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Geezer

Cultural impact

98 posts in this topic

Hi.

Would guys mind to elaborate on what impact Led Zeppelin has had on culture?

Edited by Geezer

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I spent some time trying to answer this question in the closing passages of LZ FAQ. Basically, I came up with a three-part summary:

1. They changed the audience's expectations of rock and pop music in general - not so much in terms of musical content (the Beatles really broke down that door), but in the overall sonic impact of the recordings. Zeppelin put the "heavy" in heavy rock.

2. They changed how the music industry worked, whereby the bulk of the act's earnings actually went to the artists themselves rather than the managers, promoters, agents, etc. Madonna, Celine Dion, Metallica and U2 can thank Zeppelin and Peter Grant for their fortunes.

3. They embodied the mythology of rock itself: dry ice, lasers, mystical lyrics, mysterious album covers, rumored decadence, huge concerts, epic solos, larger-than-life anthems - that's what rock stardom is all about!

post-12775-0-90056300-1370017349_thumb.j

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Hi Geezer. Good question that can be answered in many ways. GeorgeC gives an excellent answer as to how Zeppelin influenced music culture. I would like to add a tidbit from "on the ground" cultural experience.

Music conversion. Personally, and I know many of you have experienced the same phenomenon, of converting some, if not many, of your friends into Led Zeppelin fans. Several of my friends only knew of Zeppelin due to radio play - STH, WWL, BD, etc. When I invited them to listen to the whole of Zeppelin's music, they flipped out. They had no idea of how many different sounds this band had. I loved to see the look of wonder when I would play "Rain Song" and ask them to guess as to what band it was. When they found out it was Zeppelin, they could not believe it. Anyway, it is a wonderful experience for people who are bound by the music of the last 25 years

become Zeppelin fans and to realize what they had missed for so long. It just opens up a whole new world to the converts. So, I guess it is a musical epiphany that could translate into a cultural change for many people.

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Oh yeah...I knew I was forgetting something. Thanks for reminding me, Geezer.

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Hi all,

George if I may,.....

They influenced bands in their own time.As they, like other musicians were influenced before,during and after the fact.

Look at the 80's,there is IMHO as very strong Zep influence there.Whether you see it or not.

Etc.

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When I think of Led Zeppelin's "cultural impact", I think of how many genre's of music did Led Zeppelin's influence, how many age groups, how many countries, in addition to their peers making music & other art in their own time and or after them. Today's rock-n-roll youth culture can be argued is more of a Pop, Rap or EDM (example. Dubstep) culture than guitar driven Rock. Rap has previously embraced Kashmire, and today's dubstep DJ's mashup Zeppelin's music live and in Mixtapes.

Older brothers and sisters are recruiting their younger siblings and Tumblr has resulted in legions of teens "fan-girling" or "fan-idolizing" every member. One can say Zeppelins age group is 14-70, so basically eveyone. If you consider the ticket lottery requests for O2, being honored by the Kennedy Center for cultural achievement, Television shows like Californication adding not only their music but T-shirts and direct mentions for credibility to the storylines, documentaries like Goggenheims "its gonna get loud" etc. etc, its evident Zeppelin is culturally more than relevent. Coverbands all over the world, and famous guitarists from Joe Perry, Slash, Eddie Van Halen, Zakk Wyld treating Page like their god is humbling. Guitar World reader polls having STH's solo being the #1 solo of all time, says to me their music is more like an archtype, and Led Zeppelin's "Cultural Impact" is more like an asteriod hitting the modern music era, leaving an impact impression yet to be filled.

I'm also facinated with the sheer number of Zeppelin tattoo's across age groups including Zoso. This to me is "Cultural relevent" and I am amazed at how many young people have one. I am exploring this and other topics on my blog. Would love to hear what people think... Cheers.

Edited by TheEyeOfZoro

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I think the cultural impact changed after MTV and Beastie Boys, before that dinosaurs was the order of the day

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I spent some time trying to answer this question in the closing passages of LZ FAQ. Basically, I came up with a three-part summary:

1. They changed the audience's expectations of rock and pop music in general - not so much in terms of musical content (the Beatles really broke down that door), but in the overall sonic impact of the recordings. Zeppelin put the "heavy" in heavy rock.

