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Janvier

Led Zeppelin to receive Kennedy Center Honor

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In the words of the Grateful Dead, what a long, strange trip it's been.

1969: Led Zeppelin introduces me to sex. Okay, not actual sex...but hearing Led Zeppelin's first album stirred and awakened feelings and emotions in me that no music had heretofore managed to do. I was still too young to put a name and purpose to what I was feeling but I knew enough that it was probably something I shouldn't tell my parents about.

1970: With "Whole Lotta Love" cranked in the background, I'm busted engaged in tonsil hockey with the new girl at school, Yolanda, by her mom. She calls my mom and I get my mouth washed out with soap and grounded for a week...with no TV or Radio.

1972: Led Zeppelin in concert opens doors of perception and of the power of music that I didn't know existed. It was scary and exhilarating all at once...and it was a buzz, a high, that was extremely addictive. Once you went to your first Led Zeppelin concert, you had to have more....and more. Led Zeppelin became my drug of choice that year.

1974: I get a D on an essay I write on Led Zeppelin. The teacher ridicules and castigates me for writing about "that shrieking noise" instead of proper, sophisticated music like Joni Mitchell and Blood, Sweat & Tears.

1975: Grounded and forbidden by my stepmom to go to the Led Zeppelin concerts at the Forum, I say to hell with that and run away from home early the morning of the first Forum show. Actually, bicycle away from home is more correct, as I had a 10-speed bike at the time. I don't plan on staying away for long...just long enough to see the Zep shows. Of course, when I return home I catch all nine levels of hell...I'm grounded for so long that I miss the Pink Floyd concerts. It was worth it. My running away freaked my parents out so much my stepmother actually eased up on the abuse.

1978: In my Home Economics class, where the teacher gave each student a turn to choose what music to play in class, one day I brought my cassette copy of the "For Badgeholders Only" show, June 23, 1977. Within 10 minutes, the girls were complaining about my choice and so my tape was replaced with Leo Sayer. Ugh!

1980: Bonzo's death shatters me. That Friday after his passing, I steal two cases of Heineken from my job at 7-11 and me and my friend Darren proceed to get hammered in advance of seeing the midnight screening of "The Song Remains the Same" at the United Artists Cinemas at the Tyler Mall in Riverside. All day long we smoke pot and drink beer. Before the movie, we head to the party spot by the creek that runs thru the orange groves near the high school, to pick up some girls and make out. The rest is all a blur. We end up at the movie, but somehow he's gone when the movie is over and I'm left stranded, as he took the car. I'm completely blotto by this point and try the best I can to make my way to where he lives...which is a hell of a lot closer to the theatre than where I lived. It's after 2:30am, so there's no way I'm calling my stepmom to come pick me up, especially in the condition I am in. Walking, or more likely stumbling, in the dark roads of Riverside, tired, drunk, and stoned to the gills, I at last make my way to what I think is my friend's house, only I don't want to risk waking his parents by knocking on the door. I slip into the garage and climb inside the car to sleep it off. It's Saturday morning, so his parents won't be up that early...I should be able to get out of there before anyone sees me, I tell myself. Well, not only do I not wake up early enough...but I'm startled awake by these strangers yelling at me. In my foggy stupor, I had missed my friend's house by one...I was in his neighbor's car. Boy, it took all the charm I could muster to explain everything and talk them out of contacting the police...or worse, my stepmom.

What I'm getting at with this little timeline, is that throughout my life, Led Zeppelin has had the aura of the forbidden, the sexual, the dangerous, the subversive. Most of the crazy shit I did in my youth, Led Zeppelin was usually part of it in some way or another.

Led Zeppelin was never part of polite society, never the status quo. Not even amongst its own peers in the rock world. They were never accorded the same respect or courtesy that the Beatles, Stones and the Who received...and were openly mocked by people like Bob Dylan and the literary, sophisticated pseudo-intellectuals of that scene.

