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How I discovered Led Zeppelin, or, Why classic rock radio is terrible


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Hi everyone,

I'm new to the forum, so apologies if this topic has already been beaten to death.  

I just wanted to pass along my own story of how I just became a LZ fan, since I think it might have some more general significance.  If you had told me a month ago that I wasn't a fan of the band, I would have said no, that's not really true, I like LZ a lot, and know a lot of their music.  But the reason I would have said that is because I'm an American in my late 50s, which means I went to high school in the mid-70s with a lot of big LZ fans, and that I've spent the last 30+ years being bombarded by the classic rock radio format. 

So actually my knowledge of the band consisted of the 15 LZ songs that get played to death on classic rock radio stations, plus maybe three others that I happen to have run into one way or another that I thought were great -- Since I've Been Loving You, Ten Years Gone, and Tangerine.  Now to be fair that adds up to about a quarter of the band's studio album output, so that's a solid chunk of their officially released music.  (LZ is THE most played band on the classic rock radio format).

What I've discovered over the last few weeks is that I didn't actually know the band's music at all.  I had an experience on New Year's Eve that led me to start digging into LZ's entire official catalogue (haven't heard any boots yet, although I'm really hoping to get some direction in that regard!).

What I found, of course, is that a huge amount of the band's very best music is not something you're ever going to hear on the radio, at least not in the USA.

Here are five songs that I've just discovered in the last couple of weeks that have totally blown me away:

In My Time of Dying

The Rover

No Quarter

Achilles Last Stand

Into the Light

Now I'm sure to real fans it must seem completely ridiculous that somebody could have thought of themselves as a fan of the band but didn't know these songs at all (I had heard NQ maybe a couple of times at some point, but I think I literally had never heard a note of any of the others -- and I'm a nearly 60 year old guy who thinks of himself as a fairly big rock music fan!).

And that brings me to my main point, which is that the classic rock radio format is particularly bad for Led Zeppelin -- and for an ironic reason, which is that LZ gets played so much on the radio!  But of course the problem is that it's always the same dozen or so songs, that have been played completely to death, to the point where somebody like me could think that he "knew" LZ as a band, when actually I didn't have the first clue about how incredible they actually are.

Anyway, I just wanted to express how strange it feels for somebody who has listened to Stairway to Heaven, Rock and Roll, Black Dog, Kashmir etc. hundreds of times to realize that he didn't actually know Led Zeppelin's music hardly at all, and how great it is to really discover it so late in the game as it were. 

 

Edited by NewLZfan
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6 minutes ago, NewLZfan said:

Hi everyone,

I'm new to the forum, so apologies if this topic has already been beaten to death.  

I just wanted to pass along my own story of how I just became a LZ fan, since I think it might have some more general significance.  If you had told me a month ago that I wasn't a fan of the band, I would have said no, that's not really true, I like LZ a lot, and know a lot of their music.  But the reason I would have said that is because I'm an American in my late 50s, which means I went to high school in the mid-70s, and that I've spent the last 30+ years being bombarded by the classic rock radio format. 

So actually my knowledge of the band consisted of the 15 LZ songs that get played to death on classic rock radio stations, plus maybe three others that I happen to have run into one way or another that I thought were great -- Since I've Been Loving You, Ten Years Gone, and Tangerine.  Now to be fair that adds up to about a quarter of the band's studio album output, so that's a solid chunk of their officially released music.  (LZ is THE most played band on the classic rock radio format).

What I've discovered over the last few weeks is that I didn't actually know the band's music at all.  I had an experience on New Year's Eve that led me to start digging into LZ's entire official catalogue (haven't heard any boots yet, although I'm really hoping to get some direction in that regard!).

What I found, of course, is that a huge amount of the band's very best music is not something you're ever going to hear on the radio, at least not in the USA.

Here are five songs that I've just discovered in the last couple of weeks that have totally blown me away:

In My Time of Dying

The Rover

No Quarter

Achilles Last Stand

Into the Light

Now I'm sure to real fans it must seem completely ridiculous that somebody could have thought of themselves as a fan of the band but didn't know these songs at all (I had heard NQ maybe a couple of times at some point, but I think I literally had never heard a note of any of the others -- and I'm a nearly 60 year old guy who thinks of himself as a fairly big rock music fan!).

