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dimestoreguru

Zeppelin vs. the Critics: Tribute in Huffington Post

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Led Zeppelin's music has always been too sophisticated for music crItics, they never managed to put them in a precise category.Led Zep had a style of their own, they were unique.

Edited by goldenguitar

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"Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth, at the apex of that band's popularity in the mid 1980s, mused that "the reason most rock critics like Elvis Costello is that most rock critics look like Elvis Costello."

I just pissed my pants laughing at that line. Brilliant.

Edited by barney2EH

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Great, well-crafted article, Rob! I am usually drawn to lyric rich music yet some of my favourite artists create a sound that is undeniably rich and unique. Such as Led Zep - JPJ said it so well - they weren't about songs they were about sound. A response by Page recently from an old review about Led Zep's song writing strength bothered me though. He said their music went over the heads of dismissive reviewers. That comes off as sour grapes while it may be true in some reviewer cases, and I think it's fair to say that lyrically most of their songs are not strong. It was their music/sound, perfectly combined talents and delivery that was their triumph.

You're drawing a long bow there.

Compared to whom and specifically which songs?

Rock 'n roll and blues are simplistic in their purest form and the best songs contain simple, banal and at times corny lyrics.

Every band progressed lyrically, from The Beatles to Led Zeppelin and all the stayers in between.

Why do people have to over analyse and complicate things so much?

If the lyrics move you, great.

If not, too bad because they are what they are and ever more shall be so.

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You're drawing a long bow there.

Compared to whom and specifically which songs?

Rock 'n roll and blues are simplistic in their purest form and the best songs contain simple, banal and at times corny lyrics.

Every band progressed lyrically, from The Beatles to Led Zeppelin and all the stayers in between.

Why do people have to over analyse and complicate things so much?

If the lyrics move you, great.

If not, too bad because they are what they are and ever more shall be so.

Not saying LZ lyrics should have been anything other than what they were, just that I personally never found them very strong. I've never met anyone who thought their lyrics were strong, but I should not have assumed that here in retrospect. I don't think comparison with anyone else is particularly fair because it's subjective, it either works for you or it doesn't.

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Not saying LZ lyrics should have been anything other than what they were, just that I personally never found them very strong. I've never met anyone who thought their lyrics were strong, but I should not have assumed that here in retrospect. I don't think comparison with anyone else is particularly fair because it's subjective, it either works for you or it doesn't.

I don't understand what you mean.

Ok, how are they weak?

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shadecatcher, I too am curious as to why you consider his songwriting ability "not strong?"

I believe you said you look for, or like lyric rich songs. I am the exact same way. This is why your comments surprise me. I recognize and appreciate the great well known writers such as Lennon/McCartney, Bobby D. and my two faves Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. But I would put Robert Plant (and Page/Jones/Bonham on their collaborative efforts) in the same league. Oh, yes indeed.

I'm not a Robert Plant expert as some are on this forum, but I do know he has a huge library of music he wrote for his solo career, plus most of the Zeppelin library of songs. He whipped out Stairway to Heaven in I believe one or two days? There is a song so ethereal and beautiful lyrically people still wonder about all the various interpretations. Well, let's look at one more randomly...how about Ten Years Gone?

"Then as it was, then again it will be

An' though the course may change sometimes

Rivers always reach the sea

Blind stars of fortune, each have several rays

On the wings of maybe, down in birds of prey

Kind of makes me feel sometimes, didn't have to grow

But as the eagle leaves the nest, it's got so far to go

Changes fill my time, baby, that's alright with me

In the midst I think of you, and how it used to be

Did you ever really need somebody, And really need 'em bad

Did you ever really want somebody, The best love you ever had

Do you ever remember me, baby, did it feel so good

'Cause it was just the first time, And you knew you would

Through the eyes an' I sparkle, Senses growing keen

Taste your love along the way, See your feathers preen

Kind of makes makes me feel sometimes, Didn't have to grow

We are eagles of one nest, The nest is in our soul

Vixen in my dreams, with great surprise to me

Never thought I'd see your face the way it used to be

Oh darlin', oh darlin'

I'm never gonna leave you. I'm never gonna leave

Holdin' on, ten years gone

Ten years gone, holdin' on, ten years gone"

^^^ A song (especially if you know the history behind it) that is poignant and full of emotion about first love, lost love, found love...but of course Ten Years Gone. Too late. Gorgeous.

When it comes to Robert Plant I am firmly of the opinion he is a prolific, gifted, very strong writer. But if you disagree, no problem as we all can't agree on everything! (I'm just interested in why you feel differently?)

