Why Led Zeppelin Kicks The Everloving Shit Out Of Every Other Rock Band, Ever
For those of you who are mentally retarded or have been living in a coma on the surface of the sun for the last forty years, Led Zeppelin is an utterly kick ass rock band that dominated the 1970’s, and rocked so fucking hard that groupies are still walking funny to this very day. Seriously, rock and roll scientists at the Institute For Killer Riffs And Blown Minds estimate that if every Zeppelin fan on Earth were to play Communication Breakdown at top volume simultaneously, the resulting blast would tear a hole in the fabric of spacetime, ending the universe as we know it. And that would still be less intense than seeing them play live.
Needless to say, all other bands are mere pretenders to the title of Rock Gods. But rather than continue to sing the praises of Led Zeppelin (instead preferring to save this for my upcoming book, “Fuck You, Led Zeppelin Rules”), let us compare Led Zeppelin to some lesser bands. Please note that I do not dislike any of the following bands, it’s just that it’s like comparing a serviceable Honda Accord to a Lamborghini with a trunk full of double necked guitars, drugs, and loose chicks.
The Beatles – The Beatles are the most commonly named “best group of all time” other than Led Zeppelin.
Notable Accomplishments: Making millions of teenage girls do that shrieking thing they do when they see a friend they haven’t seen in a long time; Ordered Charles Manson to kill a bunch of people; Somehow got people to love a song that ends with 28 minutes of “naaa-naaa-na-nanana-naaaa-nanana-naaaa”.
Why They’re Good: The almost single-handedly created the rock band as we know it today. Before the Beatles, everyone had Pat Boone posters on their walls and huffed freshly mimeographed test papers for a buzz. After the Beatles, everyone grew their hair down to their knees and dropped acid in doses so large that people not only forgave all the filler in the White Album, but thought it was pretty good.
Why They’re Not As Good As Zeppelin: Paul McCartney, talented as he was, kinda had a vagina when it came to writing rock songs. It was almost as if you took a good rock band and then threw in Jewel just to see what would happen. “Yesterday, love was such an easy game to play.” Yeah, I guess so, Miss. Now if you don’t mind, the fucking playoffs are on.
John Lennon was cool until he started running around nude and shrieking with Orientals. George Harrison was an incredible guitarist who learned how to write great rock songs, and so the Beatles limited him to 2 or 3 per album so we could listen to Golden Slumbers. Thanks, guys. And studies have shown that the Beatles would have been no different if they had replaced Ringo Starr with a ham sandwich.
The Who – The Who are a classic rock band best known for their mega-selling album, Tommy.
Notable Accomplishments: Married the thrill of rock and roll with the yawn inducing boredom of opera; Managed to continue touring after every founding member had died of an overdose; Wrote a classic song for television crime drama CSI: Miami consisting entirely of the following lyrics, “YEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!”
Why They’re Good: Who’s Next is a stellar rock album, and a perfect example of what bands should aim for when in the studio. Track after track of blistering rock played loud and well. Also, Keith Moon played drums like a six-armed alien from planet Fuckyeah.
Why They’re Not As Good As Led Zeppelin: Pete Townshend. You can ignore his idiotic public interviews and statements (although if you do, don’t ignore the one where he claims to be a woman), and although I don’t understand why people would do this, I guess you can also ignore the fact that he was caught purchasing child pornography. Seriously. He claimed he was “doing research”. Uh-huh. Try this line the next time you get caught playing with yourself and see how believable that is.
But what you can’t ignore is the fact that Pete Towshend was batshit insanely in love with the dreaded “concept album” (cue scary music). After Tommy, he attempted a reprise with Lifehouse, which was so fucked up and incomprehensible that he finally admitted that even he didn’t know what it was about. They stripped away the bullshit, and Who’s Next was the result. Yet he somehow never quite figured out that the retarded concepts he kept coming up with got in the way with what little good music he had left in him. Hey, Pete, here’s a concept for you: A bunch of good, loud, rocking songs that are held together by the fact that no one has to listen to you screech some bullshit narrative about a crippled kid while enjoying them. That, by the way, is called a rock album.
Pink Floyd – Pink Floyd are known for popularizing a genre known as space rock.
Notable Accomplishments: Making 14 year old suburban kids think life is so horribly painful; Having a founding member so profoundly fucked up on drugs that a 10 mile area around his cemetery plot is designated a toxic danger zone; Writing a song consisting entirely of an awesome explosion, which my college roommate and I played at top volume at 3:00 AM, convincing everyone else in the building that the apocalypse was at hand.
Why They’re Good: One of the few rock bands able to pull off 13 minute songs while never losing sight of the melody or veering off into oddball musical tangents. Also, holy shit, have you ever listened to Dark Side of the Moon while on mushrooms and nitrous oxide?
Why They’re Not As Good As Led Zeppelin: Something about ascending the ladder of rock stardom forces some people to impose some sort of deeper meaning on their work. If the Who dabbled in concept albums, then Pink Floyd guzzled the concept album Kool-Aid by the barrel full. Listen to any random song on The Wall or The Final Cut. Now listen to a random five minute snippet of the Military Channel. Now tell me the difference between the two. Yeah, Roger, we get it. War sucks and can fuck your head up.
Also, the whole lawsuit thing in the 80’s and 90’s got pretty old. And it’s hard to fit, “David Gilmour presents Pink Floyd Without Roger Waters, Featuring the Music of Pink Floyd, But Not Anything Roger Wrote” on a marquee.
The Grateful Dead – The Dead were a legendary West Coast jam band popular in four different decades.
Notable Accomplishments: Somehow making following a band on tour carry more of a stigma than it had previously; Marrying country, folk, rock, acid, and a total lack of basic hygiene and turning it into a sound all their own; Introducing bad acid trips to kids in rural Iowa.
Why They’re Good: At their best, the Grateful Dead reintroduced classic Americana songs to a new generation, while updating them with rock flourishes and extended jams. That was cool. Plus, they made it possible to get drugs in bulk quantities every summer if you were lucky enough to have them play shows nearby.
Why They’re Not As Good As Led Zeppelin: Comparing the Grateful Dead to Led Zeppelin is like comparing Oreos to Bazookas. They’re too different to compare and contrast in any meaningful way. So, being creatures of modern day society, let’s resort to violence. Anyone who honestly thinks that John Bonham couldn’t have killed, raped, and/or skullfucked every member, spouse, or roadie associated with the Dead while in the middle of a 78 hour drinking contest involving heroin and Everclear, please raise your hand. Anyone? Anyone?
Also, it’s hard to claim the status of Rock God when your music could just as easily have been played on a rocking chair on the porch. Led Zeppelin, on the other hand, could only be properly appreciated while playing on a burning Viking ship festooned with the bodies of all the women they violated before lunch.
Bruce Springsteen – “The Boss” is known for his workmanlike concerts and songs that inspire middle class America.
Notable Accomplishments: Successfully associating an anti-American song (Born in the USA) with American patriotism; Providing employment for Clarence Clemons; Making my asshole boss in high school somehow come across as more douchey when he showed up at work on his way to a Bruce Springsteen concert dressed in pressed jeans, a white t-shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and a folded baseball cap in his back pocket. Yeah, Steve Coren, I’m talking about you!
Why He’s Good: He eschews flash and hype for a simpler method of songwriting and puts his all into every show. I mean, Bruce knows you just paid $400 for a good seat and you have to look at Clarence Clemons and Steven Van Zandt a lot of the time, so he’s gonna make it up to you by pulling some random chick out of the crowd and forcing her to dance to Dancing In The Dark while everyone compares her to Courtney Cox (wait till the end) and decides that looks-wise, she resembles Courtney Cox less than she does a buttplug in a dumpster. Thanks, Boss!
Why He’s Not As Good As Led Zeppelin: If Robert Plant gargled razor blades with a chaser of battery acid, he’d still sound better than Bruce Springsteen, who apparently prepares for studio sessions by swallowing small woodland creatures. Seriously dude, have you considered a lozenge?
Also, The Boss’ lyrics are all too often predictable. Anyone can write a classic Bruce Springsteen lyric. Simply describe what you did in the first couple of hours during the day, sandwich in a chorus that mentions old model automobiles, a slightly out of fashion woman’s name, and perhaps the fact that your house has been foreclosed on, then describe what you did the last couple of hours during the day. Repeat chorus, sax solo, guitar solo, sax solo, play live for three and a half hours. Remember, I get 10% of your earnings.
The Doors – An incendiary yet provocative late 60’s band that progressed from being an oddball arty band to a mean and muscular blues band.
Notable Accomplishments: Informed lead singer’s mother that he would enjoy having sexual intercourse with her; Lead singer exposed himself to a crowd in Miami, directly resulting in every lewd act to ever occur in Southern Florida; Wrote songs that allow carnival organ players to believe that they too have a shot someday (they don’t).
Why They’re Good: More than any other band, the Doors embodied paradox. A drunken, buffoonish loudmouth was considered a poet; a simple four piece band (without a bassist) could plunge a love song into a madhouse nightmare of profundity and despair; and Ray Manzarek could star in a rock band instead of playing Take Me Out To The Ball Game at minor league games. Plus they wrote songs about waking up and drinking beer.
Why They’re Not As Good As Led Zeppelin: Besides the fact that it’s hard to claim the number one spot in rock band history after you drunkenly wet your pants on stage (and yeah, Fergie, that goes for you too), when the rest of your band resembles a nerd, a serial killer, and someone who just stuck his junk in a wall socket, you’re at a huge disadvantage to start with. Throw in marathon slurred diatribes aimed at the very people who paid good money to see you after you spent said money on booze and narcotics, and it’s even tougher. Become the subject of an Oliver Stone movie, and you’re shit out of luck.
The Rest – I could go on, but I’m running low on beer, so I’ll cut to the chase:
The Rolling Stones – Do not qualify as a rock band since they technically predate music itself.
U2 – Contemporary band best known for having 1,000 songs that go “chinga-chinga-chinga-chinga-chinga-chinga-chinga-chinga”, and employing the Pope on vocals.
