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Thread: Help me understand Led Zeppelin?

  1. #51
    Member Guitarplyrjvb's Avatar
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    My favorite by LZ is III and I think it's their most eclectic offering. Side I (dating myself, I know) is one of the best sides ever commtiited to vinyl. "Since I've Been Lovin' You", IMHO, is my favorite LZ tune and contains one of the best guitar solos ever. The tone of Page's guitar is to die for. Side 2 is a lot more mellow, starting out with Gallow's Pole and the beautiful Tangerine. They then try to do the folksinger thing with mixed results, but it's a progressive move for them given the first two records which I laud them for.

    To me, after IV, Page's guitar tone suffered. I don't know what he did, but the guitars lost that visceral punch. Plant's incredible vocals began to decline in earnest, too, first evidenced on Houses of the Holy and then, more notably, with Physical Grafitti. The songwriting and albums were still great, but the band were in decline.

    I saw them in concert in 1977 and it was the WORST concert I ever saw. Page was wasted and could barely stand up. The playing was garage-band sloppy. I actually left before it was over, something I'd never done.

    That first video box set, I think, is one of the best video documentaries of any band I've ever seen. Some great early performances. If you watch that and don't like them, then they're not your cuppa!

    The Bonham/Jones rhythym section is a steam locomotive of goodness. Jones is one of the greatest rock bassists, IMHO, and is severely underappreciated.
    Last edited by Guitarplyrjvb; 02-14-2019 at 01:00 PM.

  2. #52
    Notall - I'm afraid I've never been able to turn off my critical mind and just "rock out." Lyrics matter to me and, while I was once a horny adolescent, even then I found WLL's lyrics embarrassing. (And over the years I have felt there was a lot of misogyny in Plant's LZ lyrics but that's another story.) That is a part of what I'm struggling to get past here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Plasmatopia View Post
    The Who (I was never really a fan) are an entirely different beast and I'm not sure why they should necessarily be used as a comparison. But their music didn't come across to me as being as "heavy" or dark. In that way they always felt closer to pop than metal.
    If you don't hear heavy on Live at Leeds, you need your hearing checked. No, they were never a dark band (though a couple of songs here and there...), but they were definitely not just a pop group; they ventured into a variety of styles, sometimes in the same song (I'm looking at you, "A Quick One"). They sounded less heavy in the studio partly because, for whatever reason, Pete chose to double or replace a lot of his electric guitar parts with acoustic (very noticeable in particular on Tommy). Like LZ, and for that matter KC and the GD, they were more of a live band than a studio band.
    Ring the bells, that still can ring,
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  3. #53
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    Well the lyrics of 'Whole Lotta Love' are mostly 'You Need Love' anyway- written by Willie Dixon, and Muddy Waters' version is the best known, I guess.

    Apart from the senseless inclusion of 'Moby Dick', I've always loved The Song Remains The Same as a live album. The expanded remaster and the film had songs not on the original double album, any of those instead of 'Moby Dick' and it would have been much better thought of at the time, IMHO.

    How The West Was Won and the DVD are magnificent. Page did the band proud with those, if only he'd release more!

    The aforementioned 1977 tour has some issues, even with an 'on' night like you hear on the deservedly famous Listen To This Eddie bootleg. Page's 'noise' solo on this tour is particularly ludicrous and Spinal Tap-esque, IMHO. The 30 minute versions of 'No Quarter' also tended to lapse into a not very interesting blues jam in the middle. I seem to remember that Plant later mentioned that he felt they were showboating far too much during this tour and true enough, subsequent gigs reined those tendencies in.

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarplyrjvb View Post
    I saw them in concert in 1977 and it was the WORST concert I ever saw. Page was wasted and could barely stand up. The playing was garage-band sloppy. I actually left before it was over, something I've never done.
    Wondering where this show was? There is a full show on videotape from Seattle which was not used for the 2003 DVD but then of course if you look at it, it's obvious why. Plant is not in good voice and Page is not in good shape.

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sturgeon's Lawyer View Post
    Notall - I'm afraid I've never been able to turn off my critical mind and just "rock out." Lyrics matter to me and, while I was once a horny adolescent, even then I found WLL's lyrics embarrassing. (And over the years I have felt there was a lot of misogyny in Plant's LZ lyrics but that's another story.) That is a part of what I'm struggling to get past here.