And that brings me to my main point, which is that the classic rock radio format is particularly bad for Led Zeppelin -- and for an ironic reason, which is that LZ gets played so much on the radio!  But of course the problem is that it's always the same dozen or so songs, that have been played completely to death, to the point where somebody like me could think that he "knew" LZ as a band, when actually I didn't have the first clue about how incredible they actually are.

Anyway, I just wanted to express how strange it feels for somebody who has listened to Stairway to Heaven, Rock and Roll, Black Dog, Kashmir etc. hundreds of times to realize that he didn't actually know Led Zeppelin's music hardly at all, and how great it is to really discover it so late in the game as it were. 

 

How strange of you if don't mind me saying? I am also in my late fifties and when I first heard Zeppelin, when I was 13, the next thing I did was buy the albums that had been released. I did this with all the bands I got into. To do this 40 odd years later doesn't make sense to me. 

Still better late than never eh?

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Yeah I admit it is a bit strange.  For some reason, I never bought any of their albums -- maybe because they were on the radio so much.  (Another factor is that none of my brothers bought their albums either, which is the way I got into some other bands -- one of my brothers would buy an album or two, then I would buy a couple, and pretty soon we would have a lot of that band's music.  Never happened with LZ ).

It does feel kind of embarrassing to discover them in this way, but as you say better late than never.

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1 hour ago, NewLZfan said:

Hi everyone,

I'm new to the forum, so apologies if this topic has already been beaten to death.  

I just wanted to pass along my own story of how I just became a LZ fan, since I think it might have some more general significance.  If you had told me a month ago that I wasn't a fan of the band, I would have said no, that's not really true, I like LZ a lot, and know a lot of their music.  But the reason I would have said that is because I'm an American in my late 50s, which means I went to high school in the mid-70s with a lot of big LZ fans, and that I've spent the last 30+ years being bombarded by the classic rock radio format. 

So actually my knowledge of the band consisted of the 15 LZ songs that get played to death on classic rock radio stations, plus maybe three others that I happen to have run into one way or another that I thought were great -- Since I've Been Loving You, Ten Years Gone, and Tangerine.  Now to be fair that adds up to about a quarter of the band's studio album output, so that's a solid chunk of their officially released music.  (LZ is THE most played band on the classic rock radio format).

What I've discovered over the last few weeks is that I didn't actually know the band's music at all.  I had an experience on New Year's Eve that led me to start digging into LZ's entire official catalogue (haven't heard any boots yet, although I'm really hoping to get some direction in that regard!).

What I found, of course, is that a huge amount of the band's very best music is not something you're ever going to hear on the radio, at least not in the USA.

Here are five songs that I've just discovered in the last couple of weeks that have totally blown me away:

In My Time of Dying

The Rover

No Quarter

Achilles Last Stand

Into the Light

Now I'm sure to real fans it must seem completely ridiculous that somebody could have thought of themselves as a fan of the band but didn't know these songs at all (I had heard NQ maybe a couple of times at some point, but I think I literally had never heard a note of any of the others -- and I'm a nearly 60 year old guy who thinks of himself as a fairly big rock music fan!).

And that brings me to my main point, which is that the classic rock radio format is particularly bad for Led Zeppelin -- and for an ironic reason, which is that LZ gets played so much on the radio!  But of course the problem is that it's always the same dozen or so songs, that have been played completely to death, to the point where somebody like me could think that he "knew" LZ as a band, when actually I didn't have the first clue about how incredible they actually are.

Anyway, I just wanted to express how strange it feels for somebody who has listened to Stairway to Heaven, Rock and Roll, Black Dog, Kashmir etc. hundreds of times to realize that he didn't actually know Led Zeppelin's music hardly at all, and how great it is to really discover it so late in the game as it were. 

 

The best stuff rarely if ever get's played on Radio, only the more commercial radio friendly mass appeal stuff gets on the air, that's always been the way. You want to hear where a band is really at, buy their albums.

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 I had a different experience with radio. WBCN and Rock 101 used to play a lot of Zeppelin every day, even stuff off No Quarter and WIC. The, Get The Led Out radio programme around here was really great too. Played a lot of deeper cuts like Achilles,  ITL, Carouselambra, TFO and would also play the companion tracks that were released and once in a while a live cut.  I can remember listening to the BBC stuff during Zeptember when they would feature Zeppelin all month long.     I eventually had to quit radio all together because of the commercials and repeated garbage all day long.   Radio used to be so cool.      

