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osoz

Did Led Zeppelin make the right decision to break up?

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The Who lost Moon and carried on.

And in retrospect many people consider that a mistake...including members of the band. Townshend was the only one who really wanted to carry on with the Who after Moonie died...and his subsequent guilt over it, combined with the bad craziness that surrounded the Who in the immediate aftermath (i.e. the Cincinatti incident) and Pete's attempt to live up to his "legend"/image damn near killed him as well. To the point where in 1982 Roger Daltrey actually told Townshend, "Break up the band if it'll keep you alive!"

I can't help but feel a similar fate would have befallen Led Zeppelin had they replaced Bonham and carried on.

For that matter, considering how many people utterly respect Zeppelin's decision to pack it in and look at it as the epitome of musical integrity, I think it was absolutely the right decision to quit after Bonzo died.

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Patrycja   

Absolutely.

The decision has weathered some critical storms and stood the test of time, and its integrity is all the stronger for it.

Even if all the remaining members were healthy, it would still have been the the honourable and if I can use the term, moral, decision. The spirit of the band was where those four particular individuals intersected. Trying to recreate that alchemy would have been mad. Add to all the facts already stated that at some point Jonesy too wanted out and had to be convinced to return, well, all those factors just shut that door once and for all, and allowed for others to open. We see now the respective paths they've chosen.

A word about "reunions": O2 was a great concert, and Jason did an amazing job, as good as it could have been done, truly, but the fact has and will remain: No Bonzo, No Led Zeppelin (same goes for any of the other members, equal parts of greatness that made the whole so special.)

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I have always felt it odd for bands to carry on after loosing key members. Are The Who and the Rolling Stones the same bands anymore. Wasn't Plant on the bill when Entwhistle died or have I miss remembered that.

Knowing what they know now would the three reunion shows still have happened.

Rock music is a commercial art form. Therefore, I don't blame any band for carrying on after the death of a key member. Their livelihoods are at stake so if they want to hire a new musician or singer to replace their deceased member I'm okay with it. I'm also okay with rock bands who decide to call it quits when a key member dies or leaves the band for any other reason.

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I dont know if Led Zeppelin made the right decision to break up after John Bonhams untimely death. But that is the decision they made and should be respected. Maybe they could have recruited another drummer and gone on to more great success, but that did not happen and therefore we will never know. I guess all I am trying to say is they hopefully made the right decision for themselves, they sure did seem to follow the golden rule of showmanship....always leave them wanting more.

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they sure did seem to follow the golden rule of showmanship....always leave them wanting more.

Off the top of my head, the only other band besides Zeppelin that gets the "What if they didn't break up?" question asked so often is The Beatles. And, quite frankly, it is as hard to imagine The Beatles in the seventies as it is imagining Zeppelin in the eighties. Both bands were wholly products of their particular time.

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It was the right choice in the beginning, and the wrong choice later on. When Jason became of age, they should have reformed.

How so? By the time Jason came of age, he still wasn't half the drummer his father was - that's no intended insult, Jason is tremendous, but his father was simply extraordinary - and enough time had passed since the initial disbanding of LZ that the creative momentum between the surviving members had long since dissipated in a haze of tragedy and substance abuse, that's not to say any reformed LZ album wouldn't have been good to even truly great, but the sheer weight of expectation on such a release would have worked against it from the outset, and it wouldn't have been given a fair shake once it hit shelves... it's only very recently that Pink Floyd's The Division Bell is getting a fair reappraisal, two decades after it's release, public opinion can take time to accept anything new.

And no Bonzo = no Zeppelin, all four members were utterly irreplaceable in their respective contributions. take one away from the equation and it stops being what it was... and besides, had Zeppelin reformed, say, in 1990-91 after the remastered catalogue re-releases, the whole thing would have been a corporate nightmare, the very thing Robert Plant complained privately about with the 02 show; lawyers and business managers would have dominated the proceedings, ticket prices would have been outrageous, the kids wouldn't have stood a chance getting tickets, audiences would been largely made up of people eager to be seen and not because they loved Zep, and the whole affair would have been an unparalleled commercial bonanza but a complete artistic disaster. Plant would have bitterly regretted it had he went through with it, and Zep's name and reputation would have been tarnished thereafter...