Metallica – Lords of Heavy Metal, they are responsible for fooling people into thinking sped up Bach-riffs are original. Also recorded St. Anger.
Rush – Canadian
Black Sabbath – The original Heavy Metal band, now associated with Alzheimer’s, reality TV, and octogenarians that throw devil’s horn salutes.
Styx, Journey, Foreigner, et al. – Get the fuck out of here.
The Black Crowes – Shampoo, guys. Also, invest in a calendar.
Everyone New – If you honestly believe Arcade Fire, The Black Keys, Coldplay or any of this ilk belong on the list, I’d like to cordially invite you over to my house so I can kick you in the vagina.
Um, why is Cream not on this list? They are serious contenders against Led Zeppelin, far more than the Grateful Dead.
Anyone that would think Coldplay belongs anywhere NEAR this list should definitely be kicked in the cooter.
Well, Jack Bruce seems to get defensive and butt-hurt about Led Zeppelin, so I dropped Cream from the list just to piss him off. Fuck you, Jack.
Honestly, I have no idea why I didn’t put Cream on the list. They’re an utterly kick ass band, and one that (for whatever reason) tends to get left off of these kind of lists with alarming regularity. I dunno why. I think there’s little doubt they belong in the all-time top 10, but even if they’re number 2, they’re still far, far behind Led Zeppelin. (Again, fuck you, Jack.)
Cream? A serious contender against Zeppelin? Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!
Bombastic- Inflated cockhead writes and laughs at itself! Who wrote about when LZ rose to fame that it spread like Islam in the desert? anywho, I am wondering what you think Keith Richards got?..vagina?
I agree with you on old deaf Pete Townsend. He knows what demons he got; but, apparently, he lost his head to them in a game of cards or a quiz contest.
I think if one gets theirs ears tuned to the likes of the old blues masters, muddy waters, son house, robert johnson, Sonny boy Williamson, even someone a tad jazzy like t-bone, or urban like the Kings, they will grow out of LZ. I was a big fan.
I agree with EVERY word on this article. No other band has, or ever will, come close to this one. They’re the best, hands-down, for now and for years to come. All bands will aspire to be like Led Zeppelin, but they will never quite hit the mark. They ARE what music is all about. Four separate pieces that came together at the right time in the right place and made magic.
Wendy, making a strong play for Commenter of the Month.
I always imagine myself going back in time with my laptop, wifi access from the future, showing young Led Zepp bandmates how rock music has evolved, hopefully impressed…I open youtube and see Coldplay…I close my laptop and say,”Um, nevermind” (feeling like our new bands are a bunch of wimps)
I have never been a Led Zeppelin fan but just listened to a few of their songs again.
With lyrics like “aw aw aw aw”, “oo oo yea yea oo oo yea yea” and “oh oh oh oh aw aw aw ooooooooo” what is there not to love.
What are you, like 90?
Now, now, kids. Play nice.
Also, how awesome is it that I know that Grumpy was listening to Black Dog?
Yea I sure am and here in the home a lot of us are huge zeppelin fans a day doesn’t pass without one of us “squeezing a lemon til the juice runs down our legs”. With zeppelins age they should be checking in to the home to join us any day now.
Rush… Canadian ? that’s all ya got ? ok…Led Zeppelin #1 , Rush #1a
Kind of an inside joke.
1. I’m a big Rush fan myself. I saw them on their Time Machine tour last summer with a great friend. 3 1/2 hours of kick ass rock and roll accentuated by 7 hours of blackout drinking. Good times. I think.
2. I’m also Canadian (dial citizenship, actually)
And Rush fans tend to get major league butt-hurt about not getting respect. So that was a crack at Rush fans more than Rush. I love me some Rush. They’re just not Led Zeppelin.
I see you left out Deep Purple? I understand why..Musically LIVE they blew Zeppelin off the stage. Blackmore and Paice technically were much better musicians than Page and Bonham and did not peak till way later to where by 1977, Zep was already washed up.
Whatever you’re on Jo Jo, cut the dose. You’re going against the conventional wisdom of millions of fans, and pretty much all the critics.
I love Deep Purple (Highway Star is one of a few songs ever that can only be played top volume in a car on a highway with the top down), but Blackmore isn’t in the same ballpark as Page in terms of musicianship. Page did it all, and at the highest levels of rock: Session work, composer, player, producer…
But if you want to like one or more of the 973 different Deep Purple lineups, have at it. You’ll get no argument from me.
Deep purple did not blow LZ off the stage,i seen both,including DP classic lineup,Zepp thrashed them,end of story,and they were louder,so fuck you ya jerk.
We wholeheartedly concur with this article!
BTW, well written, and damn funny stuff!
Hey, it’s Led Zepagain! I know you guys! Unfortunately, I’m rarely in LA, so I haven’t gotten to see you yet. But if you ever play Phoenix, drop me a line and I will be there.
Definitely, we’re hoping to be back around there again later this year. Check our schedule on zepagain dot com, and I’ll try to drop you a line when it comes up, too.
And you missed Queen in this, too! 🙂
Steve Z (Guitarist)
HOLY CRAP LEDZEPAGAIN!!! 😀
You guys play in LA? Do you ever come to around Portland Oregon? I’ve always wanted to see a Led Zep cover band, and I’ve seen some of your tapes and your quite amazing. <3 🙂 PLEASE PLEASE if you haven't already come to Portland!! Love you guys! 😀
this is the greatest webpage ever
Ok! That’s, it! Everyone! Stop using the internet. It has peaked. Ledheadforlife said so.
funny writing man… was wetting my pants by the time i got to the who- Cream need to hike there skirts up – Clapton even said so- Hendrix stifled all their album sales as well as performances hands down – you can’t fuck with Band of Gypsies
– but there will never be Led Zeppelin – and just because you have your father’s name doesn’t mean you can play drums like him….ever!
Yeah, but I think everyone feels more comfortable with a Bonham behind the kit. To put, say, Carmen Appice back there would’ve been too fucking weird.
Led Zeppelin. Meh. Some of their music is listenable, but they took themselves so damn seriously. And Robert Plant’s kielbasa in those tight hip-hugger jeans — yikes!
Cream just wasn’t around that long. The Dead were my personal favorites, but it’s hard to compare a jam band with these other bands. I wonder how good they could have been on half as much acid.
I recently found Phish’s Vimeo site – there’s a ton of old & new high quality video there. Try the version of “Stash” from 2011 before you judge.
You are entitled to your opinion. of course. But you are R-O-N-G.
Steve, as the song says ” the drugs don’t work” and they haven’t worked for you my friend.
I’ve been waiting all day for the kids to go away so I can come comment on this post!
I don’t have strong opinions on too many things (out of rebellion against everyone who does), but with Music. Yes. Opinions. Which I mostly keep to myself.
But, Greg, I think you can handle my opinions.
FIRST OF ALL, I will concede that Led Zeppelin is of the the top 5 greatest rock bands of all time. You can’t even put those other “bands” into the same category. Journey=Sade as far as I’m concerned.
But what are we? A bunch of old farts? There has been some amazing rock to come out in the last 30 years. None of them have Led Zeppelin’s sound, Thank God. Do we even want that??
Van Halen? Never owned one of their albums because I’m not that into cheese, but man, they rock! And Metallica did some incredible stuff for a long time. And HELLO!! Soundgarden! TOOL!!!!!!!!
And even of you hate the sound, Rage Against the Machine. All new, all great. All COMPLETELY different. U2 deserves the label “rock” as much as Sting does. So…not at all. And Coldplay?? journey for the 2000’s!
FIRST OF ALL, Led Zeppelin IS the top five rock bands of all time. That is science fact. Albert Einstein proved that 50 years before Led Zeppelin was formed. Cool, huh? OR DID I JUST BLOW YOUR MIND?
And I never said there wasn’t other good music (yes, some of it somewhat recent). Just that it’s nowhere near as good as Zeppelin.
And, as Smashing Pumpkin’s front man Billy Corgan said, “Led Zeppelin’s influence is so severe that most everything that you hear in rock today is descended from Led Zeppelin” So, yeah, there are new styles, but even those derive from Zeppelin.
For instance… THIS
Imma be honest… I really think Tool screwed up that cover.
Performing No Quarter without the piano (solo) is a lot like performing Moby Dick without the drums or the White Summer/Black Mountain Side guitar solo song without… you know… the guitar.
The whole *point* of No Quarter was the piano. Hell… No Quarter as a song wouldn’t even *exist* if not for the piano. Page had Dazed and Confused and Bonham had Moby Dick. No Quarter was meant to be Jones’s showcase. The lyrics, in fact, were a last-minute thing. Jones asked Plant to write some lyrics for the song last-minute, and that’s how we got No Quarter. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t even the original title. It was literally written as a piano solo, with the guitar, drums, and lyrics added on as an after-thought.
I feel like Tool kinda missed the point in their cover. You don’t cover a piano showcase and forget the whole “piano showcase” part of it…
I mean… imagine the Jake Holme’s acoustic showcase “Dazed and Confused” without the acoustic guitar…
I HATE SOUNDGARDEN MORE THAN LIFE ITSELF.
But I agree with you on Tool and Van Halen (even though I cringe saying that)
And this makes me love you so much harder, which is already pretty hard, that you like Tool, Heather Violet!
dude , Sade is so much funkier than Journey…
Ok. I see. I was distracted by your list which included John melloncamp I mean Bruce Springsteen. About to click “this”.
BRO!! YOU ROCK!! You had me rolling with replacing Ringo Starr with a ham sandwich! Obviously you HAVE listened to some Ringo!! John Bonham has been a HUGE influance on me my entire life… OK – there was a brief period where I was more into Capt’n Kangaroo, Leave It To Beaver and the Groovie Ghoulies and from then on I was hooked on Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath!! I have a website totally dedicated to Bonham: Bonzo Bros. Drums.com. Stop by sometime. I’m going to add a link to you on there as soon as I finish this! Rock on, brother!
