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Strider

Chuck Klosterman on Led Zeppelin

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I am a big fan of Chuck Klosterman's writings, and over the years he has written some funny, yet perceptive stuff on Led Zeppelin. Jahfin posted his latest riff on Zeppelin in the News section, but I thought I would create a stand-alone thread for Klosterman's Zeppelin writings, so fans could post their own reactions.

This first bit I just discovered from his book "Killing Yourself to Live", and it is an interesting, if male-centric take on why Led Zeppelin remains so timeless...why there will always be Led Zeppelin fans. I have to admit I'm a little jealous, as I've been developing an essay along similar lines that I intended to post on my birthday, and now I realize Klosterman beat me to the punch.

...I'm playing How the West Was Won by Led Zeppelin, a recently released collection of live Led Zep recordings from the year of my birth. I've been saving this CD for rural Montana, since Montana seems like the only state where a 23-minute version of "Whole Lotta Love" would feel completely necessary. Whenever I find myself in an argument about the greatest rock bands of all time, I always place Zeppelin third, behind the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. This sentiment is incredibly common; if we polled everyone in North America who likes rock music, those three bands would almost certainly be the consensus selections (and in that order). But Zeppelin is far and away the most popular rock band of all time, and they're popular in a way the Beatles and Stones cannot possibly compete with; this is because every straight man born after the year 1958 has at least one transitory period in his life when he believes Led Zeppelin is the only good band that ever existed. And there is no other rock group that generates that experience.

A few years ago, I was an on-air guest for a morning radio show in Akron. I was on the air with the librarian from the Akron public library, and we were discussing either John Cheever or Guided by Voices, or possibly both. Talk radio in Akron is fucking crazy. While we were walking out of the studio, the librarian noticed the show's 19-year-old producer; the producer had a blond mullet, his blank eyes were beyond bloodshot, and he was wearing ripped jeans and a black Swan Song T-shirt with all the runes from the Zoso album. The librarian turned to me and said, "You know, I went to high school with that guy." This librarian was 42. But he was right. He did go to high school with that guy. So did I. Everyone in America went to high school with that guy. Right now, there are boys in fourth grade who do not even realize that they will become "that guy" as soon as finish reading The Hobbit in eighth grade. There are people having unprotected sex at this very moment, and the fetus spawned from that union will become "that guy" in two decades. Led Zeppelin is the most legitimately timeless musical entity of the past half century; they are the only group in the history of rock 'n' roll that every male rock fan seems to experience in exactly the same way.

You are probably wondering why that happens; I'm not sure, either. I've put a lot of thought into this subject (certainly more than any human should), but it never becomes totally clear; it only seems more and more true. For a time, I thought it was Robert Plant's overt misogyny fused with Jimmy Page's obsession with the occult, since that combination allows adolescent males to reconcile the alienation of unhinged teenage sexuality with their own inescapable geekiness. However, this theory strikes me as "probably stupid." It would be easy to argue that Zeppelin simply out-rocks all other bands, but that's not really true; AC/DC completely out-rocks Led Zeppelin, and AC/DC is mostly ridiculous. Whatever quality makes Led Zep so eternally archetypal must be "intangible," but even that argument seems weak; here in Big Sky Country, I'm listening to "Heartbreaker" at rib-crushing volume, and everything that's perfect about Led Zeppelin seems completely palpable. There is nothing intangible about the invisible nitroglycerin pouring out of the Tauntaun's woofers. Everything is real. And what that everything is - maybe - is this: Led Zeppelin sounds like who the are, but they also sound like who they are not. They sound like an English blues band. They sound like a warm-blooded brachiosaur. They sound like Hannibal's assault across the Alps. They sound sexy and sexist and sexless. The sound dark but stoned; they sound smart but dumb; they seem older than you, but just barely. Led Zeppelin sounds like the way a cool guy acts. Or - more specifically - Led Zeppelin sounds like a certain kind of cool guy; they sound like the kind of cool guy every man vaguely thinks he has the potential to be, if just a few things about the world were somehow different. And the experience this creates is unique to Led Zeppelin because its manifestation is entirely sonic: There is a point in your life when you hear songs like "The Ocean" and "Out on the Tiles" and "Kashmir," and you suddenly find yourself feeling like these songs are actively making you into the person you want to be. It does not matter if you've heard those songs 100 times and felt nothing in the past, and it does not matter if you don't normally like rock 'n' roll and just happened to overhear it in somebody else's dorm room. We all still meet at the same vortex: For whatever the reason, there is a point in the male maturation process when the music of Led Zeppelin sounds like the perfect actualization of the perfectly cool you. You will hear the intro to "When the Levee Breaks," and it will feel like your brain is stuffed inside the kick drum. You will hear the opening howl of "Immigrant Song" and you will imagine standing on the bow of a Viking ship and screaming about Valhalla. But when these things happen, you don't think about Physical Graffiti or Houses of the Holy in those abstract, metaphysical terms; you simply think, "Wow. I just realized something: This shit is perfect. In fact, this record is vastly superior to all other forms of music on the entire planet, so this is all I will ever listen to, all the time." And you do this for six days or six weeks or six years. This is your Zeppelin Phase, and it has as much to do with your own personal psychology as it does with the way John Paul Jones played the organ on "Trampled Under Foot." It has to do with sociobiology, and with Aleister Crowley, and possibly with mastodons. And you will grow out of it, probably. But this is why Led Zeppelin is the most beloved rock band of all time, even though most people (including myself) think the Beatles and the Rolling Stones are better. Those two bands are appreciated in myriad ways and for myriad reasons, and the criteria for doing so changes with every generation. But Led Zeppelin is only loved one way, and that will never evolve. They are the one thing all young men share, and we shall share it forever. Led Zeppelin is unkillable, even if John Bonham was not.

