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Houses of the Holy
December 3, 2012 12:55 AM   Subscribe

Creating Art from Failure. Take one epochal album by one of rock's legendary bands (called "one of the dullest and most confusing albums I've heard this year" by Rolling Stone on its release.) Name it after the nickname the band has given the venues where they appear, and for which they had written a song, which they neglected to put on the album itself. And then there's the album cover ...

Originally planned to be shot in Peru, the photos were instead shot over a grueling 10 days at the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland, where the Irish giant Finn McCool (who created the Isle of Man by flinging a chunk of Ireland at an enemy) once did battle with the Scottish giant Benandonner -- sort of. (He disguised himself as his own baby and pretended to eat stone steaks, scaring the other giant away.) It's also where the climactic scenes of Hellboy II were shot, a film heavily influenced by Irish myth. The location also doubles as the Dothraki Sea in Game of Thrones.

The cover was based on the final scene from Arthur C. Clark's "Childhood's End," in which humanity's children have ceased being human in any recognizable way, having turned into telekinetic beings. The image was a composite based on a series of photos taken by the legendary designer Aubrey Powell, founder of the album design agency Hipgnosis, which was responsible for such iconic covers as Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon," T. Rex's "Electric Warrior," and Peter Gabriel's "Melt" cover. The experience of making this album was intensely unsatisfying to Powell, but some accidental tinting in the studio transformed it.

There were actually only two children on the cover, siblings Stefan and Samanatha Gates. British foodies might recognize the name Stefan Gates -- he is The Gastronaut, a food writer and host of "Cooking in the Danger Zone" (here he is eating possibly radioactive food in Chernobyl). In 2010, Gates recorded a half-hour documentary for BBC Radio 4 about his experience making the album cover ("an experience I found oddly disturbing," he says.)

And, for fans of the album, here is every song on it, thanks to YouTube:

"The Song Remains the Same"
"The Rain Song"
"Over the Hills and Far Away"
"The Crunge"
"Dancing Days"
"D'yer Mak'er"
"No Quarter"
"The Ocean"
posted by Bunny Ultramod (151 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nice FPP!

You omitted one of the album's ironies, which is that the song "The Houses of the Holy" didn't appear on this album, but appeared on the subsequent album, Physical Graffiti.
posted by mosk at 1:14 AM on December 3, 2012


Actually, mosk: "Name it after the nickname the band has given the venues where they appear, and for which they had written a song, which they neglected to put on the album itself."
posted by koavf at 1:17 AM on December 3, 2012


D'oh!
posted by mosk at 1:21 AM on December 3, 2012


As Lenny put it, "Eh, everybody makes mistakes. That's why they put erasers on pencils."
posted by koavf at 1:25 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Related
posted by asok at 1:39 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's what's wrong with Zed Lepplin: Everything.

First, rip off the blues to a degree that would make even the Rolling Stones blush. And remember, those are the guys who straight-up attributed Robert Johnson songs to Jagger/Richards.

Second, mystical hoodoo. Make it seem like you're saying something, but reduce it to pelvic thrusts.

Third: Have awesome hair. No complaints here.

Fourth: Be really, really boring. You have one of the great blues interpreters at the microphone. The hands-down indisputably greatest drummer not named Ginger Baker behind the kit, and a passable Eric Clapton imitator playing guitar. And you still manage to be boring. Turn it up to 11. Still boring.

It sucked then, it sucks now.

A bloated, indulgent mess of a record that served a valuable purpose: it was so awful that something had to obliterate it.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:55 AM on December 3, 2012 [22 favorites]


asok beat me to it. (He's probably a Gold's Gym guy.)

Nice post!
posted by maxwelton at 2:27 AM on December 3, 2012


a song, which they neglected to put on the album itself

I understand something similar happened with ELP's Brain Salad Surgery.
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 2:44 AM on December 3, 2012


You kids get off my mystical rock formations!
posted by swift at 3:27 AM on December 3, 2012 [15 favorites]


As it so happens, Obama gave a little speech about Led Zeppelin yesterday.
posted by swift at 3:45 AM on December 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Houses of the Holy was also the first Zeppelin album with a title instead of a number. I always liked the idea of not having a title. And then Phil Collins did it and it and took all the cool out of it.
posted by three blind mice at 3:47 AM on December 3, 2012


When I was a kid, our little garage band liked to try to play a couple hard rocking songs by that new outrageous Brit band Led Zeppelin. Later on we got cooler and we hated Led Zeppelin, 'cos if you wanted to be really cool you hated Led Zeppelin. Still later, I didn't care so much whether I was cool or not, 'cos that was the way to be coolest of all. And I went back and listened to some Led Zeppelin again, and hey, some of it it wasn't all that bad, including the Crunge and D'yer Maker and Dancin' Days. Did they rip off black blues musicians in their early days? Sure. But so did black blues musicians rip off each other. Standard practice. And I still like Fool in the Rain and Kashmir. So am I cool or do I have to like punk rock instead?
posted by tommyD at 3:48 AM on December 3, 2012 [11 favorites]


First, rip off the blues to a degree that would make even the Rolling Stones blush.

Ah, that was them at their best!
posted by Artw at 3:58 AM on December 3, 2012


I always liked the idea of not having a title. And then Phil Collins did it and it and took all the cool out of it.

?....Phil Collins' albums have all have titles. It was Peter Gabriel who didn't have titles (at least at first until his label rebelled and said "dude, if you don't name your albums, we will, and we will think of lame names like 'Security'"). The name "Melt" referenced above is a fan-generated nickname.

And if you don't think Peter Gabriel's cool, them's fightin' words.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:59 AM on December 3, 2012 [10 favorites]


Howlies of the Hoses.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:01 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's what's wrong with Zed Lepplin: Everything.

Well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.
posted by kcds at 4:13 AM on December 3, 2012 [51 favorites]


Did they rip off black blues musicians in their early days? Sure. But so did black blues musicians rip off each other.

Wellll... other black blues musicians didn't become multimillionaires, though, y'see, which is kinda where the "ripping off" part comes in. Just sayin', and all, cause there's a race/class dynamic at work there that does need to be taken into consideration.

I'd be the first to say that it's a BIG discussion, though, this whole "ripping off the blues" thing, and full of (fraught with!) the kinds of dichotomies and absurdities and philosophical twists, turns and dead ends that American music (and by extension, British music) history is chock full of.

Having said that, I'd also say...

Goddam skinny Brit millionaire muhfuggahs shoulda written some goddam checks to Fred McDowell like the Stones at least had the decency to do!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:15 AM on December 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Also related.
posted by cgc373 at 4:17 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


?....Phil Collins' albums have all have titles.

I think when he said "Phil Collins did it and it and took all the cool out of it" he meant "playing rock music".
posted by Wolfdog at 4:20 AM on December 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


Oh God, Led fucking Zep. The most pretentious overblown crap ever. Its like, lets get 4 awesome session musos together and make a band and we can musically wank all day long. And drum solos ffs?

Echoing Flapjax - these are rich british kids who stole the blues and didn't pay a penny.
posted by marienbad at 4:22 AM on December 3, 2012


Yo! Americans! Don't blame Brits that you were a bunch of racists with no appreciation for great music under your noses in the 60s.