2. They changed how the music industry worked, whereby the bulk of the act's earnings actually went to the artists themselves rather than the managers, promoters, agents, etc. Madonna, Celine Dion, Metallica and U2 can thank Zeppelin and Peter Grant for their fortunes.

3. They embodied the mythology of rock itself: dry ice, lasers, mystical lyrics, mysterious album covers, rumored decadence, huge concerts, epic solos, larger-than-life anthems - that's what rock stardom is all about!

attachicon.gifLZFAQ.jpg

I

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I think the cultural impact changed after MTV and Beastie Boys, before that dinosaurs was the order of the day

Depends on where you lived. In the US they didn't really suffer the dinosaur tag that the punks gave them in the UK. Led Zeppelin albums still sold steadily thru the 80s and 90s in the US while British kids, flogged by NME and Melody Maker, chased the latest fads.

Sigue Sigue Sputnik anyone?

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I spent some time trying to answer this question in the closing passages of LZ FAQ. Basically, I came up with a three-part summary:

1. They changed the audience's expectations of rock and pop music in general - not so much in terms of musical content (the Beatles really broke down that door), but in the overall sonic impact of the recordings. Zeppelin put the "heavy" in heavy rock.

2. They changed how the music industry worked, whereby the bulk of the act's earnings actually went to the artists themselves rather than the managers, promoters, agents, etc. Madonna, Celine Dion, Metallica and U2 can thank Zeppelin and Peter Grant for their fortunes.

3. They embodied the mythology of rock itself: dry ice, lasers, mystical lyrics, mysterious album covers, rumored decadence, huge concerts, epic solos, larger-than-life anthems - that's what rock stardom is all about!

attachicon.gifLZFAQ.jpg

George...I am just about finished reading your book...really digging it! I have read many Led Zep books...yours is way up there on my list of the best. I really appreciated the timeline sections...put things into perspective for me as to what else was happening out there in the world. And I liked that you didn't emphasize the sensational aspects, but you tried to put those in some perspective too...as matter of fact things that the band did, but not as defining . I would highly recommend this book as a must read for Zep Fans. There is a lot more I could say about it, but I just think it's a well thought out and well put together book...

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We're only 40 years into what will be a long legacy. Led Zeppelin is to Classic Rock Music as Beethoven or Mozart are to Classical Music. I predict there will be many generations of Led Zeppelin connoisseurs.

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ITA ^^. It has become a generational phenomenon. In my family - father to daughter to children to grand children and on and on.

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We're only 40 years into what will be a long legacy. Led Zeppelin is to Classic Rock Music as Beethoven or Mozart are to Classical Music. I predict there will be many generations of Led Zeppelin connoisseurs.

I have said the same thing. Led Zeppelin and Their Music will go down in history and still remain very relevant 100+ years from now. Just like Beethoven, Mozart and Bach.

If any Aliens ever decide to make their Presence known to Mankind sometime in the near or distant future (hopefully before I am dead), I am sure that even they would Love and acknowledge the cultural and UNIVERSAL appeal of these four "Classic" individuals and the Music They made. (I know that this is a silly thing to say, but I am positive that this would be the case).

I would think that "Since I've Been Loving You", "Stairway to Heaven", "No Quarter", "Kashmir", "In the Light", "Achilles Last Stand", and "Carouselambra" would appeal to any Alien visitors to Planet Earth.

"LONG LIVE THE MIGHTY LED ZEPPELIN!!!"

Edited by kingzoso

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All of the above, plus

1. Turned a lot of people on to the blues;

2. Spawned a lot of crappy imitators (all of the volume, none of the complexity or subtlety).

There's probably something to be said about their impact on fashion, but I don't know enough about the subject to break that one down properly. Also something about sex: an increased explicitness in mainstream rock (although obviously nothing to make anyone who already knew the blues clutch their pearls too much). And (linked to the fashion thing), an increased willingness on the part of male performers to be sexually objectified, or feminized (looking girly whilst still acting macho, or something). I don't quite speak the language of gender theory well enough to really analyse that either. . . but it was definitely something different, and something that carried on in heavy rock.