Relevant to the above, I found this interview with Chuck, where the interviewer addresses the above piece....

Chuck Klosterman: Articulating the Unintelligible

By T. Virgil Parker

October 18, 2006

Q: I think that a lot of your most important work revolves around that. Most people who think about culture believe that there's some social engineer out there trying to mass produce contemporary consciousness. It's more likely that a good deal of contemporary mass consciousness is a byproduct of selling soda.

A: The hardest thing about cultural criticism is dealing with the element of chance. I was working on this column about Snakes on a Plane, Esquire wanted it. They went back and shot scenes based on what people wanted on the internet. They changed the name of the movie and changed it back based on what they thought people wanted.

I think this is a bad direction for filmmaking to go for two reasons. One: If you look at the entire blogisphere as a focus group the movies are going to become less personal and more idiotic. The other problem -and I wonder if the movie studios even realize- is not only will it make the movies worse, but even if they do their research perfectly it will only work half the time. It's the same as having one guy pick. If you asked 100,000,000 people everything they wanted from a film, and made that movie, it might be popular and it might not. There's still that element that people don't know what they want until they get it. Whenever you're writing about culture you always face that mystery, like why is Led Zeppelin huge?

I can give a whole bunch of reasons why Led Zeppelin is great. I can use musical reasons, reasons about their iconography, timing, the world-view of youth in the 70's- all those things, but there's still the question of why it was them. Why not Blue Cheer? Was it because the music was inherently better? I would argue that it is, but I don't really know. There are tons of examples where the opposite is true.

Q: My wife read the passage in Killing Yourself to Live about Led Zeppelin and she said that you hit the nail on the head except for one thing: Why are there generations of female fans obsessing over Zep?

A: Some people have brought that up, that it was a somewhat sexist point. I wasn't saying that only guys like Led Zeppelin, I'm just saying it's a really formative part of being a guy. Every guy will, for whatever reason, find the music of Led Zeppelin to be, at least briefly, the only good music in the world. Whether it's for eight days, or eight weeks, or their whole lives. I'd guess women would like Led Zeppelin for less gender-specific reasons. Maybe they just think it's good.

Especially for guys who were totally into Zeppelin for like six weeks in tenth grade, in all likelihood it wasn't their most successful romantic era. I don't know if any guys have ever gotten laid because they like Led Zeppelin.

You can read the whole interview HERE!

I've been trying to find his essay on Led Zeppelin IV or his interview with Robert Plant online, but so far have been unsuccessful. I hope I don't have to resort to typing it by hand.

Edited by Strider

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Nice. I guess I am mired in the past, then, because for the last 35+ years, Zeppelin has been to me the best rock and roll band there ever was. They got the closest to the essence of rock as I feel it. The Beatles were a studio band. Great tunewriters, no doubt, and innovative, but not one of them was a virtuoso on his instrument (with apologies to the Ringo and Harrison lovers out there--don't get it). The Stones are a great rock and roll band, no doubt. Can't quarrel with that. They just never moved me like the Zep did.