    If you don't hear heavy on Live at Leeds, you need your hearing checked. No, they were never a dark band (though a couple of songs here and there...), but they were definitely not just a pop group; they ventured into a variety of styles, sometimes in the same song (I'm looking at you, "A Quick One"). They sounded less heavy in the studio partly because, for whatever reason, Pete chose to double or replace a lot of his electric guitar parts with acoustic (very noticeable in particular on Tommy). Like LZ, and for that matter KC and the GD, they were more of a live band than a studio band.
    Live at Leeds is great! It's no wonder that Townshend has hearing issues after listening to that record. Just looking at him standing so close to se to those HiWatt stacks makes my ears bleed!

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    Wondering where this show was? There is a full show on videotape from Seattle which was not used for the 2003 DVD but then of course if you look at it, it's obvious why. Plant is not in good voice and Page is not in good shape.
    Capital Centre in Landover MD.

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    ^Thanks. (There's a famous Who bootleg from that venue in 1973.)

  8. #58
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronmac View Post

    First time I heard "The Lemon Song," I thought of "The Killing Floor."


    exactly.
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  9. #59
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    I loved LZ from when I was in high school. I bought Presence new when it came out, and eventually made it backwards in the catalog from there. For a long time Houses was my favorite, but I grew to love everything. Today my go-tos are PG and Presence. As has been said above, the variety in style is a big attraction, but the thing that really brought it home was the release of the DVD set in '03 that included the RAH, Earls Court, MSG, and Knebworth performances. They really were a force to be reckoned with live. Plant is riveting, Page played what was essential from the recordings but also stretched out remarkably well and JPJ was so inventive that one rarely missed having a rhythm guitarist. Bonham, well, he was just one-of-a-kind. How he was able to play the things he did while smacking the absolute piss out of the drums floors me. I don't think it's a coincidence that no footage from the '77 tour is extant on the official releases, as I agree they were a band in chaos at that point. I was fortunate/unfortunate to be at the one night of four at Chicago Stadium in April of that year, the night when the concert was cut short by Page's case of "food poisoning". Tickets were set to be honored at a return engagement later that year, but then Plant lost his son. Before they could return to Chicago Bonzo died. I'm glad I at least got an hour live, though, and super glad to have the footage on the DVD of the band at their various high points.
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  10. #60
    Great posts people, even the ones I don't agree with. I thought the Who-Zeps rivalry was something already established: we're talking about the 2 best selling hard-rock acts of their time, which shared some uncanny similarities: you know, singer with curly hair that tried to restraint the ehm, enthusiasm of the others, wasted, genius guitarist that wrote the music, introverted on the background bass player, beast of a drummer that had the same tragic fate, shall I go on?

    I don't know if it has been explicitly stated, but it's clear to me that Page was very well aware of Townshend as a player and writer, and part of the high level of artistic expression that Zeppelin always maintained was due to this hidden antagonism.

    As for The Who not being heavy, I will use the three words that others also used: Live at Leeds

  11. #61
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    I was fortunate/unfortunate to be at the one night of four at Chicago Stadium in April of that year, the night when the concert was cut short by Page's case of "food poisoning".
    I was at the show in Bloomington MN a few nights late when Page had "recovered". The flight from Chicago got delayed because of a storm so they were an hour late and apparently Robert had no time to warm up his voice. So he wasn't full on until "In My Time of Dying", during those big vocal breaks his voice went HUGE. One of my friends kept screaming "Robert Fucking Plant!". Bonham was a goddamn beast and Jones was cruising. Page, who was playing in rather sober conditions, was ferocious. So other than having to drop a couple songs for time (At almost half past midnight Plant said, "Minneapolis, it is now tomorrow. Good night!"), it was a cooking show. BUT, '77 was a mess of a tour. Inconsistent play throughout, Plant's ankle continued to plague him, Page's heroin use was approaching Keith Richards levels.

    I read an interview with a 70s concert promoter a few years back and he was asked who was best. He sited several great acts and then said something to the effect of "The Who and Led Zeppelin could deliver disasters of shows. The booze and drug use among Townshend, Page, Moon, and Bonham was ridiculous. Daltrey and Plant were fragile. However, on a great night, those two acts could reach heights no one else in rock could touch. No one."
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

  12. #62
    Led Zeppelin songs on every record demonstrate stretching the boundaries with ballsy swagger and graceful elegance. I could make you a playlist. Good Times Bad Times, Thank You, What Is And What Should Never Be, Ramble On, The Immigrant Song (how my parents hated THAT one), Out On The Tiles, Black Dog, When The Levee Breaks, The Rain Song, Over The Hills And Far Away, The Rover, In My Time Of Dying, In The Light.