No, they made the right decision in 1980, they made the right decision throughout the 1980's and 1990's, and thank goodness Plant made the right decision after the honorable 02 show in 2007... we all dearly love LZ and their timeless music, but the star that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and Led Zeppelin burned so very brightly whilst they were active. I choose to remember them as they were - the single greatest band that ever walked or ever will walk the planet, bar none - not as I hope they would be again sometime in the future, that future won't happen and shouldn't happen... as Tom Wolfe once wrote, "you can never go home again".

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How so? By the time Jason came of age, he still wasn't half the drummer his father was - that's no intended insult, Jason is tremendous, but his father was simply extraordinary - and enough time had passed since the initial disbanding of LZ that the creative momentum between the surviving members had long since dissipated in a haze of tragedy and substance abuse, that's not to say any reformed LZ album wouldn't have been good to even truly great, but the sheer weight of expectation on such a release would have worked against it from the outset, and it wouldn't have been given a fair shake once it hit shelves... it's only very recently that Pink Floyd's The Division Bell is getting a fair reappraisal, two decades after it's release, public opinion can take time to accept anything new.

And no Bonzo = no Zeppelin, all four members were utterly irreplaceable in their respective contributions. take one away from the equation and it stops being what it was... and besides, had Zeppelin reformed, say, in 1990-91 after the remastered catalogue re-releases, the whole thing would have been a corporate nightmare, the very thing Robert Plant complained privately about with the 02 show; lawyers and business managers would have dominated the proceedings, ticket prices would have been outrageous, the kids wouldn't have stood a chance getting tickets, audiences would been largely made up of people eager to be seen and not because they loved Zep, and the whole affair would have been an unparalleled commercial bonanza but a complete artistic disaster. Plant would have bitterly regretted it had he went through with it, and Zep's name and reputation would have been tarnished thereafter...

No, they made the right decision in 1980, they made the right decision throughout the 1980's and 1990's, and thank goodness Plant made the right decision after the honorable 02 show in 2007... we all dearly love LZ and their timeless music, but the star that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and Led Zeppelin burned so very brightly whilst they were active. I choose to remember them as they were - the single greatest band that ever walked or ever will walk the planet, bar none - not as I hope they would be again sometime in the future, that future won't happen and shouldn't happen... as Tom Wolfe once wrote, "you can never go home again".

That's my opinion, and I stand by it. All the long post contrary opinions and rationalizations change nothing for me. Of course, the general sentiment of the band (including Jason) is the same as mine, apart from Robert. Edited by The Dark Lord

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woz70   

How so? By the time Jason came of age, he still wasn't half the drummer his father was - that's no intended insult, Jason is tremendous, but his father was simply extraordinary - and enough time had passed since the initial disbanding of LZ that the creative momentum between the surviving members had long since dissipated in a haze of tragedy and substance abuse, that's not to say any reformed LZ album wouldn't have been good to even truly great, but the sheer weight of expectation on such a release would have worked against it from the outset, and it wouldn't have been given a fair shake once it hit shelves... it's only very recently that Pink Floyd's The Division Bell is getting a fair reappraisal, two decades after it's release, public opinion can take time to accept anything new.

And no Bonzo = no Zeppelin, all four members were utterly irreplaceable in their respective contributions. take one away from the equation and it stops being what it was... and besides, had Zeppelin reformed, say, in 1990-91 after the remastered catalogue re-releases, the whole thing would have been a corporate nightmare, the very thing Robert Plant complained privately about with the 02 show; lawyers and business managers would have dominated the proceedings, ticket prices would have been outrageous, the kids wouldn't have stood a chance getting tickets, audiences would been largely made up of people eager to be seen and not because they loved Zep, and the whole affair would have been an unparalleled commercial bonanza but a complete artistic disaster. Plant would have bitterly regretted it had he went through with it, and Zep's name and reputation would have been tarnished thereafter...