Of course, I never thought they were the only band worth listening to. Just the best.

Edited by A Traveler

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Chuck wrote a great article here. I liked the very end the best:

"They are the one thing all young men share, and we shall share it forever. Led Zeppelin is unkillable, even if John Bonham was not."

I think that says something about their music and legacy right there. :D

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I see kids today with the Swan Song shirt and the runes drawn on their notebooks, and go "Yep...that was me in the 70's when I was in school."

By highschool, I had all the different logos and fonts Led Zeppelin used up to then memorized by heart and could draw them perfectly from memory. My Peechee folders were emblazoned with Led Zeppelin. I even had a special bic lighter that I painted Zoso on...I would take that to Zeppelin concerts to flick.

When Bonham died and the band ceased to exist, I moved on...I was into punk, metal, no-wave, new-wave, anything current. Of course, I also kept tabs on what Plant, Page and Jones were doing, but for the most part I rarely pulled out my Zeppelin records in the 80's.

The fact that the Led Zeppelin reunions of Live Aid and the Atlantic Records 40th anniversary were so lackluster to me also helped keep my focus musically on the present-day. There were plenty of bands to keep me occupied.

Then, my Zeppelin geekiness was rekindled when the remastered cd's finally came out in 1993, followed by the Page/Plant Un-ledded special and tour. By this point, Jane's Addiction(which, musically and mystically, was the closest to Zeppelin any band ever got IMO) was kaput, Kurt had blown his brains out, and I never cared much for the whole grunge thing anyway, save for some Soundgarden and a few others. Radiohead and Beck were just starting out, but there was a kind of vacuum for a while there in the early-90's, and when I heard those Zeppelin cd's, I remembered how much I LOVED their music and how no band had ever come around since to fill the void they left.

Then, when I saw 4 shows on that initial Page/Plant tour of 94-95, and saw how Jimmy was playing with some of the old fire, that cinched the deal and I dug out my old Zeppelin vinyl(studio and bootlegs) and magazines and immersed myself again in all things Zep.

It's been that way ever since...even as I keep an ear to the current scene, Zeppelin is never far from my stereo or my mind.

I've returned to my "Zeppelin-phase" for good.

Edited by Strider

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I think he hit the nail on the head also, thanks for posting Strider.

Signed..... mired in the past.........

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An interesting article. The one thing I kind of take exception to (you knew it was coming) was his idea that Zeppelin is universally 3rd best after The Beatles and The Stones. I'm not saying I think Zep is better than those two, just that I think its hard to clearly say which one is the best, and certainly not universally agreed upon. I can kind of see the argument for why The Beatles might be the best, but I could also see the argument made that The Beatles are more of a pop-rock band than a rock n' roll band. The Stones are clearly Rock n' Roll, but what would make them better than Zeppelin? When I think of those two bands, I personally think Zeppelin is probably just slightly better, because they were so much more diverse in their sound, and more skilled as musicians. But The Stones of course just had such a magical catchy sound and were so influential and unlike any other band...

If I had to rank these three I would suggest - The Beatles are the greatest pop-rock band of all time and Led Zeppelin is the best Rock band of all time - followed closely by The Stones.

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Paraphrasing Chuck Klosterman: " It would be easy to argue that Zeppelin simply out-rocks all other bands, but that's not really true; AC/DC completely out-rocks Led Zeppelin, and AC/DC is mostly ridiculous.

:angry: Not liking the Chuckster anymore!

J/K :P

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I don't know if any guys have ever gotten laid because they like Led Zeppelin.

;)

Does "my pics from the O2 are still on this camera" sound like "come up and see my etchings"?

(Or maybe it was an awful lot of beer...)

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Okay, I can see I'm gonna have to nip a few things in the bud before this thread gets derailed.

First off, I am NOT paraphrasing Chuck Klosterman. Everything in bold black are his actual words taken from his book, "Killing Yourself to Live"...I forgot to put quotation marks surrounding the entire passage. It's too late now as the edit button is gone.

Second, and most important, for the purposes of the article and the discussion, the Beatles are a ROCK band...and always have been and will always be, and this annoying attempt by the younger generation to classify them as a pop boy-band along the lines of the Jonas Bros. and other teen pop idols of today is ludicrous.