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George...I am just about finished reading your book...really digging it! I have read many Led Zep books...yours is way up there on my list of the best. I really appreciated the timeline sections...put things into perspective for me as to what else was happening out there in the world. And I liked that you didn't emphasize the sensational aspects, but you tried to put those in some perspective too...as matter of fact things that the band did, but not as defining . I would highly recommend this book as a must read for Zep Fans. There is a lot more I could say about it, but I just think it's a well thought out and well put together book...

Thanks for reading - I'm glad you're enjoying it, and especially that you got what I was trying to say. Always good to hear thoughtful responses, pro or con.

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Interesting topic. I think Zeppelin had an impact on the music industry, at least for awhile, showing the business how much power one band could have. Although the Beatles also did this. I think in terms of music, LZ showed the critics (eventually) and pundits that rock music fans were looking for music played by virtuosos, not just catchy songs sung by pretty girls and cute boys. Sadly, this effect does not seem to have lasted. Today we have...catchy songs sung by pretty (or weird) girls and cute boys...as for culture overall, I am sorry to say I think Zeppelin may have inadvertently had a negative effect. Rock fans started to go out of control at Altamont and sadly Zeppelin fans continued this trend. Something about the way certain people heard the music, or maybe the way young men interpreted what they saw as the band's swagger, led to misbehavior during the '77 tour and a fascination with the groupie culture that ultimately contributed to the degradation of women in society. I don't think any of this was intentional on the part of band members; they were just doing what they wanted in their personal lives and as for their lyrics, some that perhaps some young men interpreted as sexual swagger I saw as a nod to the old bluesmen who sang about women troubles. I think different people hear Led Zeppelin differently and have very different interpretations of the band's persona. The extremely wide differences in attitudes on this forum display these differences in perception.

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Interesting topic. I think Zeppelin had an impact on the music industry, at least for awhile, showing the business how much power one band could have. Although the Beatles also did this. I think in terms of music, LZ showed the critics (eventually) and pundits that rock music fans were looking for music played by virtuosos, not just catchy songs sung by pretty girls and cute boys. Sadly, this effect does not seem to have lasted. Today we have...catchy songs sung by pretty (or weird) girls and cute boys...as for culture overall, I am sorry to say I think Zeppelin may have inadvertently had a negative effect. Rock fans started to go out of control at Altamont and sadly Zeppelin fans continued this trend. Something about the way certain people heard the music, or maybe the way young men interpreted what they saw as the band's swagger, led to misbehavior during the '77 tour and a fascination with the groupie culture that ultimately contributed to the degradation of women in society. I don't think any of this was intentional on the part of band members; they were just doing what they wanted in their personal lives and as for their lyrics, some that perhaps some young men interpreted as sexual swagger I saw as a nod to the old bluesmen who sang about women troubles. I think different people hear Led Zeppelin differently and have very different interpretations of the band's persona. The extremely wide differences in attitudes on this forum display these differences in perception.

Not to argue with you because I think what you said was very succinct, and yes Altamont was a pure disaster and what some have said was the dying end of the 1960's (along with the order from Charles Manson to go out and kill the "Establishment", Tate/LaBianca, "Helter Skelter" murders), I think a lot of the disorder and chaos came from, the use of some very Powerful hallucinogens.

I will have to say that I disagree with you when you say that Led Zeppelin continued this trend (of fans going out of control).

I have heard at least 100+ bootlegs of Led Zeppelin and I have never heard of Robert Plant provoking riots or Violence of any kind. Robert Plant was and always will be a Messenger of Peace and Love.

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Not to argue with you because I think what you said was very succinct, and yes Altamont was a pure disaster and what some have said was the dying end of the 1960's (along with the order from Charles Manson to go out and kill the "Establishment", Tate/LaBianca, "Helter Skelter" murders), I think a lot of the disorder and chaos came from, the use of some very Powerful hallucinogens.

I will have to say that I disagree with you when you say that Led Zeppelin continued this trend (of fans going out of control).