What? No HR Pufnstuf? We cannot be friends.
Ok, just kidding, I’ll drop by and check it out when I sober up.
Hell, yeah!! H.R. Pufnstuff, Witcheypoo, Jimmy, the Golden Flute, Merlin the Magician, Horatio J. HooDoo in his hella-cool Hatamaran hoovering around Lidsville terrorizing and zapping the hats… But I drew the line at Sigmund the Sea Monster! That was just closet bound gayness to the max!! LOL Hell – I still watch those shows right after singing along with the Ghoulies… Everybody shout! Come on now, sing out! It’s time for the Ghoulies get-together. You’re gonna see, how funny they can be…’Cause it’s time for the Ghoulies get-together! haha…
I just want to remind everyone: When Led Zeppelin’s playing – YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP!!
Geez, Greg, this was an excellent and well-thought-out post. I prefer Cream to Zeppelin, but no matter. I don’t have anything snarky to say. Oh wait, the only good thing I can think of about Springsteen is..nice ass.
I cannot claim to have ever looked at the Boss’ ass, other than it being on the cover of Born in the USA. Oh, and the time he showed up at my house on X-mas, buck naked and drunk as shit.
I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Although I was just a tot when Zep began, I was introduced to them by my first boyfriend (also a tot when they began, but he is now a musician). I consider myself their #1 fan. I agree with everything you said! A lot had me rolling on the floor! My daughter considers herself an audiophile, as do I, but although she thinks Zep rocks, she doesn’t think they are #1. Sooooooo – just have to send her this link and prove my point!
Well, sending your daughter a link to this site isn’t going to win you any Mother of the Year awards, but it is obviously the right thing to do in this case.
Haha sorry I still love the Doors. One of my top three favorite bands, in a sentimental way. Jim Morrison and I were very close when I was 12.
And I like the Boss too, but I’m not gonna bother sticking up for him because whatever. I used to like U2 until I realize I fucking hate BONO.
Which member of the Doors is the serial killer? (leave it to me to catch that) John Densmore?
Led Zeppelin’s alright I guess. They’re the ones who sang Sweet Home Alabama, right?
When I was a kid I LOVED Metallica. But that was before this asshole generation got a hold of them. Dude. If you’re a rock band STAY ON DRUGS. It’s YOUR JOB. I don’t care about you as a person. Fucking make music. Unless you’re the Chili Peppers guy. He’s still okay sober. But Metallica was better when it was angry and Garage Days. Hell I even liked Queensryche. That dude can sing. And I remember fighting with my high school boyfriend who worshipped Judas Priest but was a raging homophobe. Rob Halford is so gay, I said. Awesome, but gay. And that’s cool too. I just think you should face reality and stop being a dick. I actually think my boyfriend might have been gay. Who the hell knows. I was WASTED in my 1.5 years of high school.
Kids don’t listen to Pink Floyd on drugs. You might not come back.
Also fuck Rush fuck Foreigner and Fuck the Fucking Black Fucking Crowes.
Next will you please do a post on lame-ass hairbands?
Yep, John Densmore is the one that looks/acts like a moody serial killer. He’s just too fucking intense, you know? (Did you know his brother committed suicide by stabbing himself in the heart with a large kitchen knife? Fuck, you really have to want to check out to do it that way.) But yeah, I can’t decide if the Doors are in my top 3 or top 5, but they’re way, way, up there. I LOVE the Doors.
But you’ve missed the boat on both Rush and the Black Crowes.
A post on hair bands ought to be fun because a) There is SO MUCH MATERIAL; b) Getting irate comments from people who honestly like White Lion seems like a hoot; c) I would tear Poison to fucking pieces.
All i can say is Thank you for saying every single thing i
have wanted to say for so fuckin long!!! you rock!!!
Thanks! Next time don’t wait so long! I’ve got kids, so my ego could always use a boost.
Is the greatest blog ever written. We have reached the singularity point. Blogging is done, as it can never get better.
Seriously, though, agreed 100%. Sadly, I wasn’t born until 1987 (May 22, to be exact), but I’ve been listening to the Hammer of the Gods for a very long time, now. I even collect them! Like… unofficial live show n’ shit!
Led Zeppelin are the greatest thing to happen to music… ever. They topped EVERYONE who came be for, and I have doubts that they will ever BE topped by anyone… ever.
Long live Led Zeppelin, Gods of Rock N’ Roll.
Now where’s my 4/27/1969 bootleg? I need to listen to it.
For the 300,000th time…
Oh yeah, I used to get into Zeppelin bootlegs (back before the internet when it was a shitload harder to do so). Then I ran across an old friend.
He’d just become born-again, and spent about 30 minutes telling me in graphic detail about how I was going to burn in hell, that there were NO inconsistencies in the bible (NONE!), and the importance of being good. Then he stole all of my bootlegs. Fucker.
Grrr… I hate born-agains. Though I won’t deny that I kind of enjoy forcing the male born-agains to watch lesbian porn. The reaction between disgust and lust is fascinating to watch. [/sarcasm]… (or was it?)
You should TOTALLY get more bootlegs. Torrenting wins, IMO. I get all my FLAC bootlegs via torrenting. Can’t get enough… half-way through a 2TB hard drive already, and it’s mostly unofficial Zep, Floyd, and stuff like that… none of it in MP3, though…
Ok fine. I’ve had a little bit of a musical identity crisis this weekend as I suddenly found myself comparing Led Zeppelin to my favorite modern bands. Namely, Tool. I guess I’d never done that before. I still can’t say that they are my favorite band, but I HAVE to admit that yes, they ARE the top 5. Nobody else has written another “What Is and What Should Never Be”.
I like Tool. I remember listening to them and thinking to myself that they were like a heavy metal version of Yes. Then I heard Maynard in an interview say that Tool is heavy metal Yes, and I thought, “Aha! Great minds think alike!”
Anyway, part of the point of this post (besides making tasteless dick jokes) was to illustrate how ridiculous it is to rank bands. If, say, the Doors are ranked at number 3, does that make their music any better or worse? Of course not. It just serves to spawn hate mail from people who demand to know why they weren’t ranked higher, which I find hilarious.
I guess ranking could incur how high rotation their records are playing. I would listen to Tool albums a lot more than I listen to Led Zeppelin
I find myself intentionally staying away from Led Zeppelin unless I’m really in the mood to listen to something specific. I do not want to burn out on it.
The exception is playing songs that I can play along with on the guitar, and even that’s not like listening, it’s more like a backing track. Kinda hard to explain.
I’m still tryin’ to get over the Deep Purple live, blew LZ off the stage comment…still laughing my ass off!!!
Yeah, well there’s a lot to be said for smoking great pot, but that comment ain’t one of them
Actually, whoever said that was kind of onto something. While I don’t think any other band can compare to Zep live or in the studio, Deep Purple in their prime came closer than any other band before or since. Gillan, Paice, Lord, and Blackmore were all grade A, top-shelf. IMO The Rolling Stones are the second greatest band of all time, but they kind of cheated by being around for 50 years, if you write 20,000 songs, of course a couple hundred are gonna be awesome. Well ok, maybe not always(grateful dead) lol
I love me some Zeppelin (top 3), but Tool will have to be my no.1 band of all time. Either straight or off your nut, they will give you ear orgasms so hard that it will ruin your pants.
I was also disappointed not to read the fact that Metallica was beaten by Jethro Tull for a grammy in the late 80s. There is nothing I like more with Metallica fans then mentioning that. I am a fan of Jethro Tull, but that is pretty funny.
Yes, I love Tull as well. Funny, I saw them before the whole Metallica controversy, and I remember thinking to myself, “Fuck, these guys can still rock HARD!” But for them to beat out Metallica was hilarious.
Not only Metallica that year, but Iggy Pop too 😉
What about ACDC? You can’t deny that ACDC personifies kick ass balls to the wall rock!
AC/DC is an interesting band. They’re (by their own admission) a one trick pony, they’re fairly limited, and damned if it isn’t impossible to picture the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame without them. I’ve got no problem with the lads from down under (well, except Angus needs to grow up and ditch the schoolboy uniform).
Hard to believe no mention of Hendrix (def. top 5 guitarists ever), Nirvana or the modern day tour junkies aka Phish..
Yeah, most people don’t think of Hendrix when they think of rock bands. He was just walking on higher ground (and I disagree with your top 5 guitarists ranking. He’s flat-out #1). That having been said, I think Page was a better composer, and used the studio as another instrument as a producer. Zeppelin is/was better as a whole.
Nirvana? Look, they came along at a critical point in the history of rock and roll, but what they did wasn’t terribly new. In essence, they combined pop and punk sensibilities into a package with good songwriting. I’m not discounting them, but I don’t think they really belong in a serious discussion of the best band ever. (Also, they’re typical of the kind of band I’d leave out because I couldn’t spend a month and a half writing 50,000 words on every single band and how they compare to Zeppelin.)
Phish? Talented, hardworking, but not in the A-list in my opinion. I know a lot of others would disagree, and that’s cool too.
There is nothing good about The Dead. Nothing. Without the acid.
Oh, I dunno, they’ve got some great songs… And some of their fans are ripe for mocking. And just plain ripe.
Yeah, hard to take this seriously after they couldn’t get Pete Townshend spelled right.
I know the article was supposed to be funny but I have to play the pretentious rock critic and tell them/you why they are full of shit.
Here’s what Zep did best. I think it would be stupid to say that everyone in the band was not a master of their craft. There is no denying that. They were also versatile and could experiment with many different styles and could always pull them off. They were the prototype for the hard driving, blues based hard rock sound. But here’s the rundown-
The Beatles- wrote better songs. Period. And that’s not me talking out of my ass. Yesterday is the most covered song ever- look it up.
The Who- had the same primal energy except Pete Townshend was smarter than anyone in Zep. I would say the same about Floyd and the Doors. They were just more cerebral, end of story.
Grateful Dead- can’t stand em. No argument there.
