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No. 5: ‘Dazed and Confused’ – Top 50 Led Zeppelin Songs

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Like many early Led Zeppelin songs, ‘Dazed and Confused,’ the centerpiece of their debut album and the No. 5 song on our list of the Top 50 Led Zeppelin Songs, has a complicated history.

In 1967, obscure folk singer Jake Holmes wrote and recorded a stripped-down song with that title that includes the familiar climbing bass line that runs throughout the Zeppelin song. That same year, Holmes opened for the Yardbirds featuring Jimmy Page, who reworked the song to fit into the band’s amps-to-11 live sets.

After the Yardbirds broke up, Page formed Led Zeppelin and took the plugged-in version of ‘Dazed and Confused’ — which changed most of Holmes’ lyrics and part of his structure — with him.

Regardless of the song’s copyright (Page is given sole credit, which has been contested by Holmes), it’s a masterful record, highlighted by Page’s electric solo — all brawn, bluster and bomb-dropping. Want proof? Concert versions of the song approach the half-hour mark. Plus, it includes the best use of a violin bow on a rock ‘n’ roll song ever.

Next: Howling at the Moon

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