Led Zeppelin was the people's band and for a long, long time it was The People vs. The Guardians of Rock n Roll(Jann Wenner, critics et al). If you had told me in the 70s while the band was rampaging across the U.S. on one of their tours that they would one day be dressed in penguin suits taking tea with the President of the United States, I would have laughed and told you to get out of here with that fantasy. Never gonna happen.

So to have watched the lads last week as they were feted and hobnobbed with the power elite of Washington DC, I felt like it was a victory for the people in some small way. All the brickbats, the sneers, the rolled eyes, the condescension that Led Zeppelin and its fans had to put up with all those years ago by the very same crowd that were now honouring them...it felt like vindication. A way for Zep fans to say "I told you so!"

It felt doubly sweet that Led Zeppelin was being honoured before the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

I'm not going to waste my time on the idiots who bitch about Robert's demeanor towards Jones or imagined slights to the guys by President Obama, etc., etc.; these people generally have shown themselves to have an agenda that has nothing to do with reality.

Fortunately, they're in the minority. The rest of us could simply bask in the fun and wonder of it all, without getting all anal and parsing every word and facial movement, as Led Zeppelin was accorded an honour very few achieve...much more rarefied and exclusive an honour than a mundane Grammy.

The only sad and melancholy part for me was how I wished John Bonham and Peter Grant could have lived to experience this moment. Bonham, obviously, because he was part of the band...an irreplaceable part. The square is incomplete without him.

But I'm surprised no one has thought to mention Peter Grant. In a way, this Kennedy Honor was validation for his management and the way he fought for and protected the boys from outside interference and allowed them complete creative control. They were derided by some for not playing the TV and radio singles promo game. And I'm sure Peter Grant took a lot of abuse about his weight and appearance...not to his face, of course.

Peter changed the game, he turned the tables on the usual "promoters vs. the band" game. Other bands got screwed by shady promoters...and by even shadier and unscrupulous managers. Not Led Zeppelin.

I felt sad, and even cried a little, that John and Peter couldn't have been in that Kennedy Center box with Robert, Jimmy and John Paul.

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In the words of the Grateful Dead, what a long, strange trip it's been.

1969: Led Zeppelin introduces me to sex. Okay, not actual sex...but hearing Led Zeppelin's first album stirred and awakened feelings and emotions in me that no music had heretofore managed to do. I was still too young to put a name and purpose to what I was feeling but I knew enough that it was probably something I shouldn't tell my parents about.

1970: With "Whole Lotta Love" cranked in the background, I'm busted engaged in tonsil hockey with the new girl at school, Yolanda, by her mom. She calls my mom and I get my mouth washed out with soap and grounded for a week...with no TV or Radio.

1972: Led Zeppelin in concert opens doors of perception and of the power of music that I didn't know existed. It was scary and exhilarating all at once...and it was a buzz, a high, that was extremely addictive. Once you went to your first Led Zeppelin concert, you had to have more....and more. Led Zeppelin became my drug of choice that year.

1974: I get a D on an essay I write on Led Zeppelin. The teacher ridicules and castigates me for writing about "that shrieking noise" instead of proper, sophisticated music like Joni Mitchell and Blood, Sweat & Tears.

1975: Grounded and forbidden by my stepmom to go to the Led Zeppelin concerts at the Forum, I say to hell with that and run away from home early the morning of the first Forum show. Actually, bicycle away from home is more correct, as I had a 10-speed bike at the time. I don't plan on staying away for long...just long enough to see the Zep shows. Of course, when I return home I catch all nine levels of hell...I'm grounded for so long that I miss the Pink Floyd concerts. It was worth it. My running away freaked my parents out so much my stepmother actually eased up on the abuse.

1978: In my Home Economics class, where the teacher gave each student a turn to choose what music to play in class, one day I brought my cassette copy of the "For Badgeholders Only" show, June 23, 1977. Within 10 minutes, the girls were complaining about my choice and so my tape was replaced with Leo Sayer. Ugh!