No, they made the right decision in 1980, they made the right decision throughout the 1980's and 1990's, and thank goodness Plant made the right decision after the honorable 02 show in 2007... we all dearly love LZ and their timeless music, but the star that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and Led Zeppelin burned so very brightly whilst they were active. I choose to remember them as they were - the single greatest band that ever walked or ever will walk the planet, bar none - not as I hope they would be again sometime in the future, that future won't happen and shouldn't happen... as Tom Wolfe once wrote, "you can never go home again".

^this.

Added to the fact that Jason had his own substance issues in the late 80's/early 90's, and Jimmy was still struggling with booze - and continued to right until the end of the Page & Plant collaboration - I don't think there was a 'right' time to put the wheels back on the truck that would have led to anything good.

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Mook   

How so? By the time Jason came of age, he still wasn't half the drummer his father was - that's no intended insult, Jason is tremendous, but his father was simply extraordinary - and enough time had passed since the initial disbanding of LZ that the creative momentum between the surviving members had long since dissipated in a haze of tragedy and substance abuse, that's not to say any reformed LZ album wouldn't have been good to even truly great, but the sheer weight of expectation on such a release would have worked against it from the outset, and it wouldn't have been given a fair shake once it hit shelves... it's only very recently that Pink Floyd's The Division Bell is getting a fair reappraisal, two decades after it's release, public opinion can take time to accept anything new.

And no Bonzo = no Zeppelin, all four members were utterly irreplaceable in their respective contributions. take one away from the equation and it stops being what it was... and besides, had Zeppelin reformed, say, in 1990-91 after the remastered catalogue re-releases, the whole thing would have been a corporate nightmare, the very thing Robert Plant complained privately about with the 02 show; lawyers and business managers would have dominated the proceedings, ticket prices would have been outrageous, the kids wouldn't have stood a chance getting tickets, audiences would been largely made up of people eager to be seen and not because they loved Zep, and the whole affair would have been an unparalleled commercial bonanza but a complete artistic disaster. Plant would have bitterly regretted it had he went through with it, and Zep's name and reputation would have been tarnished thereafter...

No, they made the right decision in 1980, they made the right decision throughout the 1980's and 1990's, and thank goodness Plant made the right decision after the honorable 02 show in 2007... we all dearly love LZ and their timeless music, but the star that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and Led Zeppelin burned so very brightly whilst they were active. I choose to remember them as they were - the single greatest band that ever walked or ever will walk the planet, bar none - not as I hope they would be again sometime in the future, that future won't happen and shouldn't happen... as Tom Wolfe once wrote, "you can never go home again".

Couldn't agree more with that post.

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IpMan   

How so? By the time Jason came of age, he still wasn't half the drummer his father was - that's no intended insult, Jason is tremendous, but his father was simply extraordinary - and enough time had passed since the initial disbanding of LZ that the creative momentum between the surviving members had long since dissipated in a haze of tragedy and substance abuse, that's not to say any reformed LZ album wouldn't have been good to even truly great, but the sheer weight of expectation on such a release would have worked against it from the outset, and it wouldn't have been given a fair shake once it hit shelves... it's only very recently that Pink Floyd's The Division Bell is getting a fair reappraisal, two decades after it's release, public opinion can take time to accept anything new.

And no Bonzo = no Zeppelin, all four members were utterly irreplaceable in their respective contributions. take one away from the equation and it stops being what it was... and besides, had Zeppelin reformed, say, in 1990-91 after the remastered catalogue re-releases, the whole thing would have been a corporate nightmare, the very thing Robert Plant complained privately about with the 02 show; lawyers and business managers would have dominated the proceedings, ticket prices would have been outrageous, the kids wouldn't have stood a chance getting tickets, audiences would been largely made up of people eager to be seen and not because they loved Zep, and the whole affair would have been an unparalleled commercial bonanza but a complete artistic disaster. Plant would have bitterly regretted it had he went through with it, and Zep's name and reputation would have been tarnished thereafter...