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On 1/24/2019 at 7:41 AM, NewLZfan said:

Hi everyone,

I'm new to the forum, so apologies if this topic has already been beaten to death.  

I just wanted to pass along my own story of how I just became a LZ fan, since I think it might have some more general significance.  If you had told me a month ago that I wasn't a fan of the band, I would have said no, that's not really true, I like LZ a lot, and know a lot of their music.  But the reason I would have said that is because I'm an American in my late 50s, which means I went to high school in the mid-70s with a lot of big LZ fans, and that I've spent the last 30+ years being bombarded by the classic rock radio format. 

So actually my knowledge of the band consisted of the 15 LZ songs that get played to death on classic rock radio stations, plus maybe three others that I happen to have run into one way or another that I thought were great -- Since I've Been Loving You, Ten Years Gone, and Tangerine.  Now to be fair that adds up to about a quarter of the band's studio album output, so that's a solid chunk of their officially released music.  (LZ is THE most played band on the classic rock radio format).

What I've discovered over the last few weeks is that I didn't actually know the band's music at all.  I had an experience on New Year's Eve that led me to start digging into LZ's entire official catalogue (haven't heard any boots yet, although I'm really hoping to get some direction in that regard!).

What I found, of course, is that a huge amount of the band's very best music is not something you're ever going to hear on the radio, at least not in the USA.

Here are five songs that I've just discovered in the last couple of weeks that have totally blown me away:

In My Time of Dying

The Rover

No Quarter

Achilles Last Stand

Into the Light

Now I'm sure to real fans it must seem completely ridiculous that somebody could have thought of themselves as a fan of the band but didn't know these songs at all (I had heard NQ maybe a couple of times at some point, but I think I literally had never heard a note of any of the others -- and I'm a nearly 60 year old guy who thinks of himself as a fairly big rock music fan!).

And that brings me to my main point, which is that the classic rock radio format is particularly bad for Led Zeppelin -- and for an ironic reason, which is that LZ gets played so much on the radio!  But of course the problem is that it's always the same dozen or so songs, that have been played completely to death, to the point where somebody like me could think that he "knew" LZ as a band, when actually I didn't have the first clue about how incredible they actually are.

Anyway, I just wanted to express how strange it feels for somebody who has listened to Stairway to Heaven, Rock and Roll, Black Dog, Kashmir etc. hundreds of times to realize that he didn't actually know Led Zeppelin's music hardly at all, and how great it is to really discover it so late in the game as it were. 

 

I use great LZ songs that *were not* on the Mothership, or Early Days / Later Days to judge if someone that claims to be a heavy LZ fan, is or isn't.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
On 1/25/2019 at 1:01 AM, NewLZfan said:

Yeah I admit it is a bit strange.  For some reason, I never bought any of their albums -- maybe because they were on the radio so much.  (Another factor is that none of my brothers bought their albums either, which is the way I got into some other bands -- one of my brothers would buy an album or two, then I would buy a couple, and pretty soon we would have a lot of that band's music.  Never happened with LZ ).

It does feel kind of embarrassing to discover them in this way, but as you say better late than never.

 

Hehe me similar ... i'm in mid-60s and  just getting into the albums - got into classical and opera after Bowie died but then realised there is time for that later; every time i've been to London recently I sorta been aware of JP's magic house, and always go up to Jimi Hendrix's bedroom and have my photo taken - last time with the guitar, and there was a recorder and harpsichord rehearsal in Handel's place and the lady rushed in when i was in his bedroom and said there should be a guide in here i'm sorry and i said that's ok i sort of am expecting his ghost to say hello and she laughed as if she understood.  

Have been in ukelele groups and got pissed off with peeps not listening to each other - like in retirement home halls the acoustics are all different, and we often had to stop cos there was two different time keeping at the different ends - and so it was as if somebody-up-there or just plain intuition got me into listening to LZ playing as a unit. I do a tiny bit of practice but not much.

I must have listened to the albums at friends places over the years and rolled many a joint on their record covers and indeed they were the first rock band i ever saw, at 17 but some of their lyrics were a bit sexist so i banned them very early lol; when I know all the albums i'd love to listen to them stoned somewhere legal like Seattle lol !