I have heard at least 100+ bootlegs of Led Zeppelin and I have never heard of Robert Plant provoking riots or Violence of any kind. Robert Plant was and always will be a Messenger of Peace and Love.

I never said Robert Plant or other band members incited violence...I said I believe there is something about the way some people, mostly young men, heard the music and interpreted the gossip about the band's off-stage behavior, that led them to identify with a perceived lifestyle of hedonism and perhaps sexism. I'm not saying this was founded in reality. It's like people who misread certain philosophers or novelists and think they are prescribing certain behaviors or political agendas. I will say however that I have never personally identified, as a woman, with the lyrics from "Heartbreaker" or "Black Dog" nor do I think these lyrics promote a message of Peace or Love....I think the band members like most people under 40 and with some intelligence and sanity were almost certainly opposed to the Vietnam War (although I've never read any quotes from them on the subject) and their long hair and hippie clothes seem to put them in the Woodstock generation. I think young men tend to look for a macho image to identify with and one could say there have been similar misunderstandings around Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Metallica etc.

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post-12775-0-29074000-1370453052_thumb.jScarlet makes a good point, which goes back to my original mention of how LZ changed the sound of rock music (and recorded pop songs generally). Notwithstanding the band members' personal beliefs - and Robert Plant always took care to identify himself with the hippie viewpoint - the loud, intense, riff-driven music perfected by Zeppelin is a prototype of the aggressive heavy metal style that is widely associated with fan violence. I'm certainly not blaming Zeppelin for Lamb of God or Cradle of Filth or whoever, but there's no denying that the band influenced the entire subcategory of macho, angry, guitar-based rock 'n' roll. Even if the underlying messages of "Immigrant Song" or "The Rover" are pacifist, the music itself makes you want to raise your fist and bang your head (and right on! I say).

As for Zeppelin's sexism, I also allude to this in LZFAQ when I talk about Zeppelin as "cock rock." Sometimes their songs can be borderline misogynistic, for sure, but I think a lot of female listeners enjoy the music (and the musicians) precisely for their swaggering masculinity. I won't even try to parse the appeal of all-girl tribute bands Lez Zeppelin or Zepparella.

Interesting topic.

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No, it's not a joke. I'm not saying Led Zeppelin are responsible for any mayhem that may have occurred at their own concerts (although we know there was unrest at some of their shows, or at ticket outlets before their concerts), and certainly not at any other act's gigs. I'm saying this:

1. Some types of popular music are particularly associated with an audience of rowdy young males who are prone to violence

2. One of those types of music is heavy metal - distorted electric guitars, loud drums, fast beats, dramatic vocals, etc.

3. Led Zeppelin is usually considered the most important group to have played in this genre, and countless later groups drew on and amplified their approach.

That's all.

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Interesting topic. I think Zeppelin had an impact on the music industry, at least for awhile, showing the business how much power one band could have. Although the Beatles also did this. I think in terms of music, LZ showed the critics (eventually) and pundits that rock music fans were looking for music played by virtuosos, not just catchy songs sung by pretty girls and cute boys. Sadly, this effect does not seem to have lasted. Today we have...catchy songs sung by pretty (or weird) girls and cute boys...as for culture overall, I am sorry to say I think Zeppelin may have inadvertently had a negative effect. Rock fans started to go out of control at Altamont and sadly Zeppelin fans continued this trend. Something about the way certain people heard the music, or maybe the way young men interpreted what they saw as the band's swagger, led to misbehavior during the '77 tour and a fascination with the groupie culture that ultimately contributed to the degradation of women in society. I don't think any of this was intentional on the part of band members; they were just doing what they wanted in their personal lives and as for their lyrics, some that perhaps some young men interpreted as sexual swagger I saw as a nod to the old bluesmen who sang about women troubles. I think different people hear Led Zeppelin differently and have very different interpretations of the band's persona. The extremely wide differences in attitudes on this forum display these differences in perception.

