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Readers: Denver's Led Zeppelin Day Honors Musical Thieves

Loveland sculptor Joey Bainer is creating a plaque celebrating Led Zeppelin Day in Denver.
Loveland sculptor Joey Bainer is creating a plaque celebrating Led Zeppelin Day in Denver.
Joey Bainer
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Mayor Michael Hancock declared December 26 Led Zeppelin Day, in honor of the band's first U.S. concert, which took place at the Denver Auditorium, now the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, fifty years ago. The show, headlined by Vanilla Fudge, was booked by  late Denver rock promoter Barry Fey.

At the time, Denver fans fell in love with Led Zeppelin, pestering DJs to play the rockers' music; today, some Westword readers aren't so enthusiastic — in fact, they call Led Zeppelin's members thieves.

Chris describes that 1968 concert this way:

The first U.S. performance of other artists' material!

Aaron characterizes the band as:

Unapologetic plagiarists. 

Jason defends Led Zeppelin:

A young band playing some covers...yeah, that NEVER happens. That's not all they played.

Chris notes:

Not covering someone else's song. Stealing it, and releasing it as their own. I used to adore them. Then I dug into it, instead of clinging to my feelings.

Lori steers clear of the debate over the authenticity of Led Zeppelin and recalls another great Colorado show:

And Queen was at Regis. We know we live in a great state!!   

Read on for more of our coverage of Led Zeppelin:

"Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy Turns Forty"

Lez Zeppelin plays the Bluebird Theater on Friday, January 5.
Lez Zeppelin plays the Bluebird Theater on Friday, January 5.
Lez Zeppelin

"Lez Zeppelin Slays Sexism"

Readers: Denver's Led Zeppelin Day Honors Musical ThievesEXPAND
Atlantic Records

"Getting Out of the Led"

Led Zeppelin, which formed fifty years ago and just celebrated its half-century anniversary with a new book of historic photos from the band's glory days, has been subjected to scrutiny for plagiarism in courts and in the press, including in a Rolling Stone story about the band's ten most flagrant rip-offs.

The outfit Spirit accused Led Zeppelin of stealing a guitar line used in "Stairway to Heaven" from the song "Taurus." A court found Led Zeppelin innocent in 2016, but the case has been appealed and is still making its way through the courts.

In an era when sampling has become a common practice and widely accepted as a valid form of art for electronic music and hip-hop artists, whether Led Zeppelin should be singled out as thieves or considered pioneers of remix culture remains up for debate.

Let us know what you think. Post a comment or send a note to editorial@westword.com.

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