No, they made the right decision in 1980, they made the right decision throughout the 1980's and 1990's, and thank goodness Plant made the right decision after the honorable 02 show in 2007... we all dearly love LZ and their timeless music, but the star that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and Led Zeppelin burned so very brightly whilst they were active. I choose to remember them as they were - the single greatest band that ever walked or ever will walk the planet, bar none - not as I hope they would be again sometime in the future, that future won't happen and shouldn't happen... as Tom Wolfe once wrote, "you can never go home again".

^ Spot on

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Excellent post, The Old Hermit. Although I would buy tickets for a Zeppelin reunion in a heartbeat, Celebration Day is perfect as a one-time event. It's easy to imagine John's hand on his son's shoulder during Kashmir.

Off the top of my head, the only other band besides Zeppelin that gets the "What if they didn't break up?" question asked so often is The Beatles. And, quite frankly, it is as hard to imagine The Beatles in the seventies as it is imagining Zeppelin in the eighties. Both bands were wholly products of their particular time.

They were products of their time, but the music they made was timeless. It's hard to imagine what would have come next for either band, but I think a Beatles reunion would have been a good idea, whereas it was simply impossible for Zeppelin since Bonham was gone.

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I absolutely stand by Plant's constant efforts to stifle a reunion. No one has done more to build the Zep legacy than RP (as Peter Grant said, it's all about supply and demand, don't give them TOO much and leave them begging for more).

But when I watch Live Aid, and see how young they all were, Plant is just bouncing around, he looks like a kid. It seems like that year....maybe....could it have worked?

I also wonder if they had added a new drummer, and you had 3 clean members, might that new member have injected some "new blood" into the Zep canon and changed things up? Maybe force JP to clean up too?

It's all speculation of course. If JP was the driving intellect behind LZ, and we measure what he has put out since the breakup, then yes, it is a very good thing indeed that LZ did not reform after JB's death.

But if you LZ were to have reformed, they should have done it much sooner rather than later, IMHO.

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ZoSo925   

Here is something that has not been considered.

Zeppelins chemistry and improvising live on stage is far beyond complex than an simple heart or liver transplant. Even if Jason has the same blood as John does not mean he has the same chemistry to link with JPJ and Plant on Rhythm.

Here are the results when you try to alter something. Bonham's new symbol

New-Bonzo1.jpg

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woz70   

I absolutely stand by Plant's constant efforts to stifle a reunion. No one has done more to build the Zep legacy than RP (as Peter Grant said, it's all about supply and demand, don't give them TOO much and leave them begging for more).

But when I watch Live Aid, and see how young they all were, Plant is just bouncing around, he looks like a kid. It seems like that year....maybe....could it have worked?

I also wonder if they had added a new drummer, and you had 3 clean members, might that new member have injected some "new blood" into the Zep canon and changed things up? Maybe force JP to clean up too?

It's all speculation of course. If JP was the driving intellect behind LZ, and we measure what he has put out since the breakup, then yes, it is a very good thing indeed that LZ did not reform after JB's death.

But if you LZ were to have reformed, they should have done it much sooner rather than later, IMHO.

They did have a brief go at it shortly after live aid to see if it could work..... but, if I recall rightly (somebody will correct me if I'm wrong, I'm sure) Jimmy's neurotic tendencies caused tensions (he was apparently changing the battery in his wah pedal every 5 minutes....), and then Tony Thompson, who was sitting in Bonzo's place, had a serious motor accident so Plant called an end to the proceedings.

Ah... found a link:

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/videos/flashback-led-zeppelin-reunite-badly-at-live-aid-20140311

If it had worked we'd never have had Now and Zen, Manic Nirvana or Fate of Nations, which would have been a shame in my opinion. You've only got to compare Outrider and Now and Zen to see that Plant was really trying to move forwards and stay fresh whereas Jimmy was just not being that progressive. I don't think any new Zep stuff from that time frame would have been anything other than tired sounding.