1980: Bonzo's death shatters me. That Friday after his passing, I steal two cases of Heineken from my job at 7-11 and me and my friend Darren proceed to get hammered in advance of seeing the midnight screening of "The Song Remains the Same" at the United Artists Cinemas at the Tyler Mall in Riverside. All day long we smoke pot and drink beer. Before the movie, we head to the party spot by the creek that runs thru the orange groves near the high school, to pick up some girls and make out. The rest is all a blur. We end up at the movie, but somehow he's gone when the movie is over and I'm left stranded, as he took the car. I'm completely blotto by this point and try the best I can to make my way to where he lives...which is a hell of a lot closer to the theatre than where I lived. It's after 2:30am, so there's no way I'm calling my stepmom to come pick me up, especially in the condition I am in. Walking, or more likely stumbling, in the dark roads of Riverside, tired, drunk, and stoned to the gills, I at last make my way to what I think is my friend's house, only I don't want to risk waking his parents by knocking on the door. I slip into the garage and climb inside the car to sleep it off. It's Saturday morning, so his parents won't be up that early...I should be able to get out of there before anyone sees me, I tell myself. Well, not only do I not wake up early enough...but I'm startled awake by these strangers yelling at me. In my foggy stupor, I had missed my friend's house by one...I was in his neighbor's car. Boy, it took all the charm I could muster to explain everything and talk them out of contacting the police...or worse, my stepmom.

What I'm getting at with this little timeline, is that throughout my life, Led Zeppelin has had the aura of the forbidden, the sexual, the dangerous, the subversive. Most of the crazy shit I did in my youth, Led Zeppelin was usually part of it in some way or another.

Led Zeppelin was never part of polite society, never the status quo. Not even amongst its own peers in the rock world. They were never accorded the same respect or courtesy that the Beatles, Stones and the Who received...and were openly mocked by people like Bob Dylan and the literary, sophisticated pseudo-intellectuals of that scene.

Led Zeppelin was the people's band and for a long, long time it was The People vs. The Guardians of Rock n Roll(Jann Wenner, critics et al). If you had told me in the 70s while the band was rampaging across the U.S. on one of their tours that they would one day be dressed in penguin suits taking tea with the President of the United States, I would have laughed and told you to get out of here with that fantasy. Never gonna happen.

So to have watched the lads last week as they were feted and hobnobbed with the power elite of Washington DC, I felt like it was a victory for the people in some small way. All the brickbats, the sneers, the rolled eyes, the condescension that Led Zeppelin and its fans had to put up with all those years ago by the very same crowd that were now honouring them...it felt like vindication. A way for Zep fans to say "I told you so!"

It felt doubly sweet that Led Zeppelin was being honoured before the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

I'm not going to waste my time on the idiots who bitch about Robert's demeanor towards Jones or imagined slights to the guys by President Obama, etc., etc.; these people generally have shown themselves to have an agenda that has nothing to do with reality.

Fortunately, they're in the minority. The rest of us could simply bask in the fun and wonder of it all, without getting all anal and parsing every word and facial movement, as Led Zeppelin was accorded an honour very few achieve...much more rarefied and exclusive an honour than a mundane Grammy.

The only sad and melancholy part for me was how I wished John Bonham and Peter Grant could have lived to experience this moment. Bonham, obviously, because he was part of the band...an irreplaceable part. The square is incomplete without him.

But I'm surprised no one has thought to mention Peter Grant. In a way, this Kennedy Honor was validation for his management and the way he fought for and protected the boys from outside interference and allowed them complete creative control. They were derided by some for not playing the TV and radio singles promo game. And I'm sure Peter Grant took a lot of abuse about his weight and appearance...not to his face, of course.

Peter changed the game, he turned the tables on the usual "promoters vs. the band" game. Other bands got screwed by shady promoters...and by even shadier and unscrupulous managers. Not Led Zeppelin.

I felt sad, and even cried a little, that John and Peter couldn't have been in that Kennedy Center box with Robert, Jimmy and John Paul.

Didn't McCartney receive a Kennedy Honours? Thought he did.

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nicely written Strider....you absolutely right on re: Peter Grant.

Edited by fishhead

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Didn't McCartney receive a Kennedy Honours? Thought he did.

Indeed he did.

And Strider, lovely as always!