I'd also like to point out Eric Clapton's efforts in getting said Black musicians paid, which is more than any yanks did.
posted by Artw at 4:22 AM on December 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


Here's what's wrong with Zed Lepplin: Everything.

That's the problem with punks, they use complaints about rock music which are rip offs of what others said 40 years ago, with no attribution to the originators. What a bunch of dinosaurs.
posted by 445supermag at 4:49 AM on December 3, 2012 [19 favorites]


To all the haters I say: piss up a rope.

I may be a bourgeois suburbanite with 2.5 kids and a corporate job, I may be a frumpy lady trembling on the verge of middle age, but this is the music that imprinted me during my formative years and I fucking love it. You can take the girl out of the Rust Belt, but you can't take the Rust Belt out of the girl. I'm gonna go blast Rock and Roll on my car stereo as I drive into work.
posted by Sublimity at 4:59 AM on December 3, 2012 [18 favorites]


Echoing Flapjax - these are rich british kids who stole the blues and didn't pay a penny.

Careful, there, though. My point is not quite as cut-and-dried as that. Yes, I'd have liked to see Zep do what the Stones did and actually credit some Delta guy (in their particular case, Mississippi Fred McDowell, with "You Gotta Move", which they covered on Sticky Fingers) knowing that said Delta guy would get a nice payday from performance royalties, rather than giving writer credit to themselves (as Zep did) on stuff they'd borrowed wholesale.

But, see, I'm still wary of sweeping statements like "stole the blues" because a genre is a genre. You don't steal a genre. You can adopt it, adapt it, do it well or do it poorly, make money with it or not, but you can't *steal* a genre. Or, if you say you can, then, hey, every musician walking the planet is some sort of wanton thief.

Yo! Americans! Don't blame Brits that you were a bunch of racists with no appreciation for great music under your noses in the 60s.

Steve Cropper and Donald "Duck" Dunn (among scores of other white musicians with great music under their noses in the 60s) would beg to differ with your sweeping "bunch of racists" characterization.

I'd also like to point out Eric Clapton's efforts in getting said Black musicians paid, which is more than any yanks did.

Got any cites for those points and comparisons?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:05 AM on December 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Sure, you cant steal the blues, but rich white dudes from england playing poor black dudes from mississippi is at least kinda fucked. Plus, frat boys. The end.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:12 AM on December 3, 2012


Yo! Americans! Don't blame Brits that you were a bunch of racists with no appreciation for great music under your noses in the 60s.

Steve Cropper and Donald "Duck" Dunn (among scores of other white musicians with great music under their noses in the 60s) would beg to differ with your sweeping "bunch of racists" characterization.


Yes, that's right. The MGs and the Memphis Horns were racially integrated, with both black and white members. And a number of other young, white American blues and R&B musicians during the 1960s gave props to older black musicians, collaborated with them, appeared on the same concert bills, etc. Some more examples: Paul Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield, Nick Gravenites, Charlie Musselwhite, Corky Siegel & Jim Schwall, Canned Heat, etc.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 5:15 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was just talking to a friend of mine, a record collector with walls of walls of LPs in his home and a 3-year-old daughter with long blonde hair... He says he's been really amused and freaked out lately because his daughter keeps grabbing Houses of Holy off of the shelf and walking around the house waving it around, insisting that she's one of the kids on the cover.
posted by COBRA! at 5:22 AM on December 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Sure, you cant steal the blues, but rich white dudes from england playing poor black dudes from mississippi is at least kinda fucked.

That's rather a broad swathe of music there you're condemning with some pretty wide reaching influences - id go as far as to say that if your music collection contains anything with a guitar in it from the early 60s on you should probably get rid of it just to be safe.
posted by Artw at 5:38 AM on December 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow, didn't realise that it was possible to dislike Led Zep. Your favourite band sucks indeed.
posted by Joe Chip at 5:39 AM on December 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Also I'm taking it our definition of "rich" here is "not actually living in a shack"?
posted by Artw at 5:39 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yo! Artw! Still curious about those claims regarding Clapton's making sure "said" black musicians got paid, and how that was "more than any yanks did"! :)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:47 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think when he said "Phil Collins did it and it and took all the cool out of it" he meant "playing rock music".

Nah, he meant not naming albums:

I always liked the idea of not having a title. And then Phil Collins did it and it and took all the cool out of it.

And the rest of y'all busting on Led Zepplin - you are welcome to not read this thread, y'know.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:51 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Those who hate on that first amazing Led Zep album, and want to lecture us on the merits of your favorite music, can blow it out your asses with a wimpy synth.
posted by dbiedny at 5:52 AM on December 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


It sucked then, it sucks now.

posted by BitterOldPunk


Eponysterical!
posted by chillmost at 5:52 AM on December 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


How about linking to some more music instead of fighting 40-year-old battles?

Here, Freddie King.
posted by ersatz at 5:56 AM on December 3, 2012


I don't care what anyone says, Jimmy Page is one of the greatest riff masters of all time.
posted by josher71 at 6:04 AM on December 3, 2012


How about linking to some more music instead of fighting 40-year-old battles?

Hey, over in the Caucasus they're always ready to fight 700-year-old battles. 40 years is nuthin'!

But, yeah, I'll see your Freddie King, and raise you a Junior Wells/Buddy Guy.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:06 AM on December 3, 2012


You don't steal a genre.
But you can steal songs, and there's some pretty good evidence Zepplin did so. See, for example, Everything is a Remix, part 1, from about 1:30-4:45.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:12 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


But you can steal songs, and there's some pretty good evidence Zepplin did so.

Yup. I indicated as much in a previous comment. We're in pretty well-known territory here.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:13 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a kid, my Zep was on tape and my deck's sound stayed on when fast-forwarding. That's how I discovered how utterly monotonous they were. One and only one riff per song, over and over. Which probably explains why I moved on to prog rock.
posted by whuppy at 6:22 AM on December 3, 2012


Wow, didn't realise that it was possible to dislike Led Zep

In my case it was a dorm-mate leaving The B-side of IV on repeat on his stereo and then wandering off for a whole day (door locked; RA nowhere to be found). That and "Stairway to Heaven" playing constantly on the radio across the last 40 years or so.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:25 AM on December 3, 2012


Yes, the way you can tell the early Led Zepplin albums were full of Blues standards is THEY WERE FULL OF BLUES STANDARDS.

Yo! Artw! Still curious about those claims regarding Clapton's making sure "said" black musicians got paid, and how that was "more than any yanks did"! :)

My citation for Brits doing more for the Blues amongst White Anericans than White Americans did is "The Rolling Stones".

As for Clapton getting artist paid, my Google-fu is failing me, feel free to look for yourself.
posted by Artw at 6:32 AM on December 3, 2012


I'd also like to point out Eric Clapton's efforts in getting said Black musicians paid, which is more than any yanks did.

Got any cites for those points and comparisons?


Dunno about 'yanks', and I know it's currently cool to 'hate on' Eric Clapton, but as to EC vs LZ, there is no comparison in this regard.