So you are not alone lol

 

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I have a coworker friend who has very similar musical tastes as I, but he never liked Zeppelin. He said he couldn't stand them. I found that weird, but ok, to each their own. But it turned out to be the same thing, he'd heard the radio hits enough times to be sick of them, but had never heard anything else. So one day he borrowed all my Zeppelin cds and listened to them, and he was blown away. He said he had no idea all the different stuff they'd play, since all he'd ever heard were things like Heartbreaker. Better late than never. :)

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  • 2 weeks later...
On ‎1‎/‎24‎/‎2019 at 8:41 AM, NewLZfan said:

because I'm an American in my late 50s, which means I went to high school in the mid-70s with a lot of big LZ fans, and that I've spent the last 30+ years being bombarded by the classic rock radio format. 

Buddy, I'm a teenager and Led Zeppelin songs are like my language, I personally love Nobody's Fault but mine, and Night Flight, if you haven't heard those.

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  • 2 months later...

I’ll be 45 this year and when I was about 8, my mother took in a boarder in an extra bedroom.  I vividly recall coming up the stairs and she was listening to Black Dog. My little mind was blown. I went in her room and listened to the whole album with her. My only mistake was that I was holding her Grateful Dead “American Beauty” album in my hands at the time, so in my mind the song was associated with that album cover. 

Later in high school I was introduced to non-radio Zeppelin and I’ve never looked back and collected everything.. I’ve had a deep love of music since I was a kid- my parents used to plug me in to the stereo with a headset. I believe my dad had Zeppelin albums but he never got those on the turntable.  Fortunately, I’ve started young enough - my only regret is being born too late. 

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  • 1 year later...

I just discovered Led Zeppelin and Robert Plant a few months ago. I knew STH was a song by Led Zeppelin in the 70's. That's it. A couple months ago one of the "reaction videos" showed up in one of my feeds. It was a reaction to STH. Then this man started to "react" to more Led Zeppelin songs. I couldn't understand how I lived through the 70's and never knew what I was missing!

Thinking back, in 1970 I had a 2yr old and twins on an Army base 600 miles from home with a Special Forces husband that was gone ALOT. If I listened to music it was in the car on a top 40 AM station. I watched Midnight Special on Friday nights. I don't remember ever hearing or seeing Led Zeppelin. As years went by and I started to listen more to music , I bought music by Chicago, Eagles. Earth, Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, etc. I only got to see a few live concerts as I raised kids, went back to school, and then to work. Nobody close to me shared Led Zeppelin with me. 

Yesterday I asked my younger sister if she ever had Led Zeppelin albums in the 70's. She said oh yeah, I loved the Immigrant Song, and so on. So I missed it all!

Now every night I am aquainting with LZ and Robert Plant solo career music. I've realized what an interesting man he is. His lyrics have made this digging deep quite a journey. Its made this quarantine like a found a treasure box in the attic. 

I'd love to know what I shouldn't miss as I continue my education of all things Zeppelin and Plant. 

Please share if you don't mind. 

Thanks!!

 

 

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3 hours ago, Suzanne said:

I just discovered Led Zeppelin and Robert Plant a few months ago. I knew STH was a song by Led Zeppelin in the 70's. That's it. A couple months ago one of the "reaction videos" showed up in one of my feeds. It was a reaction to STH. Then this man started to "react" to more Led Zeppelin songs. I couldn't understand how I lived through the 70's and never knew what I was missing!

Thinking back, in 1970 I had a 2yr old and twins on an Army base 600 miles from home with a Special Forces husband that was gone ALOT. If I listened to music it was in the car on a top 40 AM station. I watched Midnight Special on Friday nights. I don't remember ever hearing or seeing Led Zeppelin. As years went by and I started to listen more to music , I bought music by Chicago, Eagles. Earth, Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, etc. I only got to see a few live concerts as I raised kids, went back to school, and then to work. Nobody close to me shared Led Zeppelin with me. 

Yesterday I asked my younger sister if she ever had Led Zeppelin albums in the 70's. She said oh yeah, I loved the Immigrant Song, and so on. So I missed it all!

Now every night I am aquainting with LZ and Robert Plant solo career music. I've realized what an interesting man he is. His lyrics have made this digging deep quite a journey. Its made this quarantine like a found a treasure box in the attic. 