The Beatles had their records burned, they were considered a danger to the establishment and a menace to be squished like a bug. Before the Beatles, rock n roll was in the hands of poseurs like Pat Boone and Fabian.

The naysayers of the 50's who said rock n roll was just a passing fad looked like they would be right. A guitar-playing rock n roll group could hardly get arrested in the early 60's...record labels weren't signing guitar groups. They were considered on the way out.

So everybody that came after, from the Byrds to the Rolling Stones, from the Who to Led Zeppelin, owes a debt of gratitude to the Beatles for paving the way and opening the floodgates of rock and youth culture. What began with Elvis and Chuck Berry et al in the 50's would now grow exponentially farther than anyone dreamed with the Beatles.

Rock and roll was definitely here to stay. And by sheer talent and force of personality, the Beatles were able to win over the Establishment...much as Dylan and the Stones did later.

Which brings me to another matter...when Chuck Klosterman writes that Zeppelin is third after the Beatles and the Stones in the rock heirarchy, he means among the official gatekeepers of rock history and the casual fan.

Obviously most people on a Zeppelin board are gonna think Zep is #1. But do you really think Rolling Stone magazine, or anyone writing a book on rock and roll history is going to put Led Zeppelin ahead of the Beatles and the Stones?

And because of the fact that they came first, and the sheer size of the baby-boomer generation, people will always consider the Beatles and Stones linked in rock history...they are the yin-and-yang of rock culture, and there's nothing you can do to change that.

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Hi all,

Before the Beatles, rock n roll was in the hands of poseurs like Pat Boone and Fabian.
:blink:

Pardon?Chuck Berry,Elvis,Buddy Holly,.......?

No offense Strider,....I am older than you! ;)

KB

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It's that they were virtuosos with fantastic phrasing, plus fantastic composers, Plant had a voice that could be used in opera and he could sing higher then any opera singer and they could also have catchy melodies and they had great production and fantastic concerts with tremendus improvisation!

What more could you ask for!!?? They are right up there with the greatest classical musicians!

Edited by Matjaz1

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Hi all,

:blink:

Pardon?Chuck Berry,Elvis,Buddy Holly,.......?

No offense Strider,....I am older than you! ;)

KB

Hi KB,

Apparently you got so distraught at my statement that you neglected to read the rest of my post, where I pay tribute to the OG's of rock in the 50's. Or you're so much older than me, that your eyesight isn't what it used to be. :D

My point was that in the immediate period before the Beatles, rock was stagnant. Let's take roll call, shall we?

Elvis Presley: in the Army and upon his release concentrates on making dodgy movies.

Little Richard: found religion, joins bible school and renounces rock n roll.

Chuck Berry: in jail for transporting girl across the state line; exactly how "the man" screwed the legendary boxer and first black champion, Jack Johnson.

Jerry Lee Lewis: in discrace for marrying his 13-yr old cousin.

Buddy Holly: dead...along with Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper.

Eddie Cochran: dead...in a car crash with Gene Vincent, who is severely injured, and would never regain his career momentum.

Yeah, rock and roll is in GREAT shape by 1961. :rolleyes:

There were only two labels that could say they had the ears of young people: Motown and Stax. And even then, because of racism, their reach was limited in certain regions. Plus, their musical focus wasn't on vocal guitar groups.

The same with Stax.

If you played guitar, chances are you played in a surf rock band. Again, these were mostly instrumental groups. The Beach Boys wouldn't have their first hit until 1963, long after the Beatles had got going.

THAT is the state the world of rock n roll was in as the Beatles got going. So as much as everyone may be sick of hearing about the Beatles and how great they were, they really did usher in a sea-change in music and popular culture.

Take the Beatles out of the equation, and who knows how the rest of the 60's would turn out.

Anyway, back to Klosterman...I found some more of his Led Zeppelin essays, and will try and post later. Right now my phone is dying.

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Second, and most important, for the purposes of the article and the discussion, the Beatles are a ROCK band...and always have been and will always be, and this annoying attempt by the younger generation to classify them as a pop boy-band along the lines of the Jonas Bros. and other teen pop idols of today is ludicrous.

Some good points, but I should clarify, when I labeled the Beatles as 'pop-rock' I didn't actually mean it as an insult. I actually consider pop as equal to rock, its just a different art-form. |I don't consider them along the lines of the Jonas Brothers at all. I agree its a fine line, and The Beatles are one of those hard to classify acts. In style to me comparing Zep to The Beatles is like comparing apples and oranges - they are just too different, whereas I feel like they have more similarities and could actually be compared to a band like The Stones, hence I label them both 'rock' bands.