The simplest way to make sure a songwriter is properly paid is to make sure they're properly credited. Forget what the revised credits listed on Wikipedia say. Pull out your old vinyl Cream LPs (for example), read the orginal credits as they were published at the time, and note these properly credited songs:

"Spoonful" -- Willie Dixon
"Cat's Squirrel" -- Traditional, arr. Cream
"Four Until Late" -- Robert Johnson, arr. Eric Clapton
"Rollin' and Tumblin'" -- McKinley Morganfield
"I'm So Glad" -- Skip James
"Outside Woman Blues" -- Arthur Reynolds, arr. Clapton
"Sitting on Top of the World" -- Walter Vinson, Lonnie Chatmon; arr. Chester Burnett
"Born Under a Bad Sign" --Booker T. Jones, William Bell
"Crossroads" -- Robert Johnson, arr. Clapton
"Spoonful" -- Willie Dixon
"I'm So Glad" -- Skip James
"Sitting on Top of the World" -- Walter Vinson, Lonnie Chatmon; arr. Chester Burnett

Now pull out your old vinyl Led Zepplin LPs and note these improperly credited songs:

“Black Mountain Side” -– Page
“Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” –- trad., arr. Page*
“In My Time Of Dying” –- Page, Plant, Jones, Bonham
“The Lemon Song” –- Page, Plant, Jones, Bonham
“Bring It On Home” –- Page, Plant
“Whole Lotta Love” –– Page, Plant, Jones, Bonham **
“Dazed And Confused” -– Page
"How Many More Times" -- Bonham, Jones, Page

* Possibly, an honest mistake.

** I'm on the fence on this one. Defintely not the direct lift that "Dazed and Confused" clearly is, and I'm sentimental because it's the only LZ track I still want to hear. But Willie Dixon did successfully sue them for this among others and that's the only reason the original credits have been flushed over at the Ministry of Truth.

I would say that Cream's "Crossroads" is at least as great a re-imagining of the orginal source material as was "Whole Lotta Love" and yet Clapton managed to credit Johnson from the start, as he did with the very different arrangement used on the Powerhouse LP that predated Cream.

So . . . there is that.
 
posted by Herodios at 6:37 AM on December 3, 2012 [11 favorites]


This slightly less bitter old punk loves Led Zeppelin I, II, III, and IV, and is indifferent to Houses and In through the Out Door. Everyone has their faves. I just chimed in to say that it's pretty amazing to me that anyone could think Whole Lotta Love is boring. I'd put it into that category of song where there was absolutely nothing that sounded like it, until it. Cf. Satisfaction, All Day and All of the Night, Holidays in the Sun, among others. I will now sit back and wait to be corrected.
posted by scratch at 6:48 AM on December 3, 2012


Here's what's wrong with Zed Lepplin: Everything

But you just can't get enough of Queen, amirite?
posted by uraniumwilly at 6:51 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


You folks ever hear of not feeding the troll? One of these punk nostalgia people shits on almost every music post; just ignore them.
posted by thelonius at 6:57 AM on December 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


Tom Scharpling chortles in approval.
posted by Beardman at 6:59 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


"That's how I discovered how utterly monotonous they were. One and only one riff per song, over and over. Which probably explains why I moved on to prog rock."

So I take it you're not into Can either.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 7:04 AM on December 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


"That's how I discovered how utterly monotonous they were. One and only one riff per song, over and over. Which probably explains why I moved on to prog rock."


We did it again.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 7:08 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is how it works:
Bobby Womack said in an interview that he had told his manager he did not want the Rolling Stones to record ["It's All Over Now"] and that he had told Mick Jagger to get his own song. His manager convinced him to let the Rolling Stones record the song. Six months later on receiving the royalty check for the song he told his manager that Mick Jagger could have any song he wanted.

The Rolling Stones' version of "It's All Over Now" is the most famous version ever cut of the song.

-- WP
Too bad Mick got the words wrong, or didn't understand 'em in the first place and changed 'em.

"Hurt my eyes open" indeed.
 
posted by Herodios at 7:09 AM on December 3, 2012


My citation for Brits doing more for the Blues amongst White Anericans than White Americans did is "The Rolling Stones".

Um... what? This would seem to be a rather different point you're making now, Artw. Not exactly sure anymore what your point is, though. "Doing more for the Blues amongst White Anericans than White Americans did"? You've lost me now. But the whole thing seems like a kind of flip remark, actually, and I still find your blanket condemnation of Americans as "a bunch of racists" as stupidly incendiary, lazy and ill-thought. All in all, your contributions to this thread so far strike me as less interested in having an informed and educational discussion and more leaning into the territory of 'throw out some stink bombs and follow 'em up with some smoke bombs'.

And thanks so much for the suggestion, but I've got better things to do than go researching Eric Clapton's supposed Yank-shaming, good-hearted benevolence.

I do appreciate Herodios's comment above, however. He's done some of your work for you (in regard to guitar god Clapton) and deserves your thanks. What he refers to (crediting songwriters properly) is exactly what I had delineated in one of my comments upthread, and in fact mentioned your much-vaunted (nothing more need be cited!) Rolling Stones specifically in this regard.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:10 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


"That's how I discovered how utterly monotonous they were. One and only one riff per song, over and over. Which probably explains why I moved on to prog rock."

Shellac
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 7:14 AM on December 3, 2012


"That's how I discovered how utterly monotonous they were. One and only one riff per song, over and over. Which probably explains why I moved on to prog rock."

Around the world
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 7:16 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have never before seen anyone decide that they don't like a band because they don't sound good in fast forward.

I'll bet the "I have a dream" speech sounds totally stupid backwards! And don't get me started on those jackasses Pink Floyd..I listened to The Wall at 1/100 the intended speed and it was just a bunch of noise.
posted by chronkite at 7:17 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Article about the kids from the cover shot.

Also, on The Ocean:

At approximately 1:37-1:38 into the song and again at around 1:41, a telephone can be faintly heard ringing in the background. Some speculate that this was intentional - the sheet music (printed after the fact) that accompanies the CD box set has the word "ring" printed twice above the percussion tab of this song. Others are of the opinion that while Led Zeppelin recorded the song a ringing phone was accidentally captured in the mix.
[From Wiki]

Glad to have that confirmed. I've listened to that song probably a hundred times and it makes me take my headphones off from time to time still looking for a ringing phone (I did it just now) even though I haven't had a phone that rings like that for ten years.
posted by The Ultimate Olympian at 7:17 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


it is okay dudes we totally got the limeys back when we stole dubstep and transformed it via skrillex into brostep and wub wub wub complaints remain the same
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:17 AM on December 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


One and only one riff per song, over and over.

Well, as someone once said about the Ramones--"But they're the three BEST chords!"
posted by scratch at 7:18 AM on December 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


"That's how I discovered how utterly monotonous they were. One and only one riff per song, over and over. Which probably explains why I moved on to prog rock."