Pink Floyd- longest charting album ever, right- they suck.
The Doors- Jim whipped his cock out- he never wet himself. And I defy you to come up with a better line in a song than- “I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer. The futures uncertain and the end is always near.” Jim wasn’t a poser. As far as I know he was the only singer to get arrested on stage. And that was for telling the cops what a bunch of assholes they were. Let’s see Percy top that.
The Stones- LOL. Yeah the band that’s been called the world’s greatest rock and roll band since before I had any hairs on my nut sack suck- right. No other band has been able to tap into the primal rhythms of fucking like the Stones could. And Mick Jagger proved he was one of the greatest front men of all times the other night on SNL. Not only could laugh at himself but he did a fantastic job (at almost 70) with amazing bands like Foo Fighters and Arcade File. Look at the way the Foo Fighter’s drummer was grinning like an idiot at playing with Mick. As for kicking me in the vagina over listening to Arcade Fire- good luck living in the 70’s maaaaaann. Rock has evolved and changed, like it or not. Sure most of it is shit but Arcade Fire are the real deal- just watch them live and see the energy they put out.
I will sum up this pretentious diatribe with the immoral words of Pete Towsend (yes, I know it’s wrong)- “Long live rock, be it dead or alive”.
Ok, an answer in four parts:
1. Spelling – It’s not “they” who spelled Townshend wrong, it is ME who spelled it wrong. I am fallible at times.
2. Supposed to be funny? Yes, so take everything with a BIG grain of salt.
3. I never said that the other bands I mentioned suck. In fact, I made it a point to state that I do not think they do. So any comments such as “right – they suck” are unfounded.
4. I disagree that the Beatles wrote better songs. You can argue for or against any particular song (Stairway to Heaven, being the most played song on the radio of all time, is an excellent example). I personally believe that the Beatles had a lot of filler on the White album, and a lot of their songs on other albums don’t hold up well on their own. Zeppelin, on the other hand, wrote great songs, and didn’t have nearly as drastic a drop-off in quality. But I cheerfully admit that this is a matter of personal taste.
Sorry man- in hind site it seems there was a bit too much vitriol in my response.
Funny you mention the White Album. I love the less popular songs on that album. The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill, “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey”, “Long, Long, Long”. I think these are all great songs that show a lot of variety.
I would argue that towards the later years Zep had too much filler and one whole album that just plain out sucked (Presence). But other songs were pretty bad too- Hot Dog comes to mine right off the bat.
Again- didn’t mean to come across so mean-spirited. I still stand by my statement that they weren’t the best band ever, though. Cheers.
You don’t know what you are talking about!But then neither does the guy who wrote this topic and the majority agreeing with him.
Around 2003 I found an online interview with George Martin and he said that even though he has produced many other music artists,he has never known or worked with anyone as brilliant as The Beatles. He was also interviews in the 1990’s on a Breakfast With The Beatles show on a local rock station,and he said that John Lennon and Paul McCartney were incredibly talented people and he said it like he still couldn’t believe it.And he also said they both were extraordinarily talented song writers and great singers.
And in the excellent thorough book by Mark Lewisohn,The Beatles Recording Sessions,George Martin,and so many of The Beatles tape operators and recording engineers are interviewed,(and in the beginning there is a great 1987 interview with Paul McCartney) and they describe in detail how truly innovative,brilliant and creative especially John and Paul were in their amazing 8 year recording career.
And my cousin who was born in 1968 who used to be a lawyer,and his brother born in 62 who is still a lawyer,and their sister born in 64,their oldest brother born in 60,and their parents have always been Beatles fans.My cousin born in 68,went to England around 1991 and he told me that he was at a British Museum where the works of Shakespeare,Dickens,Wodsworth and Keats,Lennon and McCartney’s lyrics are right in the same case. And he said the majority of visitors always said,forget the Shakespeare etc,lets go over to the Lennon and McCartney lyrics.
When I once asked him,if he still liked The Beatles he said,best band there ever was.My step cousin born in 1958,said they probably were the greatest band ever.He saw Paul McCartney and Wings in May 1976 in concert when he was 18 and he said it was a great show.
I’ve had the Beatles vs Zep argument countless times with countless people and in the end it all boils down to this: Pound for pound Zep destroy The Beatles on every level. The Beatles had alot of great songs, but for every great song they wrote, they wrote two that absolutely suck. The White albums is a perfect example, if they woulda left out all the songs that suck they woulda had a single disc masterpiece. On the other hand, for every great song Zep wrote, they wrote two that were super duper great. As far as musicianship, there is no comparison, Zep owns The Beatles, and as far as production, without George Martin The Beatles never woulda made it out of the garage, and he wasnt even a member of the band, unlike Zep who had Page, the man who could do it all.
Brian Epstein and George Martin were both very lucky to meet The Beatles and to have them,especially John Lennon and paul McCartney as their employees,it was like they discovered gold or won the lottery.George Martin had moderate success as a producer of mostly comedy albums before he became The Beatles producer,and he never had nearly as much success before and after producing them even though he went on to produce many other music artists.But he said that he never has known and worked with anyone as brilliant as The Beatles,especially John and Paul.
And the truth is,if Brian Epstein hadn’t had the good luck of becoming their manager he would have remained a record store manager that no one ever heard of and George Martin never would have been as known and successful either.
John Lennon and paul McCartney as their employees,it was like they discovered gold or won the lottery.George Martin had moderate success as a producer of mostly comedy albums before he became The Beatles producer,and he never had nearly as much success before and after producing them even though he went on to produce many other music artists.But he said that he never has known and worked with anyone as brilliant as The Beatles,especially John and Paul.
And the truth is,if Brian Epstein hadn’t had the good luck of becoming their manager he would have remained a record store manager that no one ever heard of and George Martin never would have been as known and successful either.
In 2010 I read an online article that had an interview with Ernie Isley of The Isley Brothers about a recent tribute to Jimi Hendrix, in which he says that Jimi played for The Isley Brothers & lived with them & that they & he were fans of The Fab Four from the moment they all watched them on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964. I always thought that Jimi was only a later period Beatles fan,I knew he played Sgt.Pepper live the weekend it came out,& he played Day Tripper live also,& several people on different message boards said that when he was asked where the direction of music was going,he said ask The Beatles.
Also in an excellent Beatles book Ticket To Ride by Denny Somach where so many other well known popular respected rock musicians and artists are interviewed about The Beatles praising them including Jimmy Page,Brian Wilson who says he’s always loved The Beatles. And Brian Wilson called John & Paul the greatest song writers of the 20th century on a 1995 Nightline Beatles tribute show,(which had on music artists from every type of music,a young black jazz musician,a middle aged black opera singer,Steve Winwood,Meatloaf,and classical violnist Isak Perleman,who said he plays his children Bach,Beethoven Mozart and The Beatles)and he played With A Little Help From My Friends on the piano and he said he just loves this song. He also said that Sgt.Pepper is the greatest album he ever heard and The All Music Guide says in their Beach Boys biography,that Brian had a nerveous breakdown after he heard it. Brian also said that when he first heard The Beatles brilliant 1965 folk rock album Rubber Soul he was blown away by it.He said all of the songs flowed together and it was pop music but folk rock at the same time and he couldn’t believe they did this so great,this inspired him to make Pet Sounds.
John Lodge and Justin of The Moody Blues are interviewed in this book and Bill Wyman and Ron Wood says how The Rolling Stones became good friends with The Beatles in 1963 after John and Paul wrote 1 of their first hits,the Rock n Roll song,I Wanna Be You’re Man.
Ron Wood was asked what his favorite Beatles songs and he said there are so many apart from the obvious like Strawberry Fields I Want To Hold Your Hand is one he said he used to like a lot ,and he said he really loved We Can Work It Out.He also says that The Beatles used to have a radio show every Friday where they played live and spoke and he would never miss an episode. He said infact whoever has the rights to those shows should dig them up,because they are incredible.
Justin Hayward says that the album he always really loved ,and he said it was when they started experimenting with chord structures ,was A Hard Day’s Night.He says they began to move away from the standard 3 chord thing and just went into more interesting structures .He said A Hard Day’s Night was the album for him and their song If I Fell was the song.He said it started in a different key to how it ended up,and it’s a beautifully worked out song and that there are some songs on that album that were very emotional and evocative. He said that for everybody just starting to write songs as he was,it was a real turn on and eye opener.
The Boston Globe has an online article from March 2009,called I Confess I Don’t Like… written by all of their music critics and Luke O’Neil wrote that when people talk of classic bands they don’t like they’re really speaking in coded language.He said for example “I don’t like The Beatles.” is the same as saying,”I’m a liar” he said but when I say I don’t like Led Zeppelin there’s no subtext.He then says a lot of it has to do with Robert Plant’s fiendish helium-powered caterwauling. He says he tends to prefer bands with vocalists not police sirens in tight pants.He also said the lyrics which run the gamut unimaginative doggerel to too-imaginative fantasy goofs don’t help.
He then says sure they inspired a lot of great bands,but should we not then hold them accountable for the thousands of downright awful imitators they’ve inspired? Remember that whole hair metal thing in the 80’s? He says who do you think put the bustle in those dudes hedgerow? And grunge? He says that was basically goateed Led Zeppelin on Smack. http://www.boston.com/ae/music/gallery/we_should?pg=10
Rock music critic John Mendelson never liked Led Zeppelin either.
Van Halen in the late 70’s early-mid 80’s with David Lee Roth sounded a million times better! So do the Who,The Rolling Stones,The Eagles,etc and The Beatles are a zillion times better.
JOHN & PAUL WERE ALREADY WRITING HITS FOR OTHER ARTISTS AS EARL AS 1963
Bob Dylan ,Roger McGuinn of The Byrds and music critic William Mann of The London Times as early as 1963 and 1964 pointed out that even in early Beatles songs like She Loves You and I Want To Hold Your Hand had unusual and interesting chords and they arranged them.
