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Zep is Best, but...


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United Press International

"It's a spectacle. They don't believe

what you're doing half the time, if you

have a magical night—if it's a really,

really fine night. Then we do what no

other people can do."

A few hours after Robert Plant spoke

those words (being a rock'n' roll star

requires a healthy ego), he and the

other members of Led Zeppelin had a

magical night. All the peices fit, and

Led Zep's music was magnificent, It

had to be the best rock 'n' roll on the

planet that night.

Sometimes I think Led Zeppelin is

just about the best rock band there is.

Other times, well...

Led Zep is inconsistent. I figure that

they have achieved about a 40 per cent

success rate in recorded music over the

last five years—actually a bit under.

But they are one of the most popular

bands in history, because their best is

so very good.

They experiment. This troubles some

critics, who feel they should "do what

they do best," meaning hard and heavy

blues-rock. But much of Led Zep's best

work has strayed far from that

particular safety island.

Led Zeppelin is the direct descendent

of The Yardbirds, one of the great

British Bands of the 60s. Jimmy Page

was the Yardbirds' third head guitarist.

He replaced Jeff Beck, Beck had

replaced Eric Clapton. Beck and

Clapton, of course, went on to personal

stardom. Page saw the band through a

complete change of personnel

(including the addition of Plant as lead

singer and lyricist), then changed the

name to Led Zeppelin.

On stage, Led Zep has all the visual

appeal and dramatic power The

Yardbirds lacked. Plant is the key:

topped by an immense mane of golden

curls, graceful and unapologetically

macho, he has a powerful voice,

tremendous range and near-perfect

control. Sharing the spotlight, he and

Page make a devastating team.

On the second date of their 1973 U.S.

tour, Led Zep filled the Tampa Stadium

with nearly 57,000 people. The show

grossed $309,000 . Both figures, as the

RP types never tire of repeating, break

the Beatles' 7-year-old Shea Stadium


Led Zeppelin's newest album,--their

fifth—is called "Houses of the Holy"

(Atlanta SD-7255). It's a bit of a

disappointment. Out of eight cuts, three

are excellent, four are fair and one (The

Crunge) should never had made it out

of the studio.

The good ones are "No Quarter,"

"Over The Hills and Far Away" (the

single-to-come), and "The Ocean."

They are Led Zep at its best—intensely

dramatic, innovative and powerful.

As for the lyrics, Plant (who is not

what you'd call the humble sort)

accurately analyzes his own work as "a

combination of fantasy, romanticism

and vague truths."

The lyrics aren't good enough to

strengthen the basic weaknesses in

"Houses of the Holy" much, however. If

this piece prompts you to buy a Led Zep

album for the first time I recommend

number four (no title—Atlantic

SD-7200). It's a rock masterpiece.

Meanwhile, I hope Led Zeppelin keeps

right on experimenting. As far as I'm

concerned, the 40 per cent is worth the.


They're going to have an incredible

"greatest hits" album.

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