Yoo Doo Right
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 7:18 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's funny how when a given topic comes up on metafilter there can seem to be just a random wheel-spin as to which overall tone or stance towards the subject is going to come up and typify the thread. For Zep I've seen unambiguous advocacy, skepticism, bucking the critical consensus, embodying the critical consensus, all one thread at a time, it seems. My first FPP about Zeppelin's crediting problems was jeered for advancing arguments 40 years past their sell-by date, but in this thread those exact same arguments seem to be way cool.
posted by anazgnos at 7:20 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


"That's how I discovered how utterly monotonous they were. One and only one riff per song, over and over. Which probably explains why I moved on to prog rock."

Helmet
posted by josher71 at 7:21 AM on December 3, 2012 [2 favorites]




"That's how I discovered how utterly monotonous they were. One and only one riff per song, over and over. Which probably explains why I moved on to prog rock."

Nothing's Gonna Happen
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 7:24 AM on December 3, 2012


I saw a lion he was standing alone.
posted by Tube at 7:24 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Touche, SmileyChewTrain! One of favorite all time bands is Th Faith Healers. So no accounting for taste, not even my own, I guess.
posted by whuppy at 7:24 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


My first FPP about Zeppelin's crediting problems was jeered for advancing arguments 40 years past their sell-by date, but in this thread those exact same arguments seem to be way cool.

The older you get the more of this phenomenon you will see.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:25 AM on December 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Or the opposite. Anyway, time marches on!

Or, backwards.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:25 AM on December 3, 2012


To all the haters I say: piss up a rope.

I may be a bourgeois suburbanite with 2.5 kids and a corporate job, I may be a frumpy lady trembling on the verge of middle age, but this is the music that imprinted me during my formative years and I fucking love it. You can take the girl out of the Rust Belt, but you can't take the Rust Belt out of the girl. I'm gonna go blast Rock and Roll on my car stereo as I drive into work.
Seriously. After reading this thread I have an urge to cover a textbook with grocery bag paper and painstakingly draw Led Zeppelin logos all over it... but not being in school any more I'll have to settle for queueing up the entire Zeppelin catalog in iTunes. So good.
posted by usonian at 7:31 AM on December 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'll bet the "I have a dream" speech sounds totally stupid backwards!

If you play it backwards at midnight while staring into a mirror with the lights off, you summon the screaming ghost of Jefferson Davis. It's not a pretty thing top observe nor a wise thing to do.

Just sayin'.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:31 AM on December 3, 2012


Oh come on, josher71, Helmet had a physics-defying combination of nimbleness and throw weight. They remain generations ahead of just about everyone.
posted by whuppy at 7:32 AM on December 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Zep's one of the bands you don't have to queue up, you don't have to buy again, their music can play in your mind straight from memory with no gaps, no annoying mp3 expansion, and only the original hiss and pop your records had.

On long swims or long drives, no electronics required. Just listen straight from memory.

You guys can all decide where they rank, or whether to feel guilty about their liner notes and the plight of Leadbelly's luthier. I don't care.

Failure? I don't think so. The music still plays in my head.

PS COBRA! funny. Let me know if you find an economic frame solution so I can tile some walls with albums. Been wanting to do that for a while.
posted by surplus at 7:34 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


If your connection to your favorite genre of music involves hating on some other genre of music just because one of your heroes hated it or you've bought in to some false legend that your music was created as a reaction to its predecessor...well, all I can say is you're probably not a fan of music. You're more like those guys that put decals of Calvin peeing on a Ford logo in their car windows.
posted by rocket88 at 7:34 AM on December 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


Rarely are white Americans as concerned about the artistic and financial rights of African-American musicians as when it involves a band that they don't like anyway. LZ settled with Willie Dixon over a quarter of a century ago WRT "Whole Lotta Love" (something that the Small Faces never did), but, you know, it's important to hold onto that teenage rage about having to hear "Stairway to Heaven" one more time when you'd been holding out for "California Uber Alles".
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:50 AM on December 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I loved Zeppelin as a budding music nut and Houses of the Holy and III were my two faves; listening to them was formative in a way few other classic rock records were. They introduced me to strange song structures and transmogrified folk and blues, drew me in and got me wanting moremoremore. Thanks for the post, Bunny Ultramod.

That said, the plagiarism goes way deep into the roots of the formation of the band and there's really no defense of the way they handled it (though it should be mentioned the Small Faces covered and credited Dixon's "You Need Love" to themselves first; "Whole Lotta Love" was heavily influenced by the Small Faces version). Anyway, here are a couple of links if folks want to learn more about this probably unavoidable derail. The stories are occasionally a bit different, but the basics are there. It wasn't just blues; they snagged credit from folk musicians like Bert Jansch as well.

THE THIEVING MAGPIES: Jimmy Page's Dubious Recording Legacy. Part Two. The story of Page's attempts to kill any Yardbirds' release of an early live version of "Dazed and Confused" is particularly relevant.

Now by popular demand! A list of some of the songs Zep stole from other artists

The story of "Bring it on Home" is interesting:

In the '70s the publishing arm of Chess Records, Arc Records, sued Led Zeppelin over the group's use of "Bring It on Home" on their second album. Arc won, although Dixon saw no money from it. He ended up having to sue Arc music, in much the same way Arc had sued Zeppelin, to make things right. Later, Dixon would sue Zeppelin himself over the similarities between his "You Need Love" and Led Zeppelin's mega smash "Whole Lotta Love". Throughout the later stages of his career, Dixon was at the forefront of efforts to make record companies give artists their due (he even drew his friend Muddy Waters into the lawsuit against Arc).
posted by mediareport at 7:55 AM on December 3, 2012


Yo! Americans! Don't blame Brits that you were a bunch of racists with no appreciation for great music under your noses in the 60s.
I'd also like to point out Eric Clapton's efforts in getting said Black musicians paid, which is more than any yanks did.


You might want to reconsider Eric Clapton as your go-to guy for the counter-racism example.
posted by chococat at 7:59 AM on December 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


the plight of Leadbelly's luthier

Leadbelly's luthier looked up from his bench
put down his wood glue and picked up a wrench
his face became twisted, and shaking with rage
he said "I'm gonh go kill that damn Jimmy Page!
He stole from the blues just as much as he could!
That boy done stole whole lotta more than he should!
Claimed that he wrote 'In My Time of Dying'?
When he see me comin' that poor fool be crying!"

And so he set out, from his humble wood shack
over the fields and across the rail track
he sailed all the way to England's green shore
and right off the boat he saw Ritchie Blackmore
but holding his wrench oh so tight in his grip
he said "Never mind Blackmore, I'm-a bust Page's lip!"
he marched up to Page's huge country estate
still holding that wrench, he opened the gate
and marched right on up to ol' Jimmy's front door
said "Come out now boy, I'm-a show you what for!"
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:00 AM on December 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


A bloated, indulgent mess of a record that served a valuable purpose: it was so awful that something had to obliterate it.
Good point. It's still in my top 50 albums of all time.

I love Led Zeppelin. In my opinion, no one has ever equaled them in their ability to be simultaneously incredibly brainy and incredibly brainless.
posted by dfan at 8:03 AM on December 3, 2012


D'yer Mak'er is always mispronounced by everyone, even the band these days. Said with a certain sort of accent, D'yer Maker becomes Jermaicker which is a bastardization of Jamaica.

D'yer Mak'er is a reggae song.