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The Beatles couldn't buy a record contract in 1962. George Martin took a huge chance on them and of course, paid off. The reason for their "popish" sound in the very beginning was that they needed to get their foot in the music door. They were rather punk in their attitude when they played in Germany. But they needed to become mainstream to get noticed and a record contract. It worked, they became a huge phenom of a band which worked against them artistically. Of course, the rest is history but they had to shed their mod suits in order to get back to where they were before they became famous: one hell of a rock band that explored various musical and visual artistic expressions.

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Can a girl comment in this tread, or this a boys only zone? :D Because I read this aticle and enjoyed the read, and clearly it is written from a specific male point of view, but a couple of things have stuck in my brain that I'd like to contribute.

While Chuck later dismisses his theory as stupid, he initially suggested that Robert as being "overt misogyny". I had to look that up as I had no idea what the hell that meant. Still learning new things. But I don't really see that, but I have read other threads where that has been suggested. Creative musicians who happen to be men will write about the woes they encounter with bad women and that goes both ways. Many a female musician has sung about jerky guys. Just the way things are in the battle of the sexes.

Chuck touched on some of what Jimmy has tried to convey in the music. The light and the dark. They ying and the yang. Being opposites at the same time. This part of the writing seemed to express that to me.

"Led Zeppelin sounds like who the are, but they also sound like who they are not. They sound like an English blues band. They sound like a warm-blooded brachiosaur. They sound like Hannibal's assault across the Alps. They sound sexy and sexist and sexless. The sound dark but stoned; they sound smart but dumb; they seem older than you, but just barely. Led Zeppelin sounds like the way a cool guy acts. Or - more specifically - Led Zeppelin sounds like a certain kind of cool guy; they sound like the kind of cool guy every man vaguely thinks he has the potential to be, if just a few things about the world were somehow different."

I can see where a young adoloscent male would be drawn to the music. The sound and message of the music draws you in and then wanting to emulate the cool look of these men producing this awsome music.

As a young adoloscent female transitioning from pop rock to the harder rock in the early 70's , Led Zeppelin became on of my favorites. The music was dangerous and exciting, as well as older men who played it. Girls just seemed to drawn to that as they find their way through the teenage years. Some grow out of it as I thankfully did, but some never do, and stay with that mindset to be with the bad boy. I can tell you many was the time I had a fantasy of a chance encounter with any of those guys, especially Robert, the golden god.

But my interest wained by the end of the 70's and some of my interests moved on to other groups and then pretty much lost the music all together as my kids came along and I was busy with family life. Becoming an empty nester brough me back. I started listening to the classic rock station and I think it was WLL one time that made me remember how much I used to love LZ. I started seeking out more and realized just how good, versitile and timeless the music is. And that is how I ended up here. Wanting to learn and remember. And making a few good friends here along the way has been a nice fringe benefit. Anyway, Strider, I hope you don't mind that this girl commented but your initial post did say "fans can post their responses".

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Hi Strider,all,

My point was that in the immediate period before the Beatles, rock was stagnant. Let's take roll call, shall we?

Let's! :D

Elvis Presley: in the Army and upon his release concentrates on making dodgy movies.

Little Richard: found religion, joins bible school and renounces rock n roll.

Chuck Berry: in jail for transporting girl across the state line; exactly how "the man" screwed the legendary boxer and first black champion, Jack Johnson.

Jerry Lee Lewis: in discrace for marrying his 13-yr old cousin.

Buddy Holly: dead...along with Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper.

Eddie Cochran: dead...in a car crash with Gene Vincent, who is severely injured, and would never regain his career momentum.

Yeah, rock and roll is in GREAT shape by 1961. :rolleyes:

Are we talking radio?Sales?My mom and my mom's friends and my friends moms were NOT listening to Pat Boone nor Fabian,... B) Those records were still being played on phonograph,remember that? :P

THAT is the state the world of rock n roll was in as the Beatles got going. So as much as everyone may be sick of hearing about the Beatles and how great they were, they really did usher in a sea-change in music and popular culture.

I never said that,a band of influence I agree and still a favorite at this address.They did re-introduce R&R and then made it their own?Oui?