And as early as late 1963 a music critic Richard Buckle in The London Times called John and Paul the two of the most brilliant composers since Beethoven after John and Paul composed the music for a ballet Mods and Rockers. And John and Paul wrote one of The Rolling Stones first hits, I Wanna Be Your Man in late 1963 right in front of them. And Keith Richards and Mick Jagger were impressed and said wow,how can you write a song just like that and it inspired them to start writing their own songs.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney were such amazingly talented singer song writers that they were already writing hit songs for other artists as early as 1963 when their own song writing success was getting off the ground,besides The Rolling Stones,they also wrote hit songs in 1963 for Billy J.Krammer and The Dakatos,Celia Black,and Peter and Gordon etc.
Paul wrote his first song at age 14 and was playing guitar,John wrote heavy deep poetry but didn’t start writing songs until he met Paul and was impressed that he wrote his own songs,and he too started to write his own songs at age 17,and they wrote together and never stopped from then on.Paul wrote the very pretty song I’ll Follow The Sun at only 16.Even when The Beatles first came to America in February 1964 many people said how rare it was for *adult* rock n roll bands and solo artists to write their own songs,and Paul and John were already doing this as teenagers in the mid 1950’s.
Bob Dylan talks of Beatles friendship
Legend admits: ‘I’m in awe of McCartney’
May 16, 2007
Bob Dylan has spoken in depth about his longstanding friendship with The Beatles and his particular bond with George Harrison.
Talking to Rolling Stone magazine, Dylan talked freely about Harrison’s struggle to find his voice within the songwriting collective of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
“George got stuck with being the Beatle that had to fight to get songs on records because of Lennon and McCartney. Well, who wouldn’t get stuck?” he asked.
Dylan highlighted the writing talents of Harrison, saying: “If George had had his own group and was writing his own songs back then, he’d have been probably just as big as anybody.”
Speaking against popular belief, the singer also denounced any rumours of competitiveness towards Lennon and McCartney, asserting, “They were fantastic singers. Lennon, to this day, it’s hard to find a better singer than Lennon was, or than McCartney was and still is.”
Nodding his cap to McCartney in particular, Dylan concluded: “I’m in awe of McCartney. He’s about the only one that I am in awe of. He can do it all. And he’s never let up… He’s just so damn effortless.”
Also, classical composer Leonard Bernstein called John and Paul the greatest composers of the 20th century so did Elton John on a 1991 CBS Morning news show,he was asked who he musically admires and he said you can talk about your Rogers and Hammerstein but for the quanity of quality songs that Lennon and McCartney wrote in that short period of time,he said he thinks they were the greatest song writers of the 20th century.Brian Wilson said this too on a 1995 Nightline Beatles tribute show. The Beatles are in the Vocal Hall of Fame and John and Paul have been in the song writing Hall of Fame since 1987,Keith Richards and Mick Jagger have been in it since 1993,but as of now no members of The Who,or Led Zeppelin(who I totally can’t stand even a half of a second of) are in The Song Writing Hall Of Fame or The Vocal Hall Of Fame,The Rolling Stones aren’t in The Vocal Hall of Fame either and The Beatles were awarded about 20 prestigious Ivor Nevello awards as great singers and song writers in just a remarkable 8 year recording career,John and Paul won the first one in early 1964!
They also won an Oscar for their film score of their 1970 film Let It Be.
Bombastic- Inflated cockhead writes and laughs at itself! Who wrote about when LZ rose to fame that it spread like Islam in the desert? anywho, I am wondering what you think Keith Richards got?..vagina?
I agree with you on old deaf Pete Townsend. He knows what demons he got; but, apparently, he lost his head to them in a game of cards or a quiz contest.
I think if one gets theirs ears tuned to the likes of the old blues masters, muddy waters, son house, robert johnson, Sonny boy Williamson, even someone a tad jazzy like t-bone, or urban like the Kings, they will grow out of LZ. I was a big fan.
At the first glance over the article, a few well made points were pretty good. But you had to pick on Pink Floyd, did you…
Here are some thoughts of what this article is all about:
1. A lot of ass-kissing. Bonham was known to be a great alcoholic, which led to his death. So much of a “Led” to the Zeppelin.
If you were to be so snotty and Mr. Hot-Shot, you would’ve picked on that. And that the governments still have to decide on what to do on that many empty bottles of beer and vodka.
2. Did you hear Plant’s voice nowadays? Yes, compared to Springsteen, way better. But there are quite a few singers out there that surpass him.
3. About the whole Metallica and “Bach” riffs. Sonny boy, you have absolutely no clue of what music is all about. Let alone, chromatic/pentatonic scales, that are also used by Page. Like, in almost every song.
5. Baba O’Riley was not composed for CSI Miami, you dumb fuck.
6. Whatever, whenever you stupidly decide to pick on Black Sabbath, you decide to show whoever has a stint of musical knowledge left in his head, before being ripped of stupid highly acclaimed Zeppelin covers, knows that rock music, today, is the way it is because of 4 bands: Zeppelin, Sabbath, Purple and Floyd. I’d like to see Zeppelin playing a 13 min long song in the 6/8 scale, live, as Gilmour still does it. But Plant doesn’t have a very least of a chance on that, he’s fucking up Kashmir “gypsy style”.
Again, feel free to reply. But opinions will only be taken into consideration when you’ll get some music knowledge straight and start thinking properly.
Feel free to reply on my own blog? Gee, thanks. That’s really big of you.
But before I do, I am a little concerned that you’ve managed to visit a website called “Dogs on Drugs” that has posts on fat Star Wars characters eating fast food in space, a video of senior citizens mimicking Kama Sutra positions, a discussion of how I’m going to become “one crazy old fuck”, and a discussion of good versus bad porn acting without it dawning on you that “hey, maybe this guy is just fucking around. You know, JOKING.”
It’s a terrible thing to have to go through life without a sense of humor, or indeed, the ability to even identify it. So let me help you out with a couple of things that will probably help you make a little more sense of your world.
* You may have seen a documentary called Wayne’s World. This was actually a comedic movie, and all of the main characters (Wayne, Garth, etc.) are not real. They are played by actors!
* When you see a person standing in front of a brick wall in a club, saying things into a microphone, you should be aware that that person is a comedian. They are telling jokes. Do not take them seriously.
* Occasionally, you may notice that some of the TV shows you watch are accompanied by strange noises. This is laughter, and in general it is something you should not be alarmed at unless your pants happen to be down.
As for the points you made in your comment, I am well aware that John Bonham drank, Robert Plant has aged, you used to jerk it to Metallica in metal shop, etc. I was (get ready for this) JOKING AROUND.
Feel free to reply, but opinions will only be taken into consideration after someone drills a hole in your head and skull-fucks a clue into it.
“…because of Zeppelin, Sabbath, Purple and… FLOYD… ARE YOU SHITTING ME?!
pink floyd…………………………WTF?! Get the FUCK OUTTA HERE!! Dude, go do ten more of those stand up cronic bong hits you’ve been huffing and go sit in the corner with your personalized pointy hat!! JESUS H. CHRIST!! I can’t believe you even threw them in that list as they fit in like a fish in a bicycle race! And ANYONE from THE WHO being half as smart as LED ZEPPELIN is the best one liner I’ve heard so far this decade… You may as well go keep pinkie floydness and the gang company in dunce corner!!
HELLO… hello… IS THERE ANYBODY IN THERE?!
NOPE! Didn’t think so really but I felt obligated to ask as a courtesy… You can’t fix dumb… LOL
i think the comments are entertaining.
I keep waiting for someone to come along and chastise me for leaving out Herman’s Hermits.
Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but in response to gmadison saying that the entire Presence album sucked, is completely retarded. This person obviously doesn’t know jack shit about some of Zeppelin’s best music!
That’s my opinion.
Yeah, Presence is Jimmy Page’s favorite album and he kinda knows what he’s talking about.
That dude must really be bored to spend that much time hating on Led Zeppelin…?? Presence was an awesome album! Much heavier than some of their others like III or Houses Of The Holy which is why I LOVED IT!! Almost every song on there kicks ass! The only ones I never cared for a whole lot were Candy Store Rock and Tea For One. I still drum along to Achilles Last Stand, Nobody’s Fault But Mine and Hots On For Nowhere almost daily – part of my warm up calisthenics, you could say!!
I’d have to say that the main reason they got less air play from that album than they did on some of their others is simply due to those songs being heavier, harder rock than mainstream radio favors. You don’t hear Black Dog, The Immigrant Song or Out On The Tiles as often as some of their other more radio friendly songs like Custard Pie or Going To California by the same token.
Radio, in general, frowns upon harder, heavier rock songs that tend to make the wild and crazy folks out here wilder and crazier than normal because of the beast inside which is awakened by the primal energy they unleash…
(And I haven’t been able to figure out what the fuck it is I’m lookin’ at but if I ever do I’ll clue ya in on it… Okie Dokie?! LOL)
Presence always seems to be the measuring point for people who are discriminating music fans or blathering Zep-Heads that would listen to the sweat drop from Robert Plants balls. It’s the only Zep album that garnished almost zero air-play. Sure they tried propping Achilles’ Last Stand up but the general public wasn’t buying it. And when’s the last time you heard anything off of it lately? Now I know radio play does not equal great music but in Zep’s case, there best songs were usually on the radio.
Greg- I’ll have to take your word for it that Presence is the only album I’ll want to listen to when I am plastered out of my brain on some high grade smack.
Nobody’s Fault But Mine got a lot of airplay, and still gets quite a bit.
Presence is a weird album, probably a reflection of the traumatic goings on behind the scenes. They blasted out a lot of rock in a short period of time, and if they had taken the usual year instead of 18 days(!) to record, mix, and select the tracks it probably would have been more popular.
Still, when I run through the tracks, there are five songs on there that I either like a lot or absolutely love. I wish more band had that many good songs on one disc.