Case rested.
posted by Brody's chum at 8:05 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pretty good, Flapjax. I confess I started reading it as a Tolkien reference but you totally crossed me up by keeping it straight Bocephus.
posted by surplus at 8:06 AM on December 3, 2012


Just dropped in to say that Zeppelin fucking rules.

Every one of their albums (well, less so In Through the Out Door), every song, every riff.

I was a diehard defender of LZ's greatness against my freshman year roommate's Who-based assaults and continue to hold high the torch.

And sorry: LZ's "Nobody's Fault but Mine" shares a name with Blind Willie Johnson's version (itself a version of a traditional gospel song), but takes it to as different a place as Bird took "How High the Moon" in "Ornithology."
posted by the sobsister at 8:16 AM on December 3, 2012


Or, backwards.

I have always suspected that flapjax was a time lord.
posted by elizardbits at 8:20 AM on December 3, 2012


Unlike BitterOldPunk, this old punk loved Led Zep and still does. Page's guitar playing came right from the groin, and if you can't feel it you probably need about a pound of Viagra, or at least to ease back on the booze. Houses of the Holy is certainly their oddest album, but it grows, and I'll take it over the overly-acoustic and far too nonny 3, any day. The riff on "Dancing Days" is a thing of twisted delight.

Still, sides one and two of Physical Graffiti remain the pinnacle. That stuff is pure thrusting fuck noise.
posted by Decani at 8:20 AM on December 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


Tsk.

"My wife and I are going on holiday to the West Indies."
"D'yer Mak'er?"
"No, she wanted to go."

Do they teach nothing in schools these days?
posted by Artw at 8:21 AM on December 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


You might want to reconsider Eric Clapton as your go-to guy for the counter-racism example.

Oh, he's done some dodgy crap and is probably knee deep in UKIP style racism as we speak, but he was instrumental in getting early blues musicians credited. *

* though, like I say, Googles not backing me up on this right now.
posted by Artw at 8:24 AM on December 3, 2012


Just dropped in to say that Zeppelin fucking rules.

Every one of their albums (well, less so In Through the Out Door), every song, every riff.


Boy, MetaFilter sure is eager to express its love of things that are very popular.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:44 AM on December 3, 2012


To their enormous credit, Cream made sure that Skip James received his royalty payments for 'I'm So Glad,' probably unprecedented in the shameful history of the plundering of black musical heritage by the white music industry.

The royalties helped Skip pay for his mounting medical expenses.

Eric Clapton, a tireless champion of past blues masters, personally saw to it that James received the royalties that belonged to him.


That's the one that's most famous, anyway.
posted by mediareport at 8:47 AM on December 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Boy, MetaFilter sure is eager to express its love of things that are very popular.

Boy, Metafilter sure is eager to snark on people who love things that are very popular.

We can play this game all day, can't we? Your turn!
posted by chronkite at 8:49 AM on December 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


Boy, MetaFilter sure is eager to express its love of things that are very popular.

You can sniff about this in MetaTalk if you like.
posted by josher71 at 8:50 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


D'yer Mak'er is always mispronounced by everyone, even the band these days. Said with a certain sort of accent, D'yer Maker becomes Jermaicker which is a bastardization of Jamaica.

Joke About Jamaica
posted by Rangeboy at 9:05 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Boy, MetaFilter sure is eager to express its love of things that are very popular.

Given the back and forth between ardent fans and equally ardent detractors, this hasn't exactly been an untrammeled lovefest. If you have an opinion on the band or the specific focus of the FPP, please share it.
posted by the sobsister at 9:07 AM on December 3, 2012


Artw:

The variation I know:

"I went out with a girl last night."
"D'yer maker?"
"No, she said she had a headache."

(cut to stock footage of theater audience laughing uproariously)
posted by the sobsister at 9:11 AM on December 3, 2012


I get the whole Punk needed to kill arena rock thing, and I'm glad it did. I was right there for the whole thing when it exploded in '77 & early '78. It was a wild time and there were no rules except it was raw and simple and fun and loud. It rocked my 15 YO world. Styx, Kansas be damned, out with the contrived & in with the sincere. I like sincerity.

However, I'm pretty much the definition of a Zeppelin fanatic. The first time I ever got stoned & drunk, at age 9 btw, was to an 8 track of their first album. I didn't know then, but I know now they ripped people off, and that sucks because I love Howlin' Wolf as much as I love Zep, but here's the deal for me -- those guys can play their instruments. I mean good god, they're monsters. I tried to climb on the Zep hate train in the 80s, but I cannot. They were a steam roller, a giant freight train, a sonic assault, & they functioned as a machine. A loose machine, with flaws & cracks & dangling wires, but it ran like a diesel locomotive over the aural landscape of my youth.

All that said, Houses of the Holy is actually just about my least favorite Zep album, except for parts of Presence. I have never known the happiness I felt playing a ripping rendition of Song Remains the Same doing any single other thing in life. It's exudes an exuberance unlike any other song, and is just so full of life to me. I know a lot of people don't care for the Rain Song, but it's kinda nice. It's a clever progression & has a grounded, gentle thing that's a whole 'nuther side of the freight train. I like the mellotron, but maybe I have no taste. From there however, the album does go swiftly downhill. There's some good playing on the rest of the record in spots, but the songs just don't stand up in the long run. The Ocean is fun, but lyrically? Nah. It is overall a kinda weak album. They weren't perfect, and at times they weren't even good, but their legacy is not one of crap in the long run. There's just too much massive thudding groove under the Zep banner to write off the whole catalog.

Also, those guys that chose the path where no one goes? They couldn't take the bus because they had no quarters.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:12 AM on December 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Such a disappointment when it first came out. And it was weird, like they'd sped up the tape -- Robert Plant's voice was too high-pitched. In later years, though, I've really grown to appreciate "D'yer Maker" -- that's great song, which we dismissed at the time for being too 50's-nostalgic. The rest of the disk is still crap, compared to what came before. They bounced back with "Physical Graffiti" but after their drummer died, that was it.
posted by Rash at 9:13 AM on December 3, 2012


Wanna sample a snare drum? The first beat of D'yer Maker is a really good place to do so. I know engineers that have replaced the snare on entire albums with that sample. Page was also an amazing producer. He got the sounds.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:16 AM on December 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


Given the back and forth between ardent fans and equally ardent detractors, this hasn't exactly been an untrammeled lovefest. If you have an opinion on the band or the specific focus of the FPP, please share it.

Led Zepplin was the band I retreated to when Metallica and Iron Maiden became passe in the late 80s. I was given a cassette of "In through the out door" by my uncle, and from that point on, The Zep formed the soundtrack of my young adult life.

I lost my virginity while Led Zep blared on the boombox, and a couple years ago, when the girl (now woman) looked me up on Facebook the first thing she said was "Every time I hear "Ramble On" I think of you and that day..."