Take the Beatles out of the equation, and who knows how the rest of the 60's would turn out.

I think The Rolling Stones,Kinks would have done just fine.

Best Bro! KB

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I remember reading the "Led Zeppelin phase" article and loving it...

I'm listening to "Heartbreaker" at rib-crushing volume, and everything that's perfect about Led Zeppelin seems completely palpable. There is nothing intangible about the invisible nitroglycerin pouring out of the Taurus' woofers. Everything is real. And what that everything is, maybe, is this: Led Zeppelin sounds like who they are, but they also sound like who they are not. They sound like an English blues band. They sound like a warm-blooded brachiosaur. They sound sexy and sexist and sexless. They sound dark but stoned; they sound smart but dumb; they seem older than you, but just barely. Led Zeppelin sounds the way a cool guy acts. Or, more specifically, Led Zeppelin sounds like a certain kind of cool guy; they sound like the kind of cool guy every man vaguely thinks he has the potential to be, if just a few things in the world were somehow different. And the experience this creates is unique to Led Zeppelin because its manifestation is entirely sonic: There is a point in your life when you hear songs like "The Ocean" and "Out on the Tiles" and "Kashmir" and you suddenly find yourself feeling like these songs are actively making you into the person you want to be.

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Well Strider, no offence, but for me he doesn't quite nail it. However, that in itself is not necessarily such a big criticism, because I am not really sure anybody can describe the spirit of Led Zeppelin. I will not even try, but I thought I'd add a few somewhat disjointed remarks here. The best bands in the history of Rock music have a certain aura or spirit that is specific to them, and it speaks to people in spite of cultural differences, age differences, and indeed, gender differences. That's one of the problems I have with what Klosterman is saying: "they are the only group in the history of rock 'n' roll that every male rock fan seems to experience in exactly the same way." This is simply not true. The reason why they have become a classic band is precisely that all sorts of different people can relate to that spirit, and they will interpret it very differently. And it's really later generations of fans that made them a classic band - not us who became fans in the 1970's.

I agree that Klosterman's description is male-centred (he actually shares that way of approaching the band's legacy with several others, for instance in the recent Led Zeppelin and Philosophy book), and it really should be noted that Led Zeppelin have always had a lot of fans among women. What is distinctive about them with respect to sex and/or gender? Well, they can be criticized for sexism - and they should be so criticized - but so can everybody else active in that era of popular music. They started out at a time when the second wave of feminism was only just taking off, let's not forget that. From our perspective today, everybody was sexist back then - even women in a way. But the point I want to make is that sexism is not by far the essence of the Led Zeppelin spirit - it's there, but it's not the actual import of the legacy. There are distinctions to be made here. There are people nowadays who seem to think that if a heterosexual male is openly expressive of his sexual drive, he must be a sexist. But that's absolutely ridiculous. What that really means is that heterosexual males should be ashamed of being what they are.

I think Led Zeppelin were precisely that: openly expressive of sexuality, and that formed a very natural part of their overall artistic mode of expression. It's a playful spirit, shameless, full of joie de vivre and self-confidence - and it really comes straight from the blues (think about Whole Lotta Love, for instance). There's a lot of swagger, but it's not mean-spirited. And I think that's one of the reasons why both sexes can relate to their music, and why listening to the band feels so good to us straight males - it's really saying "Have your fun, enjoy life, be confident". There is a certain hedonism right at the heart of Led Zeppelin. I have to add that the band's occasional excesses are not the point. It's more like, there was space to express the whole gamut of human feelings and they did, but the general context is that they, unlike most rock bands since, were a "happy" band.

I've been a fan since 1975, and have never stopped listening to them, although there have been periods when I listened a lot more to other bands and artists (I went through a long phase when I was quite obsessed with Jimi Hendrix, for instance). I remember I first heard Boogie With Stu on the radio back then, and I always remember that the first picture of the band I ever saw was of Jimmy and Robert sitting together at the Minneapolis rehearsal on January 17, 1975.

zep_75_repet2.jpg

Perhaps these accidents have always informed my take on the band. To me, in the end, they are about the joy of living. Which still leaves them plenty of room to express different experiences and emotions, because that's how life is. You don't go through life being constantly angry like some latter day heavy groups; or if you do, you're stupid. Think about the desperate urgency of Achilles Last Stand - nothing sexual about it: it's about survival. Custard Pie - well, about the joy of, erm, eating. :D And everything in between.