Edited by ebk

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...why didn't Ringo get one? He's still alive, isn't he? I guess they were simply honoring Paul and not 'The Beatles'.

All the same, EXCELLENT write-up, Strider. Always love reading your posts. :)

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Didn't McCartney receive a Kennedy Honours? Thought he did.

True, Paul McCartney did receive the honour...but alone, not as part of the Beatles. Unlike The Who, who were recognized and the surviving members Roger Daltry and Pete Townshend honoured.

So as far as the big British bands go, The Who and Led Zeppelin have been honoured; the Beatles, Stones, Kinks, and Pink Floyd not.

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...why didn't Ringo get one? He's still alive, isn't he? I guess they were simply honoring Paul and not 'The Beatles'.

All the same, EXCELLENT write-up, Strider. Always love reading your posts. :)

Ringo? Don't think you can compare him to McCartney not that he was the standout of that band IMO. About five years ago I saw Ringo's Allstars show at Radio City with Sheena E (sp?) and the lead singer from Zombies among others. They were really impressive.

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Ringo? Don't think you can compare him to McCartney not that he was the standout of that band IMO. About five years ago I saw Ringo's Allstars show at Radio City with Sheena E (sp?) and the lead singer from Zombies among others. They were really impressive.

It's not a matter of comparing the two. If the Beatles were being honoured by the Kennedy Center, then ALL surviving members get awarded and have to attend, no matter if you think Ringo deserves it or not.

The fact that it was only Macca confirms my point that Led Zeppelin received recognition from the Kennedy Honors before the Rolling Stones and the Beatles have. Usually, it's the other way around; like with the MBEs or OBEs.

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Wow Strider...that was a great write up! I enjoyed reading about all of your Zeppelin escapades. :) I'm forever jealous of those of you who saw them live!

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Wow Strider...that was a great write up! I enjoyed reading about all of your Zeppelin escapades. :) I'm forever jealous of those of you who saw them live!

As we are of you who got to attend the Kennedy Center Honors in person...in the same room with the lads AND POTUS! I don't think any Presidents were in attendance at any of the concerts I went to see.

Thank you, Gigi, for the compliments, but it was your fantastic write-up that inspired me. So you deserve partial credit.

Edited by Strider

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Great write up, Strider! You make a good point about Peter Grant; it seems to me that the only guy who goes out of his way to single him out when they're being honored is Jonesy...

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1978: In my Home Economics class, where the teacher gave each student a turn to choose what music to play in class, one day I brought my cassette copy of the "For Badgeholders Only" show, June 23, 1977. Within 10 minutes, the girls were complaining about my choice and so my tape was replaced with Leo Sayer. Ugh!

:hysterical: The whole post was brilliant and inspired as per usual Strider, but this was my favourite part.

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HEART COMMENTS ON PLAYING AT THE KENNEDY HONORS (Yahoo News today):

Heart, who have been eligible for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for more than a decade, finally made the cut this year, joining Rush, Public Enemy, Randy Newman, Albert King and Donna Summmer in the class of 2013.

"I wasn't quite sure this was real when I got the news," Ann Wilson tells Rolling Stone. "We've just had this long running joke about it for so many years. But I got the text while I was at the airport and it took a little while to sink in."

From the Archive: Heart Attack (1980)

What was your first reaction to the big news?

Ann: We were just getting back from the Kennedy Center Honors and we were caught up in all that. Then I got the news. I went, "Holy shit! Really?"

Wow, so you heard right after playing "Stairway to Heaven" for Led Zeppelin and President Obama?

Ann: Yeah, no pressure or anything. [Laughs] Doing that song for Led Zeppelin was like being asked to recreate the Bible for the Pope.

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tumblr_meh7xdSXpk1r8p9j7o3_250.jpg

found here ...

Everyone seems mystified by Page's date for the Kennedy Honours. Like a lot of English guys he probably doesn't show affection publicly or disclose information about his private affairs. Usually photographers check names for their cut-lines so maybe he refused to say who his date was, although that seems strange given it is such a public photo.

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