They are guilty of many sins. And they were the best band to happen to me at the best time for them to happen to me. nobody ever likes Presence, but I loved Achilles Last Stand It's my favorite Led Zep tune.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:20 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Next on MeFi: Does J.S. Bach suck because he ripped off Pythagoras?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:26 AM on December 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


2 things: On the first two albums, especially, Led Zep flat out rocked.
Second, has any (frequently laid) man on earth ever suffered as much at the hands of evil women as Robert Plant? Holy crap, his persecution complex makes MRAs go "Come on, dude. Take some responsibility."
posted by msalt at 9:43 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Such a disappointment when it first came out. And it was weird, like they'd sped up the tape -- Robert Plant's voice was too high-pitched.

They did. Plant blew out his voice in late '72 and lost a lot of upper range.

I didn't like the footage/audio of the reunion show from '07 that much when it happened...they just seemed generally soggy, and all the guitars being down-tuned to accomodate Plant's even more blown-out voice just seemed to take something out of them...but I'll be damned if Celebration Day wasn't a joy to watch.
posted by anazgnos at 9:55 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Next on MeFi: Does J.S. Bach suck because he ripped off Pythagoras?

Or do blues musicians suck because they ripped off Bach? Does Coltrane suck because he ripped off Bird? Do we hate Brahms for ripping off Beethoven? Cage for ripping off Satie? Radiohead for ripping off Zeppelin? Etc.

There's almost no better way to declare your ignorance of what makes music good music, or your ignorance indeed of history, then to critique a work of art as being bad because it is derivative. There are no artworks which are not.

Music in an evolutionary thing, and it isn't proprietary. Led Zep borrowed and stole - and now nearly every band in current existence owes some debt to Led Zep, and thereby the blues, and thereby Bach and traditional African music and gamelan and so on.

It doesn't matter that Zeppelin borrowed heavily from the blues. They borrowed and they put their own little - and fucking rocking - twist on it, and it was, and is, incredible to listen to.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:03 AM on December 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


I love Zeppelin, but everything after I, II and III is pretty spotty. Yes, even IV.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:13 AM on December 3, 2012


It doesn't matter that Zeppelin borrowed heavily from the blues.

No, but it does matter that they borrowed specific songs (or significant elements of songs) and erased the original writers' names from the credits, while adding their own. They lost or settled multiple lawsuits over this, Lutoslawski. They were wrong.
posted by mediareport at 10:22 AM on December 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Good artists borrow, great artists steal."
Pablo
posted by incandissonance at 10:30 AM on December 3, 2012


Btw, the most recent case - Jake Holmes, the original author of 'Dazed and Confused," which Page covered and once again credited to himself - was probably settled this past January when the case was dismissed.

When the Yardbirds broke up in 1968, Page brought the song to his new band, releasing it on Led Zeppelin's self- titled first album. But although Holmes's contribution to the tune is often commented upon – and even dominates Dazed and Confused's Wikipedia page – Page is credited as the track's sole songwriter. In 1990, Musician magazine quizzed Page on the subject, asking if Holmes was the original composer. "I don't know about all that," Page replied. "I'd rather not get into it because I don't know all the circumstances. What's he got – the riff or whatever? ... I haven't heard Jake Holmes so I don't know what it's all about anyway. Usually my riffs are pretty damn original."

Here's the original. Come on, there is no fucking way Page deserved any songwriting credit on that one, but he claimed it anyway. For decades.
posted by mediareport at 10:32 AM on December 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Second, has any (frequently laid) man on earth ever suffered as much at the hands of evil women as Robert Plant?

He's had it rough! Opens his front door, his back door slams. Must be a right drafty house.

He's brought to light though what I call the Robert Plant conundrum, which presents itself thusly: We know from Dazed & Confused that "The soul of a woman was created below," which is bad, right? However, we learn conversely in Black Dog that a "Big leg woman ain't got no soul." Even worse? Should one prefer a small-leg woman with a soul, even if it's created below? Truly an ineffable stumper for the ages.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:36 AM on December 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Here's what's wrong with Led Zepplin: Everything

Why am I arguing with a robot?
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:00 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


One and only one riff per song, over and over.

That's objectively false. I'm very hard-pressed to name even a single Zeppelin song that doesn't at least have a B section.

There are two questions that are being conflated here.

The first question is, "Did Zeppelin rip off a lot of other musicians?" and the answer is "Definitely yes" and this is shameful since this involves taking a lot of money from poor people.

The second question is, "What is the quality of Zeppelin's music?", and the answer is, "Of the highest." Just the raw musicianship of the band would have to stand out even if you didn't like the material - but the material is extremely powerful, not just the anthemic themes but compelling and original song structures, orchestrations that manage to be rich and sparse at the same time and use of exotic sounds and processing to devastating effect.

As for the "endless live solos" - well, here's an 11 minute long version of "A Whole Lotta Love" from 1972's "How The West Was Won", where they launch into it as if they still have something to prove, then segue into a theremin/guitar duet, but then somehow into a little tour of some at-the-time totally obscure blues songs, and then just when you've forgotten where you were, jump back to the iconic guitar solo right before the end, and then out like the devil was chasing them. It's a tour-de-force, and I'd be proud to have ever been a member of a band that could pull that off.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:10 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Or if my example above doesn't convince you of Zeppelin's musicianship, why not listen to "The Crunge" from the very album under discussion and tell me what time signature it is in?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:13 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love Led Zeppelin, and have a great appreciation for funky time signatures, but presence of the latter is not proof that they are great musicians.

(I still think they are/were all excellent musicians.)
posted by tonycpsu at 11:20 AM on December 3, 2012


I was way too overexposed to repetitions of Led Zeppelin's most well known songs (along with those of Deep Purple and Hendrix and all the rest of the big names from that era) for far too long thanks to FM radio and various acquaintances' record collections. Eventually I walked away from it all for several years and concentrated on punk/post punk/noise/freejazz and whatever else as a sort of aural palate cleanser.

Worked really well for me. Over the last few years I've begun to rediscover much of that music and have come to appreciate it for its own sake, excessive and silly as much of it may seem today. There's lots of great album tracks that never got all that much airplay.

I always thought Page was a pretty creative guitarist, and certainly no Clapton wannabe, though Jeff Beck is probably my favorite of the old Yardbirds dudes, overall.

Great post, thanks.
posted by metagnathous at 11:34 AM on December 3, 2012


Zep can kick obscene amounts of ass and still have a massive and literal debt to pay to the blues musicians whose tunes they stole.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:40 AM on December 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


What Navelgazer said. You people and your binary decisions.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 11:46 AM on December 3, 2012


compelling and original song structures

I spent from about 1989 to about 2002 playing in a cover band that did a LOT of Zeppelin. There were very few bands that I actually gained respect for after tearing apart their arrangements to learn the songs. The detail work they did to mix things up and keep it interesting it's really pretty remarkable. Things a lazy band simply would not have done. There's things you just don't notice at all until you sit down & try to learn them note for note. They may have lost their way stylistically in a foggy haze of drugs and sycophantic fan admiration, but it wasn't that they didn't care about producing interesting music.

Physical Graffiti pretty much makes up for the weaknesses on IV & Houses. Ten Years Gone by itself is a pretty monumental piece of work, really. It's a wildly uneven album too, but somehow it all works.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:47 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]




One and only one riff per song, over and over.

