Was Won, and the Led Zeppelin DVD.

"Dazed and Confused" was performed on every Led Zeppelin concert tour up to and including their 1975 shows at Earls Court.[19] It was then removed from their live set, although Page continued to perform parts of the bowed guitar segment during solo spots in 1977 and 1979 (as preludes to "Achilles Last Stand" and "In the Evening", respectively). It was performed once again at Led Zeppelin's reunion show at the O2 Arena, London on December 10, 2007.

Cultural influence

The song is included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

The song was also used as the basis for the title of the 1993 film Dazed and Confused, which chronicled the lives of various American youths on their last day of high school in 1976. However, it is not found on the film's soundtrack. The film's director Richard Linklater appealed to Led Zeppelin band members to use some of their songs in the movie but, although Page agreed, Robert Plant refused.[20][21]

The song is featured in the drama series Shabatot VeHagim, 2003 episode "Air Guitar"[22] In the television show The Simpsons, an episode of Itchy & Scratchy (1993 "The Front") has the title "Dazed and Contused", an obvious pun on the song. It was also used again as a pun ("abraised and contused") in the 2006 episode "Bart Has Two Mommies" where Ned Flanders addresses himself as Ned Zeppelin. Chad Smith and various others can be heard listening to it in the Red Hot Chili Peppers documentary Funky Monks.


Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame USA "The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll"[23] 1994 *
Pause & Play USA "Time Capsule Inductions - Songs"[24] 1998 *
NME UK "117 Songs to soundtrack your summer"[25] 2003 *
Toby Creswell Australia "1001 Songs: the Great Songs of All Time"[26] 2005 *
Pitchfork Media USA "The 200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s"[27] 2006 11
Q UK "The 20 Greatest Guitar Tracks"[28] 2007 2
Q UK "21 Albums That Changed Music - Key Track"[29] 2007 6

(*) designates unordered lists.


Cover versions

With credit Page

Album versions

  • 1993: Uncle Slam (Will Work for Food)
  • 1993: John Vearity (Whole Lotta Love)
  • 1994: Michael White & The White (Plays the Music of Led Zeppelin)
  • 1994: Cinnamon (Cinnamon II)
  • 1995: Motohiko Hino (It's There)
  • 1995: Alon Nadel & Friends (Jazzeppelin)
  • 1996: Marxman (Time Capsule)
  • 1999: Akira Takasaki (Super Rock Summit)
  • 2000: Electrasy (In Here We Fall)
  • 2001: Palladium (Sister Flute and the Sunday Best)
  • 2001: Never Never (Never Never Tribute II)
  • 2001: Simply Led (From the Land of the Ice and Snow)
  • 2002: Blaze (The Music Remains the Same: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin)
  • 2002: The Section (The String Quartet Tribute to Led Zeppelin)
  • 2002: Kirsten Laiken (Livin, Lovin, Played: A Led Zeppelin Tribute)
  • 2002: Galactic Achievement Society (The Electronic Tribute to Led Zeppelin)
  • 2003: Letz Zep (Live on Broadway)
  • 2004: Jezz Woodroffe (In Through the Swing Door: Swing Cover Versions of Led Zeppelin Classics)
  • 2004: Ray Orpeza (Stairway to Rock: (Not Just) a Led Zeppelin Tribute)
  • 2004: Heavy Fuel (Led Zeppelin: A Tribute)
  • 2004: The Classic Rock String Quartet (The Led Zeppelin Chamber Suite: A Classic Rock Tribute to Led Zeppelin)
  • 2005: Hampton String Quartet (Take No Prisoners!)
  • 2005: Brian Tarquin (Get the Led Out! Led Zeppelin Salute)
  • 2005: Iron Horse (Whole Lotta Bluegrass: A Bluegrass Tribute to Led Zeppelin)
  • 2006: Dream Theater (Two Nights In North America [limited release])
  • 2006: The McRackins (Bat Out of Shell)
  • 2006: Franck Tortiller & Orchestre National de Jazz (Close to Heaven: A Led Zeppelin Tribute)
  • 2006: Michael Armstrong (Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of Led Zeppelin)
  • 2006: Studio 99 (Led Zeppelin: A Tribute)
  • 2006: Greg Reeves & Eric Stock (Dub Tribute to Led Zeppelin)
  • 2006: Mad Zeppelin (Live im ColosSaal)
  • 2007: Vanilla Fudge (Out Through the in Door)
  • 2007: Zepparella (Pleasing Pounding)
  • 2008: Jack Russell (Led Box: The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Tribute)
  • 2010: Gov't Mule (Mulennium)