I'd love to know what I shouldn't miss as I continue my education of all things Zeppelin and Plant. 

Please share if you don't mind. 

Thanks!!

 

 

Never to late to discover Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin III is my favorite album, you might want to try that one.

 

Welcome to the forum.

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It may be tempting for us ledheds to suggest this bootleg and that bootleg, but I would suggest beginning with what you missed in the 70s. Get into the albums and The Song Remains the Same film. Robert's solo material in the 80s is also good stuff. Try Jimmy's as well: the Deathwish II soundtrack, the Firm, the Outrider album. It's a lot to take in; take your time and let it wash over you. Eventually if you're so inclined, you can start sampling live performances. The material on the Led Zep dvd released in 2003 is a good place to start. Get ready to be wowed!

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Thank you for the advice. I really would love to hear the albums on a turntable. I do remember how much better music sounded. 

I've already been blown away by some of their music. I can't remember listening to new music and getting so excited. 

 

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Well I'm 56 and thought Zeppelin were dire- I heard some of their stuff in my late teens and early twenties and was like 'so what?'. My turning point was in my 30's when 1. I listened to 'Houses of the Holy' and 2.I picked up a bootleg cd of the band live (good job not one of the less than sparkling performances).  This then kicked in my 'collecting gene' which now means I have around 250 bootlegs. Interestingly I'm not really a die hard fan of Zep, more a casual listener. I just prefer to hear live recordings of rock bands than studio ones (I've got some great stuff from Pink Floyd's 'Animals' Tour 1977 and Rainbow's Tours of 1975/6 as well as some less than great gigs from the Tommy Bolin era of Deep Purple). 

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When MTV started in 1981 the first video they played was "Video Killed the Radio Star" by the Buggles. But radio was already doing a fine job of killing itself before MTV came along.

Corporate greed and interference. Focus groups. Computerized playlists. More and more commercials. The wild freeform FM radio of my youth was pretty much gone by the dawn of the 1980s, save for the token few hours given to Jim Ladd at KMET (and later KLOS).

There was never a shortage of "No Quarter" or "In My Time of Dying" or "In the Light" when I was a kid. Radio played a wide range of Led Zeppelin...the popular tracks and the deep cuts. When "Presence" came out in 1976, "Achilles Last Stand" and "Nobody's Fault But Mine" were played every hour on the hour. They were the most popular songs from "Presence" and the most requested...far more than the single "Candy Store Rock". "Hots on for Nowhere", "For Your Life", and "Candy Store Rock" were lesser in rotation on radio, and "Royal Orleans" and "Tea for One" brought up the rear. But the fact was that all of the songs from "Presence" would receive airplay in varying degrees on most FM rock stations in town. Same with all of the other Led Zeppelin albums. Yes, you would even hear "Hats Off to Roy Harper" or "Boogie with Stu" or the live "Dazed and Confused" from TSRTS soundtrack on the radio.

The 1980s killed all that. 

Fortunately, through luck or family or friends, people are still discovering Led Zeppelin...whether they are kids or older folk who missed out on the band the first time around.

@Suzanne and others who are just getting into Led Zeppelin, my advice is to listen to them chronologically, just as we had to in the 1970s. The point of Led Zeppelin wasn't the destination, it was the journey. A big part of that journey were the albums and the growth and change in direction the band would show album to album.

Start with the first album. Immerse yourself in it for a week...or a month...however long it takes you to know the album forwards and back, over under sideways down.

Then progress to Led Zeppelin Ii. And then Led Zeppelin III. And so on and so on until you've reached the end of line. Don't forget the BBC Sessions and "How the West Was Won" and the official DVD. 

With a full understanding of their studio work, you'll then be better prepared to see how some songs were born from the live jams, especially during "Dazed and Confused". Both "Achilles Last Stand" and "Walter's Walk" sprung from "Dazed and Confused" jams. The "Whole Lotta Love" riff got its impetus from "The Hunter" jam in "How Many More Times".

After ingesting all the official studio and live releases, including the Paris 1969 concert included with the deluxe remaster of Led Zeppelin I, then you'll be ready for the world of bootlegs and live tapes. Seek out the Live Section of this forum for guidance. Or drop me a line and ask me anything you want.

 

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