Yeah, MetaFilter just hates it when bands do that.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:27 PM on December 3, 2012


When it comes down to making out, whenever possible, put on side one of Led Zeppelin IV.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:44 PM on December 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


The MGs and the Memphis Horns were racially integrated, with both black and white members.

The Funk Brothers were, too.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:46 PM on December 3, 2012


One and only one riff per song, over and over.

Thank you for trolling. Hell, the opening minute of Song Remains the Same has at least 5 riffs.
posted by Ber at 1:07 PM on December 3, 2012


was probably settled this past January when the case was dismissed.

I should clarify it was dismissed at the request of both parties, which is why it's 99.9% certain there was a settlement (which included a 'you can't talk about this' clause).
posted by mediareport at 1:12 PM on December 3, 2012


One and only one riff per song, over and over.

Hey, I love Monkey Man!

PS Check out what I found looking for it. The entire film!
posted by msalt at 2:24 PM on December 3, 2012


Artw: My citation for Brits doing more for the Blues amongst White Anericans than White Americans did is "The Rolling Stones".

As for Clapton getting artist paid, my Google-fu is failing me, feel free to look for yourself.
So... a meaningless-without-context reference pretending to be self-explanatory, and an admission you can't back up your claims?

Well, that convinces me!
posted by IAmBroom at 3:37 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've played pinball with Jimmy Page. Then someone in the bar cued up all the Led Zeppelin on the jukebox. Jimmy smiled and rolled his eyes...
posted by AJaffe at 3:56 PM on December 3, 2012


I've played pinball with Jimmy Page.

Had such a supple wrist?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:00 PM on December 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nah. Pretty clueless about what to do, actually. But a very nice guy.
posted by AJaffe at 4:32 PM on December 3, 2012


That's rather a broad swathe of music there you're condemning with some pretty wide reaching influences - id go as far as to say that if your music collection contains anything with a guitar in it from the early 60s on you should probably get rid of it just to be safe.

Yeah, I don't listen to that stuff, really. There's plenty of great music around, man, and I got my fill of Zep & Cream & the Yardbirds & all that back when I couldn't walk down the dorm hallway without hearing it.

Zep's music, to me, is like Bob Marley Legend--why would I ever listen to it on purpose when I practically know it by heart thanks to everyone in the world playing it all the time?

NP: The Meters - Look-Ka Py Py
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:51 PM on December 3, 2012


The second question is, "What is the quality of Zeppelin's music?", and the answer is, "Of the highest." Just the raw musicianship of the band would have to stand out even if you didn't like the material

Yeah, that's why I'm a huge Steve Vai and Eric Johnson fan. Oh, and Elliott Carter. And all those Asian violinists who try super hard to cross over by rocking electric violins and mini-skirts. I have a huge poster of Neil Peart over my bed.

Wait, no. I have zero interest in virtuosity, it turns out.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:54 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


See, that's strange to me. I get feeling like Zeppelin is silly (Plant's lyrics are probably the weakest link in the chain there) or over-exposed, but for all of the virtuosity, I cannot imagine finding them to be bloodless.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:07 PM on December 3, 2012




Brock Samson has a lot of thoughts about Zep. "Jock Rock my ass, listen to those lyrics maaan!"
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 7:19 PM on December 3, 2012


So far no one has made a case in this thread nearly as good as the the best* commenter in the youtube concert video linked in the other thread.

Led Zeppelin sucks and there for old people with no swag you haters are missing out on real music like Lil Wayne,Nicki Minaj and Flo Rida u haters need to move on stop being stuck in the swagless 70s and 80s Led Zepplin never even said "Swag" or "YOLO" in any of there songs. - SuperSwaggGangsta

I mean, I'm convinced.

*yes, best
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 7:41 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure that ethics comes into my enjoyment of Led Zeppelin since I'm not the one who stole songs from others. There's no doubt in my mind that whether they stole or not, the songs they appropriated were changed enough that they were no longer the originators songs, they were Led Zep songs played by Page Plant Bonham Jones who were/are incomparable musicians.

Did they become laughable in their excesses? Sure, but I don't care about that either since I wasn't there and could really care less about what they did on their on/off time since the closest I ever get to them is in the lp's, cd's, mp3's.

Are they overplayed on every rock FM radio station? Absolutely, but I can change the station and listen to them on my terms. I probably did more damage by overplaying them myself rather than being forced to listen to them on the radio.

Are they a one-riff band? I got nuthin'...of course they aren't but even if they were, there are few bands out there that can compare. And really, so what? The library of riffs they've created are amazing.

I've said it more than once: a million people can be wrong, ie the love for Britney Spears; but generally speaking, when millions of people feel that Picasso The Beatles Mozart Rodin Johnny Cash Monet Shakespeare etc is amazing and groundbreaking, it's most likely true. Anybody is free to not like something for whatever reason, but to deny the brilliance of something simply because you don't like it is blindness.
posted by ashbury at 8:14 PM on December 3, 2012


Ah, I see: when you're one of the millions, the millions are right, but when you're not ("ie the love for Britney Spears"), the millions are wrong. I shall make a mental note of it.

Nothing wrong with liking what you like, but I, for one, will see your Led Zep and raise you a Stooges and a Family Stone.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:39 PM on December 3, 2012


But I'm not blind - I can see why millions are followers of Britney. Her music isn't bad, it's just not on the level of the aforementioned greats. Britney and her ilk belong in the Cult of Personality department rather than the Musical Icon department, which isn't to say that a person or group can't be in both, or that somebody can't start in Cult of Personality and end up in Musical Icon, straddling both, ie The Beatles.
posted by ashbury at 9:14 PM on December 3, 2012


But I'm not blind - I can see why millions are followers of Britney Led Zeppelin. Their music isn't bad, it's just not on the level of the aforementioned greats. Britney Led Zeppelin and its ilk belong in the Cult of Personality department rather than the Musical Icon department, which isn't to say that a person or group can't be in both, or that somebody can't start in Cult of Personality and end up in Musical Icon, straddling both, ie The Beatles.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 2:07 AM on December 4, 2012


I listened to Houses of the Holy for the first time just a week or two ago. I have just the mp3s, borrowed - no album cover - and I listened to the album on headphones. It was a lot of fun. It sounded great. I was lying on a messy, comfortable bed, just staring at the ceiling, just listening to the music without any album cover or worries about who wrote what or indeed the history of anything. Just the album and me. When I got up after the forty minutes was up, I felt light-hearted. Thanks whoever. Thanks everyone who made this music possible and brought it to me.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 4:51 AM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks whoever. Thanks everyone who made this music possible and brought it to me.

Well, lessee, that would be... generations of black slaves from Africa and their descendants in the new world who gradually formulated the genre generally referred to as "the blues". Then there'd be Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Bonham and John Paul Jones, who were much influenced by those blues (as well as other strains of music such as English folk and whatnot), who performed the music you listened to on that messy, comfortable bed. Then there'd be the sound engineers who recorded the music, and the people who designed and made the recording equipment and microphones. Also the folks who built the studio the music was recorded in, and the guy who brought tea and biscuits to the band on breaks. Then there'd be the record company, who produced the original package (in vinyl disc form). Then the people who later remastered it to CD and the folks who ripped the CD to mp3 and got it onto the web or wherever you "borrowed" it from. Also the company that made the headphones you were using.