Live versions

  • 1988-1989: Jimmy Page


  1. ^ Fast, Susan. In the Houses of the Holy: Led Zeppelin and the Power of Rock Music (2001): 21
  2. ^ Shade, Will. "Dazed and Confused: The Incredibly Strange Saga of Jake Holmes". http://www.furious.com/perfect/jakeholmes.html. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  3. ^ a b "Review of The Above Ground Sound of Jake Holmes". Allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/album/r40819. 
  4. ^ Shade, Will. "A Tune's Twisted Tale" (PDF). http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/itsaboutmusic/jakeholmes.pdf. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 
  5. ^ Michaels, Sean (2010-06-30). "Led Zeppelin sued for alleged plagiarism of Dazed and Confused". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2010/jun/30/led-zeppelin-sued-dazed-and-confused. 
  6. ^ Kaufman, Michael. "Yardbirds Complete 6th Mission to Expand Young Minds in U.S." The New York Times August 28, 1967: 36
  7. ^ Welch, Chris (ed.) Led Zeppelin: Dazed and Confused, the Stories Behind Every Song. (Page 23) Thunder's Mouth Press, 1998 ISBN 1-56025-188-3
  8. ^ Live Yardbirds: Featuring Jimmy Page (Epic E 30615) liner notes
  9. ^ Live Yardbirds: Featuring Jimmy Page at Discogs Release missing songwriter credits for "I'm Confused"
  10. ^ Cumular Limit CD booklet, Burning Airlines 2000
  11. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Led Zeppelin review". Allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/album/11459. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  12. ^ Mat Snow, “Apocalypse Then”, Q magazine, December 1990, p. 77.
  13. ^ Hodgkinson, Will (2008). Song Man: A Melodic Adventure, Or, My Single-Minded Approach to Songwriting. pp. 129. 
  14. ^ Schinder, Scott. Icons of Rock. pp. 385. http://books.google.com/books?id=CzWE_J3ZZfoC. 
  15. ^ Cochrane, Robert (September 17, 2008). "Theft As Ownership". hippy.com. http://www.culturecatch.com/music/jake-holmes-dangerous-times. Retrieved 10 March 2009. 
  16. ^ Led Zeppelin sued by folk singer for alleged plagiarism. New York Post
  17. ^ Williamson, Nigel (2007). The Rough Guide to Led Zeppelin. London: Rough Guides Limited. ISBN 1-84353-841-5. 
  18. ^ Luis Rey (1997) Led Zeppelin Live: An Illustrated Exploration of Underground Tapes, Ontario: The Hot Wacks Press, p. 253.
  19. ^ Dave Lewis (1994), The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin, Omnibus Press, ISBN 0-7119-3528-9.
  20. ^ http://nsfc.zap2it.com/nsfc/cda/index.jsp?p_state=8&DvdId=100068&ts=1173833040623
  21. ^ Led-Zeppelin.org. "Led Zeppelin Assorted Info". http://www.led-zeppelin.org/reference/index.php?m=assorted3. 
  22. ^ Shabatot VeHagim's "Air Guitar"
  23. ^ "The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll - December 1994". Jacobs Media. http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/halloffame.htm. Retrieved 2009-02-10. [dead link]
  24. ^ "Time Capsule Inductions: Songs - July 1998". Pause & Play. http://www.pauseandplay.com/vaultsongs.htm. Retrieved 2009-02-10. 
  25. ^ Songs to soundtrack your summer "117 Songs to soundtrack your summer - May 2003". NME. http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/nme_writers.htm#117 Songs to soundtrack your summer. Retrieved 2009-02-10. 
  26. ^ Creswell, Toby (2005). "Dazed and Confused". 1001 Songs: the Great Songs of All Time (1st ed.). Prahran: Hardie Grant Books. p. 745. ISBN 9781740664585. 
  27. ^ "The 200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s - August 2006". Pitchfork. http://pitchfork.com/features/staff-lists/6405-the-200-greatest-songs-of-the-1960s/. Retrieved 2009-02-10. 
  28. ^ Greatest Guitar Tracks "The 20 Greatest Guitar Tracks - September 2007". Q. http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/qlistspage3.htm#20 Greatest Guitar Tracks. Retrieved 2009-02-10. 
  29. ^ Albums That Changed Music "21 Albums That Changed Music: Key Track - November 2007". Q. http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/qlistspage3.htm#21 Albums That Changed Music. Retrieved 2009-02-10. 


  • Lewis, Dave (2004) The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin, ISBN 0-7119-3528-9
  • Welch, Chris (1998) Led Zeppelin: Dazed and Confused: The Stories Behind Every Song, ISBN 1-56025-818-7

External links

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