It's not assbackwards in this case though. The Stones and Zeppelin lifted riffs directly from some of the artists I mentioned, often not even crediting them. So how could Jimmy Page be listed as a great riff writer when he didn't even write some of his most famous riffs?
The riff is just a basic framework. To me, the fact that it existed, doesn’t take away anything of the latter quality it represents in the synergetic grandness of a Stones or Zeppelin song. In other words: the players quality to recognize the potential of the existing riff and to use and adapt it in terms of noteshaping (articulation of individual notes), in just the right (new) context is a great talent in itself. Take a song like Deep Purple’s “Black Night”, where the epic riff is also the result of Blackmore being heavily inspired by James Burton's riff to Ricky Nelson's 1962 rock recording of a George Gershwin standard called "Summertime". All of this doesn’t take away any of Ritchie’s greatness in my book. If anything, I’m very grateful for the fact that Ritchie and the other players I mentioned brought those riffs to me in such a great fashion.