Dear Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf, Big Mama Thornton, Anne Bredon, Otis Rush, Jake Holmes, Kansas Joe McCoy, and Memphis Minnie and, surely, a fair lot of others forever obscured by the Mists of Avalon,

Sorry for stealing your songs.

Not exactly chivalrous us. (Not exactly knightly, aye Jimmy? Gotcha! Hahaha!) You wrote them, we heard them and recorded them, and kept the credit and the money to ourselves. Well, until some of you got lawyers involved, that is. Can’t very well blame you. 

We’re not bad guys. It’s not like we’re Satan worshippers or anything. Not anymore, at least. But it was the ’60s, wasn’t it? And the ’70s. You remember what those days were like, don’t you? 

You do?! Then you weren’t even there, mate! Hahahaha. Whoops, sorry, Joe. You really weren’t there. You’d long since “shuffled off this mortal,” hadn’t you? 1950, was it? Well, you’ll have to trust us: We were absolutely blotto! Just pie-eyed wasted on all sorts of different chemical enhancements. Stayed that way all the time. Poor old Bonzo even died from it. Joined you and Elvis up there for the great gig in the sky. Ah. The lovely sot. Still miss him.

So, as I was saying, we didn’t know we were stealing your songs. We didn’t know anything. I woke up in a hotel room one morning and found the lyrics to “Stairway to Heaven” written on a pad on the bed-stand. Who wrote ’em? No clue. It wasn’t my handwriting. Could have been a bloody sand shark for all that went on in those hotel rooms.

Anyway, the point is, it’s not really fair to blame someone for stealing something if he’s too potted to even know he’s stealing it, is it? You understand. Surely you can find it in your hearts to forgive us. After all, we let that nice Puffy Combs chap sample “Kashmir” for the song from the Godzilla picture. That worked out well for everyone, didn’t it?

Oh. Right. Sorry.

Robert Plant and Jimmy Page