    All tunes that enabled them to present a more consistent and palatable version of what the original Jeff Beck Group did.

  13. #63
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    Yes I don't think Beck had the songs and Zeppelin did. Truth is also 'interesting' with regards to songwriting credits and blues songs.

    Rod Stewart obviously went on to prove himself as a songwriter, though!

  14. #64
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    My favorite track from III is......Out On The Tiles.

    Great album from start to finish though.

  15. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by Vic2012 View Post
    My favorite track from III is......Out On The Tiles.

    Great album from start to finish though.
    Out On The Tiles - good choice. I love John Bonham's drumming on the outro (beginning about 90 seconds from the end)

  16. #66
    Back in 1971, with their fourth album fresh in the shops, Led Zep were the greatest. ‘Black Dog’ (Hey, hey mamma, said the way you move, gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove…), ‘Rock and Roll’, ‘Battle of Evermore’, then ‘Stairway to Heaven’. No need to play the flip side, everything I imagined that rock could offer was on side one’s four tracks. Teenage heaven. Now, 48 (!?!) years later, if I were hearing the album for the first time, I might ask what the fuss was about. I feel lucky to have heard it when I did all those years ago.
    I never saw Led Zeppelin live, but I get a sense of what they must have been like in their heyday from How The West Was Won. It takes 15 minutes (from the massive opener ‘Immigrant Song’, through ‘Heartbreaker’, and then ‘Black Dog’) before Plant even deigns to acknowledge the crowd with a Good Evening. OK, there was a lot of excess (I feel the pain just thinking about standing through Bonham’s 18-minute drum solo in ‘Moby Dick’) but there was no holding back in a show lasting 2.5 hours or so. Mighty stuff, pure and simple.

  17. #67
    Occipital Provocatee Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sturgeon's Lawyer View Post
    If you don't hear heavy on Live at Leeds, you need your hearing checked. No, they were never a dark band (though a couple of songs here and there...), but they were definitely not just a pop group; they ventured into a variety of styles, sometimes in the same song (I'm looking at you, "A Quick One"). They sounded less heavy in the studio partly because, for whatever reason, Pete chose to double or replace a lot of his electric guitar parts with acoustic (very noticeable in particular on Tommy). Like LZ, and for that matter KC and the GD, they were more of a live band than a studio band.
    I put "heavy" in quotes because I was trying to say (poorly) that The Who were a different sort of heavy....Zep was the darker sort of heavy I guess. And I didn't mean they were pop, just leaned more in that direction than Zep. In the same way, I also wasn't saying Zep was really metal.
    Just sitting at home rocking back and forth and jealously caressing my invisible collection of theoretical assets.

  18. #68
    Estimated Prophet notallwhowander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sturgeon's Lawyer View Post
    Notall - I'm afraid I've never been able to turn off my critical mind and just "rock out." Lyrics matter to me and, while I was once a horny adolescent, even then I found WLL's lyrics embarrassing. (And over the years I have felt there was a lot of misogyny in Plant's LZ lyrics but that's another story.) That is a part of what I'm struggling to get past here.
    As far as turning off my critical mind, I don't think a can really do that either. However, there is a visceral aspect to rock music, which I know you grok. I think the viscerality is essential for understanding why people think Led Zeppelin is so great. I notice that when I listen to Led Zeppelin, I listen with my whole body, if that makes any sense. Also, I discovered Led Zeppelin while my critical mind was developing, which may count for something.

    I'd have to go over the catalog again with an intentional ear when it comes to misogyny. It is quite possible I've glossed over some stuff, lacking critical skills in my early days, and now the songs being so overly familiar I haven't examined them with fresh ears. However, I do think there are the songs themselves and what we as listeners ascribe as intention. Women dig Zeppelin. While on one hand that doesn't say much, many women dig the Stones and Mick's lyrics are pretty notorious, it's still worth noting. While there was a ton of erotic objectification, I don't recall any hate. There is plenty of heartbreak, but there was comparatively little bitterness. I can think of "Your Time is Gonna Come," and the part of "Gallows Pole" where the narrator pimps out his sister and she dies for it - that's dreadful - but I'm not recalling a whole lot more. I could, however, be conveniently leaving out things that did not comport with the intentions I ascribed to the songs.

