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The Rock Scene by Ritchie York (HOTH reviews)

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The Rock Scene by Ritchie York (HOTH)


It seems that it is still fashionable to put down Led Zeppelin. The British group's fifth album Houses Of The Holy ( currently the top-selling album in the world) has been greeted by a solid first round

of critical ripoffs.

From Rolling Stone on down, the critics like to take a big stick to Led Zeppelin. In fact, if members of Zepp ever took such reviews seriously, they'd go berserk — Rolling Stone, for example, has rubbished all of the Zeppelin's recorded work.

While the lads just keep on breaking records, maintaining their position as the foremost rock band on the planet. Last week, they smashed a seven year old record set by the Beatles at Shea Stadium

(55,000 people for a gross of $301,000), the largest concert attendance in U.S. history.

On the second night of their 1973 North American tour (which does not include any Canadian gigs), Led Zeppelin drew 57,000 fans to a Tampa, Florida gig which grossed $309,000. The night before — in Atlanta — Zepp broke the house record at the Braves Stadium, drawing 49,236 paying customers

for a gross of $246,180. Previous figure was set by the Beatles who drew a crowd of 33,000 in 1965.

The implications of these figures are monumental. Led Zeppelin appear set to become the biggest drawing act in musical history. It's difficult to recall many artists capable of earning $200,000 for a couple of hours on stage.

Houses Of The Holy meanwhile has long since passed the one million sales mark. When you consider the size of the opening night crowds, it seems conceivable that the new Zepp album could exceed

the three million figure.

Atlantic Records and members of the group are now trying to select which cut to put out as a single. Over The Hill And Far Away appears highly favored. Personally I prefer D'Yer Maker which I feel is a certain number one smash.

As always, Jimmy Page is unmoved by the bad reviews. In an interview in London just prior to flying to the U.S., Page said: "I don't really care. It doesn't really make any difference. I'm deaf to the

album now because we made it such a long time ago, but I know there's some good stuff there.

"You can't dismiss something like No Quarter or the Rain Song out of hand. Maybe you could attack The Crunge or D'Yer Maker for being a bit self-indulgent. But they're just a giggle. They're just two


"If people can't even suss that out, on that superficial a level, then obviously you can't expect them to understand anything else on the album. It beats me, but I really don't give a damn.

"People have this pre-conceived notion of what to expect, and when a band is constantly in a state of change — and thai doesn't mean lack of direction but a natural change — then they can't come to

terms with it because each album is different from the last.

"How they should approach our albums is to forget they ever heard of a band called Led Zeppelin, forget about what they expect to hear, and just listen to what's on that particular record. That's all

we ask but we don't get it."

The members of Zeppelin have enjoyed millionaire status for a couple of years now yet Page says that he has not been stricken by the grief of affluence which usually afflicts rock super stars. He has

no desire to start another band or even to retire. "Nothing else would gel together so nicely. I know it

would be a mistake to break it up because you see it happening to other bands. They split, and what comes after doesn't work nearly as well.

"The chemistry isn't there. And if it's there in the beginning, then it's criminal to break it up."

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