Let's not forget that bands like The Who were doing more to incite head banging and riotous behavior long before Zep. And that was before LZ or Altamont. That said, I think we can look to the overall mood of the country and lots of other things going on politically, culturally, racially even in the financial sector of the country in the late 70's to get a broader picture, rather than looking just at Led Zeppelin as it impacted the overall culture. I think whatever violence there was at LZ events was brought to the venue...I have heard Robert on several boots telling people to calm down, quit throwing fire crackers, etc. And let's not forget about the sexual revolution...I don't think LZ started that either. IMO, LZ didn't start anything really...what makes their impact so great in my opinion is their novelty of taking what was either already going on, or had been done, or was being done and taking it to a new level...re-inventing and expanding the language that had already been written...like Beethoven or Mozart did. Fan violence came to them for sure, LZ in its entirety of music doesn't really have that much in common with the heavy metal bands that promoted head banging. That's why I think we see the broad appeal of their music today and will continue to see that appeal for many years. The music doesn't fit any one category...drawing on so many genres...putting a genre in a pot, stirring it around, each member adding his own genius to the mix and coming out with something recognizable (there is comfort in the familiar) but new and fresh, yet today and tomorrow. That is not to discount your analysis, George. Like I said, I loved your book...I will go to it for references a lot, I am sure. And you cover all of the angles without getting mired or married to any of them. Do we take Lz and set them into the cultural mileu? Or do we take the cultural mileu and overlay it on the band. So I guess in this long-winded thing, I would keep the cultural impact within the scope of the music, since that's what the band members have always said they were about. If you want to talk cultural impact...let's talk Bob Dylan....just as a punctuation on my point.

Edited by nat431

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Scarlet makes a good point, which goes back to my original mention of how LZ changed the sound of rock music (and recorded pop songs generally). Notwithstanding the band members' personal beliefs - and Robert Plant always took care to identify himself with the hippie viewpoint - the loud, intense, riff-driven music perfected by Zeppelin is a prototype of the aggressive heavy metal style that is widely associated with fan violence. I'm certainly not blaming Zeppelin for Lamb of God or Cradle of Filth or whoever, but there's no denying that the band influenced the entire subcategory of macho, angry, guitar-based rock 'n' roll. Even if the underlying messages of "Immigrant Song" or "The Rover" are pacifist, the music itself makes you want to raise your fist and bang your head (and right on! I say).

As for Zeppelin's sexism, I also allude to this in LZFAQ when I talk about Zeppelin as "cock rock." Sometimes their songs can be borderline misogynistic, for sure, but I think a lot of female listeners enjoy the music (and the musicians) precisely for their swaggering masculinity. I won't even try to parse the appeal of all-girl tribute bands Lez Zeppelin or Zepparella.

Interesting topic.

Hmm. I don't think female listeners enjoy the music for the "swaggering masculinity." We enjoy the music because it's actually beautiful. In fact despite the swaggering nature of some of the lyrics, Jimmy Page's stage persona has been slightly androgynous and it's interesting that male fans often don't notice this. By the way, the message of "Immigrant Song" is not "pacifist." It describes a Viking invasion, the defeat of the conquered people and their necessity of making peace on the victor's terms. Sadly this has been a frequent occurrence in history and perhaps Plant had been reading history when he wrote the lyrics. I find the lyrics to be descriptive rather than prescriptive, but can hardly be read as promoting pacifism, more as an account of what those times were probably like.

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As for Zeppelin's sexism, I also allude to this in LZFAQ when I talk about Zeppelin as "cock rock." Sometimes their songs can be borderline misogynistic, for sure, but I think a lot of female listeners enjoy the music (and the musicians) precisely for their swaggering masculinity. I won't even try to parse the appeal of all-girl tribute bands Lez Zeppelin or Zepparella.

I enjoy them DESPITE the "swaggering masculinity". The occasional misogyny is the one thing that mars them for me. (Ditto the Rolling Stones).

Fan violence wasn't their fault; they didn't endorse violence or encourage others to be violent. But I think they do bear some responsibility for the trouble that sometimes seemed to follow them around, just because they employed the likes of Richard Cole and John Bindon.

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Thanks to all of you for replying

Oh yeah...I knew I was forgetting something. Thanks for reminding me, Geezer.

Is there anything you can add? I think you might have a lot to talk about since you've attended their concerts.

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