Edited by woz70

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Wolfman   

If they continued, they would become just another classic rock band where members come and go (aka Deep Purple, Yes,etc). I think Plant would have left shortly after they continued anyhow.

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grasbo   

I remember I was at work when it came over the radio of John Bonhams death.I thought there and then that's it.However when there was talk of Cozy Powell and Phil Collins stepping up I thought maybe.Living in Tasmania we were far and away of what was going on in 'Rock Music'save for 3 month old Sounds and NME mags(no internet kiddies).Apart from Robert sons death there was no mention of drugs,booze or Oakland punch ups.When nothing came of anyone filling the drummers stool and Robert solo lp came out that was it.A glimmer of hope and excitement came when there was the Page,Plant,Squire and White project was splashed over a couple of pages in an American glossy.After seeing Live Aid I went 'No'.By this time I had moved on to other bands(Rush) and Zep was becoming a not too distant memory.I was against any reunion because they usually seem watered down ,lacking fire,etc.However I was looking forward to O2 because Jason had become a power house drummer and the other three seemed to agreeing with each other to do it(for Ahmet).Great concert, dvd,would love to have been there,case closed,finished.To summarize my ramblings,yes it was right to disband after John's death and yes it was right to do O2 with Jason.

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Did Led Zeppelin make the right decision to break up?

Yes,in hindsight, I think they made the right decision. John Bonham is irreplaceable. I believe now, that John was the Heart & Soul of the band. No one can ever, ever take his place. What he brought to the band cannot be duplicated. Really, all of the members are irreplaceable. With any one member out, it is no longer "Led Zeppelin". It might be something interesting, but, it will never be, can never be "Led Zeppelin".

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I understand Robert's position with Zeppelin but I also see the other side too and believe that it could be feasible to at least make a new album and tour that with Jason. I wouldn't want to see Zep just tour, although yes it would be cool. The sad thing about Jimmy is that he neve really moved forward and he really should have, maybe Jimmy felt that he made his mark and didn't really want to go out and try to compete with that. I believe that Zep made the right decision in 1980 hands down, but, in this day and age things are different and Jason is a fine replacement that makes sense.

It's too bad that Robert's hurt about Zep runs that deep but why should he stop making the music he wants to make to re-live Zeppelin. The problem is, is that he keeps bouncing back and forth which is a bit annoying and it would appear in small ways that he wants to downplay the history and a bit over the top at that.

Jimmy & Bonham by 1980 were in no condition to play or make another album, In Through the Outdoor is proof positive of that. I don't think Zep would have survived the 80's anyway, although I do believe would have made a comback in the early 90's. The sad fact is that they were falling apart and I think Robert was thinking I need to get off of this train and move on or have no career.

I agree with their desicion to disband in 1980 but with Jason around now I think that if they are going to do anything it should be a new album and a tour; without an album no way.

I love Led Zep to the end but I feel that Presence marked the end of Zeppelin, In Through the Outdoor was Robert dipping his foot into the solo career pool and if you listen Pictures at Eleven sounded more like a Zep album than ITTO.

I am very glad that Jimmy has taken the time to redo all of the albums because they sound fantastic, I have all of the Super Deluxe box sets and am looking forward to Physical Graffiti which is my fav!

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They were products of their time, but the music they made was timeless. It's hard to imagine what would have come next for either band, but I think a Beatles reunion would have been a good idea, whereas it was simply impossible for Zeppelin since Bonham was gone.

Well...Page, Plant and Jones could have always found some unused drum track of John Bonham, overdubbed instruments and turned it into a song...not unlike what the surviving Beatles did with John Lennon on "Free As A Bird" and "Real Love". (Although I suppose in a way that's kinda what "Walter's Walk" is)

At least post breakup there was no real animosity among Page, Plant and Jonesy like there was with the Beatles. Shit, the Beatles spent most of the seventies and eighties in litigation, fighting over money. Thank Christ Led Zeppelin didn't make the same mistakes with Swan Song that the Beatles did with Apple...

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