I completely disagree that the best songs are all on the radio, and hell, the ones they DO play, they overplay to the point of making me sick of them. I have to hand it to Clear Channel classic rock radio: they have done the impossible by making me never want to hear “The Ocean” or “Over The Hills And Far Away” ever again. That’s a tall order. With regards to Presence, “Hots On For Nowhere” and “Candy Store Rock” are two of the most overlooked, underrated rock songs of the twentieth century, much less the LZ catalog. The giant brass balls swinging under those two songs alone would give Mick Jagger a concussion.
Well, I think it’s hard to argue that Rock and Roll, Stairway to Heaven, et al don’t represent Zeppelin at their best, but yeah, there’s an awful lot of stuff you don’t hear on the radio that it right up there. It’s part of what makes Zeppelin so special. Pick any album, put it on any track, and you’re bound to get something good.
I personally go long stretches of time without listening to Zeppelin specifically because I don’t want to get burned out. And then I’ll pop some Zeppelin on and blow my mind all over again.
Presence is actually my fav Zep album these days and has been for about 10 years now, probably cause I’m so burnt out on all the other stuff and have every single note of all the other albums memorized.
How do you feel about Alice In Chains? They’re #2 behind Zep for me.
Alice in Chains, the band that never met a minor chord they didn’t like. I like AiC. I don’t think that in the grand scheme of things they belong in the best band of all time conversation, but they’re a very talented band.
I liked them but didn’t pay too close attention to them until Jar of Flies came out. That opened my eyes. They weren’t just a fuzzed-out, loud band that cashed in on the Northwest signing craze of the early nineties. They could write, and they could play.
Nothing bad to say about them from me.
While they were the greatest rock band ever, they were also thieves. Not only did they steal every woman they saw from their men, but they also stole entire songs. Now what they did with them was of course super badass, and the songs they chose to rip off were some of the best of all time, but still it was thievery. Other than that, they were as close to perfect as it gets.
You know what’s interesting? That those in the industry don’t roundly blast Zeppelin for stealing songs. You know why they don’t? Because Jimmy Page, a session guitarist for the British rock scene throughout the 60’s knew every band’s dirty little secret: Everyone did what Zeppelin did.
In a nutshell, bands would play a song they liked, twist the chords around, change the lyric up, and the result would be credited to the band and not the original author. EVERYONE did it, from the Beatles through to Zeppelin.
What Led Zeppelin did was to not change the lyrics enough to disguise the source because 99 times out of 100 the new song was totally different from the original. (That extra one song was Dazed & Confused, which they lifted the beginning and end from, and then sandwiched in something even Jake Holmes admitted he wouldn’t have thought of in a million years.)
Often Zeppelin could not find the original source (as in When the Levee Breaks). One time, they tried to give a partial songwriting credit to Ritchie Valens’ mom because they’d used a lot of the lyric from Ooh, My Head. Valens’ mom then sued for full songwriting credit, which Zeppelin fought back on because Ooh, My Head was nothing but a loose reworking of Little Richards’ Ooh, My Soul in the first place.
In the end, Zeppelin was no different from most bands in how they came to be inspired to write some of their best songs. Even when they failed to change the lyric enough to suit other people’s tastes (and this is the Blues, for crying out loud, where reusing lyrics is part of the game), they were in very good company. What set them apart is Peter Grant’s excellent management that made Led Zeppelin insanely wealthy for their time. In other words, they were very easy to sue.
I’ve had this argument many times with Zep haters, and my response is always the same: Even if you subtract every song Zep “stole”, and consider only the songs they composed themselves entirely, you’re still left with the greatest body of work every recorded by one band in the history of…history.
The author talks about Paul McCartney kinda had a vagina when it came to writing rock songs. My response would be – what about the prancing and effeminate Robert Plant? He may think that he has one himself.
Remind me to explain to you the concept of a joke, atty1chgo.
From what I’ve read the Zepplin boys did kick the shit out of a lot of folks. mThey may be able to play great once and awhile and they did put out a couple of great albums but ask anyone who ever had to deal with them and they’ll tell you they were a bunch of thugs
From everything I’ve read, that was primarily the road crew under the watch of Richard Cole. (In the later years, Bonzo would get involved.)
And from what I’ve seen with my own eyes, road crews in general can be very violent. I watched the road crew for Heart absolutely stomp on a guy for harmlessly jumping on stage and doing a mini- Woo-hoo! dance. Not saying it makes the behavior right, just that it was probably more prevalent than you would guess.
I haven’t laughed this hard in..whatever…a while! I am a die-hard Zep fanatic since I first heard the first lick back in the 70s. Love all the music you compared them too and countless more, but as you point out, they aren’t Led Zeppelin. Jimmy Page is about the only cat I’d go to the San Jose shark tank for. Or San Jose for that matter.
Hell, I even bought JPJ’s soundtrack to Death Wish out of desperation for more.
RE Rock colossi not mentioned, I am also a huge Allman Bros fan- love the heck out of them and have seen them more than any other Big Name Band; they have enjoyed being given the title “Best Damn Band In The Land” by many. Plenty of fodder for roasting for sure, but a lot of solid rocking to commend too.
In the game of let’s pretend tho, if I had an opportunity to choose between a show with the ABB and LZ in my range on the same night … it’d be Zeppelin, no question.
Alas that choice never presented itself (I’m scarred for life by never having got to see them live before Bonzo kicked the double-bucket!)… Rock on!
Ah yes, the Alman Bros. Great musicians, great live act, great band, no doubt about it.
Would you agree that for a couple years in the mid-late 70’s that KISS was the ‘biggest’ band in the world? Even more so than Zep?
Sure, and the Stones were supposedly bigger (although they sold less albums and didn’t sell as many live seats). Doesn’t mean they were better, though. I mean, at one point David Cassidy was the big thing.
You’re a genius, plain and simple. Love the post and all your reply’s to comments as well. My favorite though, is the pic of Fergie’s urine drenched crotch…thats fucking hot!
That never fails to make me laugh. How fucked up do you have to be to piss yourself ON FUCKING STAGE?
(If I remember correctly, the person that took those pics said they showed up ridiculously late for their own gig, and falling down drunk.)
I draw the line at crapping your pants, everything else is fair game, especially when hot bitches are involved.
Reading these comments are entertaining. 😀
I couldn’t agree more with this article, from The Beatles, Stones, Deep Purple, etc there is no other band that simply amazes me more than Led Zeppelin. I wake up to them in the morning, have them blasting in my ears for long hours studying for exams, and I fall asleep to either No Quarter or a live version of Stairway. Some of my favorite Led Zep songs are Since I’ve Been Loving You, one of Plant’s best, emotion packed vocal performances along with one of Page’s best solos ever imo, and That’s The Way, one of their best acoustic songs along with Over The Hills and Far Away. I love their harder stuff too like Communication Breakdown and Rock and Roll, but I think those songs are so overlooked, a lot of their songs are. Only true fans would dig so deep into their music to find these musical gems. I could go on and on…
Whenever I try to introduce my friends to the Gods of Rock, they just forget that I said anything…they have no idea what they’re missing. Again thank you, reading this made my day. 😀
You know what drives me nuts about Since I’ve Been Loving You? Bonham’s squeaky drum pedal. For that reason alone, I like listening to Since I’ve Been Loving You live versions, and also because Page usually shreds like a madman live. Oh, and Tea for One is like the sequel to Since I’ve Been Loving You.
Yes, I agree 100%: How many bands have so many utterly kick ass songs buried so deep in their catalog. For every Rock And Roll, you have The Wanton Song, for every Kashmir, In The Light. Amazing.
xD Bonzo’s damn drum pedal, that used to annoy me too but I just got so into the song that I got kind of used to it. It even sort of fits into it in a weird way.
Talk about underplay, there are SO MANY good Zeppelin tunes trying to pick the best Led Zeppelin song is like trying to find the greenest blade of grass. Many say that it’s Stairway and granted that that song is absolutely amazing and the song that introduced me to decades of brilliant music, there are countless other ones. My radio station plays the same three Led Zeppelin songs: Black Dog, Rock and Roll, and Whole Lotta Love. Those songs along with Communication Breakdown, Living Loving Maid, and Dazed and Confused is the reason why people define Led Zeppelin as one of the first heavy metal bands even though more than a third of their songs are acoustic. With that being said, Communication Breakdown was one of the first heavy metal songs recorded but the term for it of course came later. Page said that one of the main reasons he loved the band was because they had “Groove,” people at their gigs would dance to their songs, something you most likely wouldn’t see at a Black Sabbath or Deep Purple concert. Oh the people who would give anything to see them live…including myself. My Uncle got to see them live SIX TIMES. And he prefers Springsteen over them, being a huge fan of his and seeing them 52 times. My jealousy of him is at an extreme,I HATE being born in ’96. The only great thing this generation of mine has to offer is sweet internet and iPods, so I can listen to Zeppelin whenever I like, any song whatever mood I’m in. The media feared Zeppelin back then, it was the people that ultimately spread the word about them.
I love In The Light, esp. Jonsey’s synthesizer at the beginning. It was also one of the only three Led Zep songs in which Page used a violin bow. It’s a shame that it was never played live. Physical Graffiti is my favorite album, In My Time of Dying and Ten Yeas Gone won it for me. Last weekend during a trip to the Oregon Coast, I walked along the beach with my headphones in my ears and listening to “Down By The Seaside,” the experience was just incredible. I seriously can’t go a day without hearing at least one of Page’s riffs. <3
Haha, way back in the day I used to work with my dad in the summer between semesters at college. One day, as we were driving home, I fell asleep and woke up some time later with two things happening simultaneously: Bron-Yr-Aur was playing on the stereo; A silver blimp was hovering on the horizon, reflecting the setting sun. To have those two things going on when I woke up and opened my eyes was one of the most genuinely pleasant surprises in my life. Awesome.
Wow, that is amazing! Esp since you really don’t see many blimps or zeppelins around anymore.
There used to be this awesome roller coaster in Hard Rock Park that would only play Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love and it was shaped like a silver zeppelin! Inside there were screens where live concert footage of them was played which you could watch while waiting to get on. Sadly it got shut down in 2008 because of financial issues. D:
Here’s what the ride is like, pretty awesome.