Strider, what you say about the situation in about 1961 is a hugely important circumstance. The late Robert Palmer would have pointed out that some really good things were going on even then, as he in fact does in his Rock & Roll: An Unruly History. The examples he discusses can be assessed in different ways, but I think it's fairly obvious that the situation in the USA was vastly different as a result of all these big heroes of Rock making a temporary or permanent exit from the scene. It meant that the scene in the USA itself became perhaps more fragmented, and the British acts got the opportunity to start that amazing crisscrossing of influences across the Atlantic that is so definitive for the period of "classic rock" as it's being called nowadays.

Edited by Otto Masson

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First off, I am NOT paraphrasing Chuck Klosterman. Everything in bold black are his actual words taken from his book, "Killing Yourself to Live"...I forgot to put quotation marks surrounding the entire passage. It's too late now as the edit button is gone.

My wording was incorrect Strider,I shouldn't have used "Paraphrasing Chuck Klosterman" in my first paragraph.The definition of paraphrasing is entirely different to what I meant,which was to quote him within your post.

Sorry about that.

:slapface:

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Personally, I cannot see how a band could be called the greatest band in the history of rock when it virtually never played live, and in fact played live at all only during its mostly pop phase. Live performances are at the heart of rock. Period.

Most of the clips I have heard of their early concerts are basically a bunch of girls screaming at practically dog-level frequencies while the Fab Four sang Love Me Do, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, etc. Maybe they had good reasons. But that doesn't change the fact that they were almost exclusively a studio band. No matter how good and innovative their tunes were, and how many parents hated their music, and how many times their albums got burned, a studio band simply cannot be "the greatest rock n' roll band ever", because it is missing an absolute requirement to be the best--a kick-ass history of live, real, unpolished music.

Doesn't mean that bands that came after them shouldn't respect them, or shouldn't acknowledge a debt to them. But that's not the same as being the best rock n' roll band ever.

Edited by A Traveler

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The overzealousness of the crowds and the inability to hear their own instruments were a couple of reasons cited by the Beatles for concentrating on their studio material. I don't think it takes away from their reputation as one of the best rock n' roll bands one iota. The Beach Boys were also more well known as being a studio band, (particularly with work such as Pet Sounds) but I also don't believe that should take away from the criteria of how good and/or influential they were.

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Personally, I cannot see how a band could be called the greatest band in the history of rock when it virtually never played live, and in fact played live at all only during its mostly pop phase. Live performances are at the heart of rock. Period.

Most of the clips I have heard of their early concerts are basically a bunch of girls screaming at practically dog-level frequencies while the Fab Four sang Love Me Do, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, etc. Maybe they had good reasons. But that doesn't change the fact that they were almost exclusively a studio band. No matter how good and innovative their tunes were, and how many parents hated their music, and how many times their albums got burned, a studio band simply cannot be "the greatest rock n' roll band ever", because it is missing an absolute requirement to be the best--a kick-ass history of live, real, unpolished music.

Doesn't mean that bands that came after them shouldn't respect them, or shouldn't acknowledge a debt to them. But that's not the same as being the best rock n' roll band ever.

The Beatles stopped touring after 1966. I think their last show was in San Francisco at Candlestick Park. Just the rooftop concert in London on the Apple Records building in January, 1969 after this.

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Personally, I cannot see how a band could be called the greatest band in the history of rock when it virtually never played live, and in fact played live at all only during its mostly pop phase. Live performances are at the heart of rock. Period.

Most of the clips I have heard of their early concerts are basically a bunch of girls screaming at practically dog-level frequencies while the Fab Four sang Love Me Do, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, etc. Maybe they had good reasons. But that doesn't change the fact that they were almost exclusively a studio band. No matter how good and innovative their tunes were, and how many parents hated their music, and how many times their albums got burned, a studio band simply cannot be "the greatest rock n' roll band ever", because it is missing an absolute requirement to be the best--a kick-ass history of live, real, unpolished music.

Doesn't mean that bands that came after them shouldn't respect them, or shouldn't acknowledge a debt to them. But that's not the same as being the best rock n' roll band ever.

No argument there, just want to say this Klosterman article actually got me to sign up for Grantland, which I sincerely hope goes into print in the next few years. They definitely have a ridiculously impressive stable of writers and contributors.

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