Led Zeppelin

 

So yeah, Led Zeppelin.  The original gods of rock.  The innovators of heavy metal.  The band that influenced just about every band I ever listened to.  And somehow I never actually got into them.  Not sure how I missed that boat…I remember buying Zep IV off of Lord Bacchus back in college (because I liked “Black Dog”, not “Stairway”!) when he got some sort of Zeppelin box set and was getting rid of his regular copies, but up until now that was the only Zeppelin album I ever owned, which is kind of a shame because this stuff really rocks.  I mean really rocks.  Oh well, better late than never.

I got this album off Amazon for $7.73, and I’ve been listening to it pretty much non-stop for the past few days.  The first thing that jumped out at me was that this is actually a blues record, albeit a very experimental one with lots of distortion.  In addition to the 3 actual blues covers on the album (“Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You”, “You Shook Me”, and “I Can’t Quit You Baby”), all of the other songs have a very strong blues influence as well.  Obviously, one of the things that made this band special was the interplay between Jimmy Page’s guitar and Robert Plant’s vocals, and this dynamic is showcased in amazing fashion at the end of “You Shook Me” when Page and Plant trade licks back and forth in a call-and-response style that is usually reserved for gospel choirs.  Amazing stuff.

The originals on this record are great too.  And as I listen to it, I can’t help but realize the incredible influence these guys had on so many other bands.  Practically every hard rock and heavy metal act of the 70s, 80s, and 90s owes some little bit to Led Zeppelin.  I can now hear Robert Plant in Axl Rose’s wail and Chris Cornell’s yowl, and Jimmy Page in Mike McCready’s leads and Jerry Cantrell’s riffs.  And to think that it all started here.  Pretty cool.  Absolutely nothing political at all on this record either…just songs about chicks.  But that’s okay…it’s still awesome.  And well, rock gods don’t need to save the world…they just need girls, right?

Other lists: Led Zeppelin is #14 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Artists, Robert Plant is #15 on the list of the 100 Greatest Singers, and Jimmy Page is #3 on the list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists (only Hendrix and Clapton rank higher).

My favourite track: “Dazed and Confused”

Honourable mention: “Communication Breakdown”

Quote: “In the days of my youth, I was told what it means to be a man.  Now I’ve reached that age, I’ve tried to do all those things the best I can.”

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