I loved the post. Led Zep isn’t my favorite, but a large chunk of those greater bands you posted about are near the top of my list.
I think it would be fun if you ever revisit the theme just to make commentary on other bands. Given the (humorous) arguments provided, I’d give Zeppelin an edge despite the fact that one could make similar jokes about Zep.
One of my current favorite bands is Pearl Jam whom I think will go down as one of the best bands ever; although, they’ll never talk their 1970’s predecessors. There is a joke to be had there when your leadman goes around strumming a ukulele in his spare time.
Last, I love your assessment of the Beatles and your comments on Harrison. He really was a great one there. In a band more like Zep, he would have been a god in the way Page is (albeit in his own style).
Greg, thanks for such a great read, love it and the comments are fun too.
But for Erik, THANK YOU for finally putting Pearl Jam in the mix. I was astounded it took so many comments to see my personal favorite band listed. Saw them in October (x3), even got to see them play the John Paul Jones Arena, and they are still, and will always remain, my rock gods. Hands down.
Led Zeppelin is also astounding, even after all these years. Just saw Celebration Day on AXS and was blown away. Definitely top of the list of bands I NEED to see live. Even with Jr. on the kit… I find that as awesome as seeing Wolfgang play bass with Van Halen a few years back. Sweet.
I gotta tell you, I can’t stand Eddie Vedder’s singing. He never just hits a note. He hits it flat, then ups the tone until he’s sharp, and then cycles madly in between. It’s like the average is the right note, although he almost never hits it. It drives me nuts. The other thing about Pearl Jam is that in my opinion, they try too hard to not be commercial, and sometimes their music suffers for it.
That having been said, they were a big part of the move away from fucking hair-metal in the 90’s, and deserve an assload of praise just for that alone. And they could write a hell of a song when they put their mind to it. Not really one of my faves, but when someone such as yourself comes along and heaps praise on them, I’ve got no problem with it. I freely admit that a reasonable person could very well love everything they’ve ever done, and chalk it up to taste. I mean, it’s not as if you just posted a comment about how awesome Milli Vanilli was.
While I completely disagree with your article, it sure was quite amusing.
By the way, The Beatles kick the everloving shit out of any other band, ever. 🙂
You’ve got a better argument than most, if not all, other bands, I’ll give you that. But still, you are R-O-N-G! 🙂
xD I thought that The Beatles were the best band of all time as well, but that was before I heard the haunting riff of Dazed and Confused, the emotional outcry of “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” the touching acoustic sound of, “That’s The Way”, and of course the magical eight minutes of Stairway that needs no introduction.
The Beatles have many praiseworthy songs of their own and their one of few bands that anybody who is anybody knows for their legacy. 1980 was a huge loss for both bands as both Lennon and Bonham died in the same year. Still, there’s something about the chemistry about Led Zeppelin that was untouchable, their sound was just amazing and they could literally cover anything and it would be album worthy. Love both bands, but for me Led Zep wins.
So, this douchebag had a long facebook rant about how much Zeppelin sucks. I might post your article on his page and then go kick him in the teeth
Nahh, leave him be so he can listen to his Justin Bieber CD in peace.
I must share the story of one of the seminal moments in my life – the very moment I became a Led Zeppelin disciple. One day in the eighth grade, my friend Steve comes up to me with a Walkman and says, “Here, I want you to hear something.” “What is it?” “Led Zeppelin.” “Oh, I heard of them – they do ‘Stairway To Heaven’, right?” I put the headphones on and pressed play, and “Misty Mountain Hop” stomped its way through my earholes and proceeded to rape and pillage my brain. I DECIDED RIGHT AWAY THAT THIS WAS THE MOST AWESOME FUCKING THING THAT HAD EVER BEEN RECORDED, AND I MUST HAVE MORE. I browbeat my mom into taking me to Walmart that night so I could buy IV on cassette. Within six months, I owned every album. My life has been so much richer ever since.
And thank God for John Bonham’s squeaky bass drum pedal. It lets you imagine standing right next to his kit in the room while he’s recording. It might be the most intimate thing on any record.
Awesome story, I introduced my friend in a similar way. There was this girl in the seat in front of me, we were both new kids in our high school. We started talking, and she told me she was into rock music. I asked her what kind, and she listed a bunch of alternative rock bands of whom I’ve never heard before. She asked what I was listening to on my iPod, and asked if she could have a listen since her’s broke. Her eyes grew wide once she heard the beginning riff to Good Times Bad Times, as did mine when I heard a lick from Master Page for the first time. When she got her iPod fixed, she had albums of Led Zeppelin on there. 😀
My story is similar, in 7th grade some dude in my class brought in Zep IV and let me listen to Black Dog, and I was instantly in a trance thats lasted 25 years now. I immediately went out and bought Zep’s entire catalogue on cassette, and after listening to all of it I thought to myself “How is this possible? How can one band have SO many great freakin songs?” Wasnt at all surprised when I heard they’d made a deal with the devil, only way I can make sense of their epic awesomeness. In my mind the only other band that comes remotely close is The Stones, but they kinda cheated by being around for 50 years.
Led Zeppelin > Every band that was, is, or will ever be in existence.
That is a science fact.
My neighbors listen to Led Zeppelin on a daily basis…whether they like it or not. 😀
I had a neighbor in college that used to complain about me blaring Led Zeppelin. Not that I was doing it, but that I didn’t have enough treble, so it was distorted over at his place.
Whenever my neighbors wake me up and piss me off I always crank up the 45 min. live version of Dazed & Confused over my Paradigm speakers!
Haha! Still better than blasting crappy music for them to listen to. Your doing more of a big favor for them, they just will never realize it. x)
rush>every band ever
click me baby
I love me some Rush, but this opinion is WRONG. 87.253% of all people know that.
Great article. I agree with many comparisons. Here’s where i disagree. Kids now will look at the bands they grew up with the same way you grew up with LZ. So it’s all relative. They will look at your music and say it’s bad just as you look at their generations music and do the same. It’s all relative brother, change is good embrace it and get out of the 12th grade. There is so much good music out there go enjoy some. get a soundcloud account it’s free.
Meh, that’s assuming that:
a) I’m entirely serious (I’m not)
b) I don’t listen to new music (I do)
c) And there isn’t an empirical way to measure bands from different generations against each other (there is)
The main problem with music these days is that we’re dealing with the death throes of the recording industry. As recording, marketing, and distribution becomes more and more accessible to people via technology, the record labels become more and more irrelevant.
And because they’re becoming irrelevant, they’re making less money. And because they’re making less money, they have to squeeze every penny. This causes them to do horrendous shit such as sign boy bands like crazy, hop on “grunge” until everyone is sick of it, and basically cram “popular” music down your throat.
The down side is that a lot of good, original music gets left by the wayside.
Is there good stuff out there? Absolutely. But there is not the depth nor range in the music industry that there was in the 1970’s before the bean counters really took control.
Yep, they’re awesome, for a rock band. Not much in the grand scheme of music, but in the top 5 for their genre.
I saw them play once with Beethoven, and they blew that fucker off the stage. (Fucking wrecked his hearing too.)
I was born in 1954, yes, I am old as dirt. When I was 14 the kid up the street got Led Zeppelin 1. Since then, I have known the truth, that Led Zeppelin is now and always has been without any doubt the greatest rock band of all time, bar none. When you need it deep down inside, they deliver. When you wake up in the mornin’ feelin’ bad, they deliver. Even when a woman who’s got no soul leads you to the hangman, they deliver. In short, all else is lesser.
Too many other great musicians to list, I love ’em all, but c’mon. Zeppelin.
Exactly. Only one word of explanation needed: Zeppelin.
This is some of the most awesome shit I have ever read. And dammit it’s all true!
Very funny and you included the black crowes,
Oh man, I love me some Black Crowes. Those guys were all born twenty years too late. They would have been HUGE in the 70’s.
While I share admiration for Led Zepplin and your dismissiveness of corporate rock crap like Journey, Foreigner, etc, your mindless swan dive into misogyny, xenophobia, and ignorance of how punk pounded Zepplin into a bloody pulp in the late 70s is sad.
You didn’t mention The Clash, The Ramones, Nirvana, or Rage Against The Machine. All 3 are overall more important and have better catalogs. The Clash will forever be a better band than Zepplin. The Ramones too. This isn’t arguable.
Zepplin should never appear higher than 4 on a best rock band of all-time list. This is science. Every musicologist, like myself, knows this.
Whatever you’re on, Lance, cut the dose.
Hey Greg while your love for all things Zep is admirable they have and will always be The Who’s bitches. Sorry to be a bustle in your hedgerow but that’s a fact.
Everyone knows they stole songs or parts of songs. A google search of “Led Zeppelin thieving bastards” brings pages upon pages of articles and blogs. Replace Led Zeppelin with The Who and it says: ” No search records found-Did you mean Led Zeppelin thieving bastards?” If Harrison could lose a lawsuit for “My Sweet Lord”, Zeppelin should get the gas chamber.
Fuck man, they couldn’t even write their own name. They stole it from Keith Moon. As far as playing live, nobody comes close to The Who. Monterey, Woodstock, Isle of Wight, London Coliseum, Concert for NY it goes on. The Who even have the greatest live album-“Live at Leeds”. Indisputable.
The only smart thing Zeppelin ever did was never get on the same ticket The Who were on. The Stones learned their lesson a couple of times. Abbie Hoffman learned his lesson trying to interrupt at Woodstock. The late great Jimi Hendrix even stole showmanship from The Who.
The Who influenced a shitload of rockers, including, you guessed it, their bitches, Zeppelin. They influenced not jus Zeppelin but Pearl Jam, The Clash, The Ramones, Van Halen, Green Day, Aerosmith, Queen and it goes on.
Dude, musically,The Who are well respected among their peers. Can’t say that about your session players. Some posters above mentioned a number of them but left out Keith Richards.