OnTopic: I enjoyed the HuffPo write-up very much; nice job. I thought it was spot on, especially the Elvis Costello/critics comment. The critics never got it back during the day. But then as a youth, I (and my friends too) didn't care about what critics said anyway. It was always about the music, lyrics included. :) Missy

**Edited for spelling.

Edited by missytootsweet

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Fantastic essay. I was born in 1967.. so as i came to age musically in the late 1970s, one band had its hold on my school and my peers, in the heart of America. It was Led Zeppelin. That was the band name that was scratched on to every locker and etched into every desk. Not the Rolling Stones. Not the Who. Certainly not the passing fancies of punk, new-wave, or disco. Led Zeppelin's strong-hold on the youth of our generation was unmatched, and for that 12 year reign of greatness over the U.S. in particular, I believe the band is deeply enough embedded in our country's past and present culture that a Kennedy Center Honor made perfect sense.

I will admit I take tremendous satisfaction in all of the accolades and honors being heaped on Led Zeppelin today. I also look so favorably on the well-deserved praise given to Celebration Day, and the rapidly building legend of a moment where a band came back together one more time to prove they could conquer, and did just that. For all those that mocked Led Zeppelin, and shunned productions like the The Song Remains the Same, the last 3-4 months has been one big and beautiful dose of redemption for all of us. I hope Robert, Jimmy and John can really step back and realize the magnitude of what they accomplished with their dear departed friend. It was and is amazing.

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shadecatcher, I too am curious as to why you consider his songwriting ability "not strong?"

I believe you said you look for, or like lyric rich songs. I am the exact same way. This is why your comments surprise me. I recognize and appreciate the great well known writers such as Lennon/McCartney, Bobby D. and my two faves Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. But I would put Robert Plant (and Page/Jones/Bonham on their collaborative efforts) in the same league. Oh, yes indeed.

I'm not a Robert Plant expert as some are on this forum, but I do know he has a huge library of music he wrote for his solo career, plus most of the Zeppelin library of songs. He whipped out Stairway to Heaven in I believe one or two days? There is a song so ethereal and beautiful lyrically people still wonder about all the various interpretations. Well, let's look at one more randomly...how about Ten Years Gone?

"Then as it was, then again it will be

An' though the course may change sometimes

Rivers always reach the sea

Blind stars of fortune, each have several rays

On the wings of maybe, down in birds of prey

Kind of makes me feel sometimes, didn't have to grow

But as the eagle leaves the nest, it's got so far to go

Changes fill my time, baby, that's alright with me

In the midst I think of you, and how it used to be

Did you ever really need somebody, And really need 'em bad

Did you ever really want somebody, The best love you ever had

Do you ever remember me, baby, did it feel so good

'Cause it was just the first time, And you knew you would

Through the eyes an' I sparkle, Senses growing keen

Taste your love along the way, See your feathers preen

Kind of makes makes me feel sometimes, Didn't have to grow

We are eagles of one nest, The nest is in our soul

Vixen in my dreams, with great surprise to me

Never thought I'd see your face the way it used to be

Oh darlin', oh darlin'

I'm never gonna leave you. I'm never gonna leave

Holdin' on, ten years gone

Ten years gone, holdin' on, ten years gone"

^^^ A song (especially if you know the history behind it) that is poignant and full of emotion about first love, lost love, found love...but of course Ten Years Gone. Too late. Gorgeous.

When it comes to Robert Plant I am firmly of the opinion he is a prolific, gifted, very strong writer. But if you disagree, no problem as we all can't agree on everything! (I'm just interested in why you feel differently?)

OnTopic: I enjoyed the HuffPo write-up very much; nice job. I thought it was spot on, especially the Elvis Costello/critics comment. The critics never got it back during the day. But then as a youth, I (and my friends too) didn't care about what critics said anyway. It was always about the music, lyrics included. :) Missy

**Edited for spelling.

Missy & Reggie: My main point is that I have always found Led Zep's sound, their music, stronger and more memorable than their song lyrics. I have no music degree or experience as a music critic so I’m not qualified to analyze their lyrics or music in any expert way, I can only relate to how their music affects me.

I get where Plant’s songwriting inspiration came from, so my lack of enthusiasm for his lyrics doesn’t suffer from my lack of familiarity with the era or subject matter. From the first time I saw the band perform live, I never felt their lyrics reached an emotional depth or explored a range of themes in any unique way that grabbed me. But their overall sound and musicality did.

For lyrics I was drawn to Joni Mitchell or Bob Dylan, and later Leonard Cohen: all extremely different artists with very different sounds and very writing styles. For me, their lyrics trump their music although I love their music too. Somehow I think Joni captured in Woodstock (and she wasn’t even there) what Plant never did in a song written within the frame and about that time period. I’m not comparing these songwriters to each other or to Plant, just pointing out how differently artists capture a thought or feeling in writing.

I respect the opinions of others who disagree with me, because none of us experience music the same. As someone pointed out (Reggie maybe?) many of the old blues standards have simplistic lyrics. How true that is. And those lyrics so suit those tunes. I love them. It's not about scholarly poetic musings (at least for me), it is about how lyrics touch the ear and the heart and cause a reaction. Do you know what I mean?

Edited by Shadecatcher

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For a while in the 1980's every UK music press report I read, seemed to feel the need to add the words "fossils" & "dinosaurs" when mentioning Led Zeppelin.

It did seem to be less about the music than what the band represented..

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