That's almost everyone, I guess.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:21 AM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, hey, any of y'all stateside happen to catch Zep on Letterman?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:09 AM on December 4, 2012


as well as other strains of music such as English folk and whatnot

This is an oft-overlooked angle to Zep's oeuvre. There's bits of European folk throughout their stuff, especially on the acoustic bits. Anyone accusing Page of mediocrity would do well to suffer through a headphones listening to Bron-Yr-Aur. JPJ's no slouch at the Mandolin, either (See current Chris Thile thread). When I saw the Page/plant tour in the late 80's, they had a small Gypsy orchestra doing some really amazing things -- the re-arrangement of Kashmir that they played on that tour was just astonishing.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:58 AM on December 4, 2012


Well, that worked for about one folk heavy album before it led them into being terrible, which may be why people tend to downplay it. It's a short step from mandolins to singing about Hobbits, and whatever the limits of "devil woman done gone stole my soul" as a theme it's better than that.
posted by Artw at 7:20 AM on December 4, 2012


other strains of music such as English folk and whatnot

This is an oft-overlooked angle to Zep's oeuvre.


Are you kidding? People are always prattling on about what geniuses LZ were in mixing acoustic and folk elements with hard rock. It's seldom more than a few sentences into any discussion of the band. S'funny, you'd think all the other acts that did that before during and after would get some cred-- ah. Right. Never mind.
 
posted by Herodios at 7:22 AM on December 4, 2012


Are you kidding?

Okay, occasionally overlooked. The whole thread anyway up until now has been about them being one-riff purveyors of stolen American Blues, and thudding hard rock pretenders, which seems to be the pervasive anti-Zep argument. Can you guys at least pick one?
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:44 AM on December 4, 2012


Or maybe there's so many anti-Zep arguments that the whole plethora of reasons they're bad can hardly be expressed.

I think this thread is a good example of why I avoid music criticism in general - journalists' opinions about what I like or shouldn't like don't hold much truck with me, but can occasionally get under my skin in ways that I can't forget, and I've had my enjoyment of music that had previously brought me unfettered pleasure hampered by my persistent memory of some random critique, deserved or not. I think I'd rather remain blissfully ignorant of the shortcomings of the art itself in that case.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:52 AM on December 4, 2012


The whole thread anyway up until now has been about them being one-riff purveyors of stolen American Blues, and thudding hard rock pretenders, which seems to be the pervasive anti-Zep argument.

The whole thread?

To all the haters I say: piss up a rope. . . Wow, didn't realise that it was possible to dislike Led Zep. . . Those who hate on that first amazing Led Zep album, and want to lecture us on the merits of your favorite music, can blow it out your asses with a wimpy synth . . . This slightly less bitter old punk loves Led Zeppelin I, II, III, and IV. . . Everyone has their faves. . . . I have an urge to cover a textbook with grocery bag paper and painstakingly draw Led Zeppelin logos all over it... but not being in school any more I'll have to settle for queueing up the entire Zeppelin catalog in iTunes. So good. . . Failure? I don't think so. The music still plays in my head. . . I loved Zeppelin as a budding music nut and Houses of the Holy and III were my two faves; listening to them was formative in a way few other classic rock records were. They introduced me to strange song structures and transmogrified folk and blues, drew me in and got me wanting moremoremore. Thanks for the post, Bunny Ultramod. . . . It's still in my top 50 albums of all time. . . . I love Led Zeppelin. In my opinion, no one has ever equaled them in their ability to be simultaneously incredibly brainy and incredibly brainless. . . . Just dropped in to say that Zeppelin fucking rules. . . this old punk loved Led Zep and still does. Page's guitar playing came right from the groin, and if you can't feel it you probably need about a pound of Viagra. . . sides one and two of Physical Graffiti remain the pinnacle. . . . Zep formed the soundtrack of my young adult life. I lost my virginity while Led Zep blared on the boombox. . . the best band to happen to me at the best time for them to happen to me. . . . Led Zep flat out rocked. . . . It doesn't matter that Zeppelin borrowed. . . fucking rocking. . . incredible to listen to. . . . I love Zeppelin. . . . . . ."What is the quality of Zeppelin's music?", and the answer is, "Of the highest." Just the raw musicianship of the band would have to stand out . . . the material is extremely powerfu l. . . anthemic themes . . . compelling and original song structures . . . orchestrations that manage to be rich and sparse at the same time . . . use of exotic sounds and processing to devastating effect. . . . As for the "endless live solos" - well, here's an 11 minute long version of "A Whole Lotta Love" . . . a tour-de-force, and I'd be proud to have ever been a member of a band that could pull that off. . . . I love Led Zeppelin, and have a great appreciation for funky time signatures . . . I still think they are/were all excellent musicians. . . . I always thought Page was a pretty creative guitarist. . . Zep can kick obscene amounts of ass . . . There's no doubt in my mind that whether they stole or not, the songs they appropriated were changed enough that they were no longer the originators songs, they were Led Zep songs played by Page Plant Bonham Jones who were/are incomparable musicians. . . . I listened to Houses of the Holy for the first time just a week or two ago. . . . When I got up after the forty minutes was up, I felt light-hearted. Thanks whoever. Thanks everyone who made this music possible and brought it to me.
posted by Herodios at 9:34 AM on December 4, 2012


I actually like "The Crunge"

There, I've said it. Back with my teenage Zep-fan pals this was considered more shameful than admitting you were a virgin.
posted by Decani at 10:11 AM on December 4, 2012


The whole thread?

I meant the arguments put forth by the detractors , so far. I'm not really interested in playing high school semantics with you, though.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:12 AM on December 4, 2012


Can I just say that Bob Dylan sucks?
posted by Decani at 10:18 AM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sure you can say it, and still be as wrong as ever. :-)
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:36 AM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


A few months ago my wife and I were in a bar, having a chat and a couple of drinks, and "When The Levee Breaks" came on. I literally stopped talking mid-sentence and went into what my wife described as some kind of trance.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:19 PM on December 4, 2012


Well, at the end of the day, I still gotta say I won't be happy until everyone who knows who Led Zeppelin is also knows who Willie Dixon is.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:33 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm down with the Zep. It's a sound that you like, or don't.

It's funny how when a given topic comes up on metafilter there can seem to be just a random wheel-spin as to which overall tone or stance towards the subject is going to come up and typify the thread.

If you want a random wheel-spin, then you need Led Zeppelin III.
posted by ovvl at 4:16 PM on December 4, 2012


I won't be happy until everyone who knows who Led Zeppelin is also knows who Willie Dixon is.

I learned about Willie Dixon through listening to Led Zeppelin, then Cream, then the Yardbirds, etc etc etc.
posted by mediareport at 6:41 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait until you hear Howling Wolf... kidding!
posted by msalt at 7:53 PM on December 5, 2012


Wow, all my 12 year old self wanted to do was listen to "Heartbreaker" right after "Whole Lotta Love." Who'da thunk that would stir up shit this far in the future?
posted by whuppy at 6:37 AM on December 6, 2012


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