    Led Zeppelin never used T&A to sell their records (outside of Plant himself), it was never part of the iconography. Even at his most graphic, Plant always wrote his tunes about a single woman, the object of song's romantic and/or erotic fascination. If so inclined, a person could build a monogamous romantic fantasy out Led Zeppelin lyrics. They carefully created a space that brought women in, which is also part of what made them great.
    Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world.

  19. #69
    Estimated Prophet notallwhowander's Avatar
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    Oh, and Live at Leeds is a fucking monster.
    Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world.

  20. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by notallwhowander View Post
    I can think of ... the part of "Gallows Pole" where the narrator pimps out his sister and she dies for it - that's dreadful - but I'm not recalling a whole lot more. I could, however, be conveniently leaving out things that did not comport with the intentions I ascribed to the songs.
    The accused dies, not his sister. Granted, the hangman does have his way with her as she was offered up for that purpose, which is still pretty awful.

    Sister, I implore you, take him by the hand
    Take him to some shady bower
    Save me from the wrath of this man
    Please take him
    Save me from the wrath of this man, man


    Hangman, hangman, upon your face a smile
    Pray tell me that I'm free to ride
    Ride for many mile, mile, mile
    Oh, yes, you got a fine sister
    She warmed my blood from cold
    She brought my blood to boiling hot
    To keep you from the gallows pole, pole, pole, pole, yeah

    Your brother brought me silver
    Your sister warmed my soul
    But now I laugh and pull so hard
    And see you swinging on the gallows pole, yeah

  21. #71
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    'Gallows Pole' is 'trad arr'.

    Actually I'd recommend the Page/Plant album No Quarter to anyone hasn't heard it, including 'Zeppelin sceptics'. I think it was loosely part of that MTV Unplugged thing.

  22. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronmac View Post
    Did you use an LP or 45 RPM?

    First time I heard "The Lemon Song," I thought of "The Killing Floor."
    I have a mid-70s UK repress of LZ II and on the label the songs on side A are listed as

    1. Whole Lotta Love (Page-Bonham-Plant-Jones)
    2. What Is and What Should Never Be (Page-Plant)
    3. Killing Floor (Burnett)
    4. Thank You (Page-Plant)

    On the actual cover it's still called The Lemon Song. I wonder what happened there.

  23. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gruno View Post
    So true!

    I bought the original Zeppelin 4-disc box set in 1990. From that, I made a good single-disc Best Of. While I can tolerate Zeppelin, Hendrix was the one I just can't take.
    Definitely in the same boat. Problems was my brothers loved Zeppelin and I loved Tangerine Dream. The goal was to get home from school first and control the stereo 😁!

  24. #74
    Occipital Provocatee Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronmac View Post

    First time I heard "The Lemon Song," I thought of "The Killing Floor."
    It would be hard not to make the connection...that phrase appears in the lyrics.
    Just sitting at home rocking back and forth and jealously caressing my invisible collection of theoretical assets.

  25. #75
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    I think a lot of music is about timing, for the most part Led Zep sounds dated, I liked them as a kid, when I was first getting into music, but even then I did not like all of their material and agree that Plants high-pitched whiney voice can be annoying.

    Stairway to Heaven (followed closely by Won't Get Fooled Again) might be the greatest rock song not only of the 70's but EVER made! It came out when I was 13 and I loved it and was very much into hard rock (Hendrix, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, The Who, Wishbone Ash, Yes, Tull, etc) so after waiting for over 2 years for their next release, this 15 year old peddled his sting ray over 12 miles round-trip to buy Houses of the Holy, I recall thinking the cover was kinda weird looked like a little naked boy, with wig, Ok, whatever, can't wait to hear what they have created to top Stairway to Heaven, I put it on my PL-12D Pioneer and what I hear was worse than a hammer to the face, instead of hard driving blues rock, I'm hearing mellotron driven bather, wears the guitar solos, I look to see if Page is still in the band, and then Dyer Maker starts and halfway through, after throwing up, I take the record off and got rid of it.

    Led Zep was dead to me, never bought another of their records or CD's to this day.

    Although I would like to compliment them of a very appropriate album title: "The Song Remains the Same" - YES, it does and that's the problem...

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