Richard Linklater went off on Robert Plant after refusing Led Zeppelin song for Dazed and Confused

Richard Linklater found himself blocked from using a Led Zeppelin song in Dazed and Confused because Robert Plant wouldn’t allow it.

Linklater Dazed and Confused

If ever a soundtrack helped boost a movie’s legacy, it’s that of Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, a non-stop party album that encapsulated not just the era in which the movie is set but the essence of the film. But despite there being around 30 songs in Dazed and Confused, Linklater had trouble securing rights to one Led Zeppelin track, leading to him to say he would be boycotting singer Robert Plant for life.

Interestingly, when coming up with the perfect Led Zeppelin song to use, Linklater didn’t want “Dazed and Confused” itself but rather “Rock and Roll.” As he recounted in his “Dazed by Days” journal, in the spring of 1993, Linklater got permission from Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page after sending him a five-minute video of non-stop begging. But in July, singer Robert Plant denied the use of any Zeppelin tunes. As Linklater wrote, “We’re out of time, so two days before the absolutely final mix, I throw in the Zeppelin towel. I’ve never worked so hard for something like this and not gotten it. I’ll boycott Plant for life. Even if he never really was too much involved with the decision, he’s responsible for the assholes around him he’s empowered to do this thinking. The official reason is that “it is in direct competition with his solo career.” Plant doing lame covers of old songs and uninspired new garbage is not much of a solo career.” Linklater would go on to smear Plant’s legacy by saying he was a “lesser talent” and that the real artist of the band was Page.

Linklater continued to tear into the rock band for the Dazed and Confused diss, saying, “But, hey, by not having a Zeppelin tune in this movie, everyone will naturally forget that Zeppelin and Mr. Plant’s only viable blip on the music history’s scene ever existed. Then they will all run out and purchase this pathetically aging rock star’s (who still wants to look and act like he did 20 years ago) illustrious solo album. Yeah, right.”

Even without Linklater securing “Rock and Roll”, Dazed and Confused still has one of the more iconic soundtracks you’ll ever hear. But there were still execs in control, telling the director he couldn’t release a double album to fit all of the songs. As such, the first release only has 14 tracks, with a notable omission being Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion”, which opens the film. Only later did a follow-up come out…and it still didn’t feature Aerosmith.

Dazed and Confused further marked Richard Linklater as a true visionary of the indie scene. It may not have made him any money but it lives on as the best last day of school movie and a capsule of two key eras: mid-’70s high school and early ‘90s cinema. A decade after the film’s release, Linklater enlisted Jack Black and a crowd of people to beg Led Zeppelin to let them use “Immigrant Song” in School of Rock – and that time, it worked out!

Are you a fan of Dazed and Confused? What do you think is the best needle drop in the movie? Take a slow ride and give us your picks below!

Source: Cinephilia & Beyond

About the Author

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.