Ritchie Blackmore’s Argument With John Bonham Regarding The ‘Stolen’ Led Zeppelin Song

In the history of rock music, numerous bands have accused one another of stealing their lyrics, riffs, song, or style. Some of these disputes result in year-long feuds, while others are resolved through legal battles. Theft is a serious and disgraceful offense in the music industry because it demonstrates a lack of creativity or originality. Ritchie Blackmore gave an interview to Neil Jeffries of the Rolling Stones in 1995 and discussed his musical career. In this long-lost interview, Blackmore recalled an encounter with John Bonham in which Bonham accused Led Zeppelin of stealing a song by Rainbow. Ritchie Blackmore Complained To John Bonham About A Stolen Led Zeppelin Song During A Conversation. Ritchie Blackmore revealed in a 1995 interview with Rolling Stone that he and John Bonham were close friends. According to the guitarist, Bonham was depressed and drunk during one of their nights at the Rainbow Bar. The drummer then told him that playing “Smoke On The Water” by Deep Purple must be difficult, and he imitated the song’s rhythm with his mouth.

Ritchie Blackmore informed him that it is as difficult as playing “Whole Lotta Love,” but at least they didn’t copy other artists like Led Zeppelin. Bonham was surprised when he heard this. Then, Blackmore explained his position by stating that they created “Whole Lotta Love” by stealing “Hey Joe” and adding a rhythm to it. Blackmore then recalled telling Bonham Zeppelin had also stolen “Immigrant Song” from Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Miss Lover” This conversation angered Bonham, so he asked the guitarist, while they were both in the restroom, if he meant these. According to Blackmore, he informed Bonham that he was joking, and they continued drinking together. Ritchie Blackmore, speaking to Rolling Stone in 1995, recalled the following:

“I was once very close with Bonzo from Led Zeppelin. We would be drinking in the Rainbow bar in Los Angeles, and he would either be extremely inebriated or depressed. So he would be observing the table. And he would tell me, “It must be extremely difficult to stand there and go der-der-derr, der-der, de-derr” [“Smoke On The Water”]. Yeah, it’s nearly as difficult as going: “duh-der duh-der dum” At least we’re not copying anyone!’ What are you talking about?’ he asks. That is nonsense!’

“I know exactly where you got “duh-der duh-der dum” from; you took it from “Hey Joe” and put a rhythm to it.” And he is contemplating. And “Little Miss Lover” was “Immigrant Song.” “What are you discussing?” ‘Bom-bobba-did ba-bom bobbadidom…’ He was a miserable man, but he initiated it.” “We then proceeded upstairs to the restroom. Both of us are urinating, and he asks, “Rich, did you mean all of that?” I responded, “No, not really; I was just getting back at you.” He utters, “Oh. I did not intend it either. There is room for everyone at the top. We continued to urinate, then went downstairs and began drinking again. However, he enjoyed it. He was the type of man who enjoys conflict, and I always give it to him. I told him where he obtained his belongings after he stated that we had taken pieces from other people. It was fascinating to observe his thoughts: ‘Pagey, you scoundrel. Now I know!'” Blackmore apparently believed that John Bonham enjoyed conflict. Therefore, as his friend, he would troll Bonham and give him a hard time for fun. This incident appears to have been nothing more than a joke Blackmore played on Bonham.

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