Bottom line is The Who could kick any bands ass in the studio, on the stage or in the street. Roger Daltrey still looks like he could kick some ass and Townshend would just as soon snap your neck as he would a Gibson SG.
Having said all that-I do like Zeppelin and I do acknowledge they are great musicians. Bonham and Page are incredible. Plants effeminate style pisses me off but is a great rock singer and JPJ is very good to boot. I enjoyed your blog and hate having to disparage other groups I like to get The Who the respect they deserve and earned.
Ok, Pete, whatever. Say hi to Roger for me.
This was the pinnacle of the internet. It went downhill from here.
I’m in total agreement. Now, how to cash in on it?
And to think in 1975 or 76 I didn’t have the $7.50 to see them in Chicago, that fucking sucks. And also came in 2nd place in a radio contest to see the reunion concert in London. But to watch them live on dvd is as close as I will get. And when you put it on you, can’t turn it off. They were and are fucking ROCK GODS.
Did you see them in the theater when they released Celebration Day. IMAX with a loud sound system is as close as anyone’s going to get to being there. It was awesome.
Pretty awesome. Although you cant get on McCartney for writing Yesterday when he also wrote Helter Skelter. Robert Plants lyrics might have been the worst ever written.
“Your head is humming and it won’t go, in case you don’t know,
The piper’s calling you to join him,
Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow, and did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind?”
and McCartney has a vagina?
Hey, I love Helter Skelter, even if it is a song about a slide. But Plant’s lyrics make McCartney sound like he’s a day care teacher:
Hey, hey, mama, said the way you move, gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove.
Oh, oh, child, way you shake that thing, gonna make you burn, gonna make you sting.
Hey, hey, baby, when you walk that way, watch your honey drip, can’t keep away.
Meanwhile, in the McCartney household:
Someone’s knockin’ at the door, somebody’s ringin’ the bell
Someone’s knockin’ at the door, somebody’s ringin’ the bell
Do me a favor, open the door, and let him in
Very entertaining essay and comments. All I know is that for me, an old guy, -74- , that grew up with and saw these groups, some things come to mind. First, they existed at a specific time and in a specific social context. Second, you can analyze this stuff to death. For me, what counts in my top list is what I still like to listen to – in the car alone or in my den late at night. Very personal, no analysis, just what gets played. Number !) The lizard King, almost anything. 2) the zeps, first two albums 3) Freddie Mercury, Montreal concert. After that could come almost anything, but those stick out. Your list is yours, and isn’t it great that we are not all the same?
“You can analyze this stuff to death”
Read some more on this site and you’ll know that I analyze nothing. This site is 100% research-free. Unless it’s a post about beer.
Hells f’in Yea. If Mastodon end up making 3 or four more like crack the skye and the hunter…they can be honourable mentions that dont suck as much as most. Kinda Sabbath less bloody Sabbath. Good one!
Honorable mentions that don’t suck as much… I like your attitude, young sir.
Cool article but you spelled the name of the band wrong – it’s not spelled “Led Zeppelin” – it’s spelled “The Clash” – otherwise, you’re totally right on.
Tell me, Riff: What do the people on your home planet make of this?
Oh yes, the groupies go fucking nuts for Grand Funk Railroad.
In all of your glory, you forgot to mention that Led Zeppelin is the only band on the following two lists:
1-The Greatest Coverband in History.
2-The Greatest Covered Band in History.
Yeah, they sure could cover, and even convert a song like no other.
Dirty South TV
Oh, I see what you did there…
Hah, love this list. All in good fun. Seriously, though not even a mention of Grand Funk Railroad?
And Mark Farner weighs in…
I did not notice any mention of the Stones, smart boy
Keep reading, smart boy. They’re in there.
My friend just send this to me today. I am 44, have been a Zep fan for over 30 years, nothing compares to them. Thanks for this hilarious read. I really enjoyed it.
No charge. Well, slight charge. Look, give me your credit card number.
I still listen to Zep for Bonham and JPJ. I used to love Plant and Page too but when they settled out of court over a dozen times for ripping off everyone from opening acts to old blues artists it kind of killed it for me. There’s a difference between being influenced or doing a cover and straight up stealing note for note/lyric for lyric and putting your name on it. Those two were absolutely shameless.
I think it was Page that was the transgressor, but really, deriding a blues band for borrowing blues songs when the entire history of the blues consists of even the biggest names borrowing from each other is kind of ridiculous.
In addition to that, it was common practice (as JP and JPJ knew well as session musicians) for bands to jam on a cover of a song, tweak it in minor ways and call it their own. Everyone, and I mean everyone did it. Zeppelin got called to task for a variety of reasons: They were slow to tumble to the fact that people were starting to think this was no longer ok. They often got nailed for songs that were very original, but Plant was too lazy to change the lyrics much. And they committed the crime of being big enough to be worth suing.
Well said they were the ultimate best!
They were being modest.
Tremendous. And I am tempted to agree that Zeppelin is, in fact, The GOAT. However, there is one major problem. They’re British. And rock is an American art form, despite the attempts of a lot on this list to co-opt it. Therefore, The Greatest AMERICAN Rock Band of All Time is – unquestionably – Lynyrd Skynyrd. There are abundant similarities between the 2, apart from the booze, drugs, violence, and womanizing we expect from our finer rock stars. To wit:
A. 2 word band name, starting with L, but known solely by the 2nd word. (“Zeppelin,” “Skynyrd”)
B. An unbelievable canon of blues-based rock with some boogie woogie thrown in for good measure.
C. Authors of the 2 top songs of all time. In any Labor / Memorial Day radio countdown, it’s always “Stairway” and “Free Bird” as 1 and 2, with the order sometimes shifting (even outside Jacksonville, FL) BUT only “Free Bird” has the distinction of STILL being requested roughly 100% of the time when ANY band asks “What song do you want to hear?” Quite a distinction, given that it was written to honor the death of Duane Allman, who died 42 years ago.
Ronnie Van Zant wrote some stunningly iconic & immortal songs, all before dying at age 29. I often wonder what we missed and what he might have produced if we could have watched him age like Johnny Cash. Alas.
So… great stuff. But, and I say this as a friend, no list of Greatest Rock Bands can be taken seriously without addressing Skynyrd.
I’m not much into LS, for whatever reason. I respect them, though. A good band.
(Actually, up North, the #1 and #2 songs of all time are always Stairway to Heaven and Hey Jude. Freebird is usually in the top 5, though.)
Why do we idolize musicians that STOLE music from American Blues artists and refused to give them 1 dime of royalties? Led Zep indeed!
See my response about 8 inches above this one.
Also, they often tried to give credit and got fucking sued for it. They gave Richie Valens mom a writing credit on Boogie with Stu because they leaned heavily on Richie Valens’ Ooh My Head, and they’d heard that she was going through rough times since Richie had died.
She then turned around and sued Zeppelin, who won the case because Ooh My Head was nothing more than a cover of Little Richards’ Ooh My Soul.
Were they totally innocent of taking credit for songs they hadn’t ridden? No. But when people claim they stole everything, they’re totally off base. Also, ever notice how other musicians never complain about this? (Including Zeppelin, who is shamelessly borrowed from at every turn.) They know how it is, that’s why.
The article is awesome and hilarious and for you guys to retort to greg’s balls to the wall whiskey fueled love of Led Zepplin, you truly are a fool. just as I would respect whatever similarly fueled love you have for Quiet Riot.
Quiet Riot? Damn, that’s a low blow.
Two words: Van f*cking Halen. Well, three words. Actually four words: Mighty f*cking Van Halen.
Dude, not on your list? What the what? I love LZ but not one of their songs touches Unchained for giddyup. So they got Al Jolson on lead vocals, so what…
Although I think Van Halen (the original version, let us not even discuss the Van Hagar abortion) belongs in the rock and roll hall of fame, and in general they’re great musicians, I personally can’t stand them for more than 1 or 2 songs.
DLR is a horrible douchebag who can’t sing for shit live. (I know, I caught them in their classic era). And Eddie was for many years a useless drunk (but I’m very happy to see that he’s cleaned up his act), and by all accounts is impossible to work with, and way, way, way too prone to just go wheedle-wheedle-wheedle-weeeeeeeee! forever (seriously, dude: 40 minutes of tapping? We fucking get it already!)
VH had some truly great stuff in the early days, but since then they’ve been shit, and I don’t think you can make a case for the greatest of all time.
My opinion. I cheerfully concede the point that others may feel very differently.
More on the mediocrity of one Ringo Starr: he has been a succsesful artist for some time now. Through the medium of MS paint. Google RingoStarrart if you’re so inclined. Its fantastically lame.
That was fantastically bad. It will also be the topic of a future post. Thx.
Wow, Looking forward to it!
Why Led Zeppelin is Not As Good As _________:
Stairway to Heaven.
Uhhh, ok. Next time let the ether wear off before clicking that button.
I have heard them all. I listen to Led Zeppelin over and over. Nothing else hits me like Led Zeppelin. There’s just something magical in the music. Will always be my #1.
Could not stop laughing at this article, especially about Ringo. Whats even more fucking awesome is actually how true all of this is. Thank you Greg.
No charge. Well, slight charge. Ok, massive whopping charge. The invoice is in the mail.
Fucking funny as hell. I love how serious people get over the internet. Led Zeppelin is the greatest band ever. I loved Jack Black’s speech at the Kennedy Center Honors. What’s amazing to me is how relevant they are and they were only together for 12 years. Lmao, it’s almost 3 a.m. and I’m commenting on a few year old article. I’m such a loser but it’s Zeppelin. They’re fucking amazing.
Yeah, you listen to a lot of bands from that era, hell, even 10, 15 years ago, and they sound dated. Led Zeppelin sounds as fresh as the day they started. Not many bands can stay relevant 47 years after their debut like that.
Okay, I love Led Zeppelin! And I recognize the humor of the notable accomplishments section. But we can be just as sarcastic about Zeppelin too. For instance, Jimmy Page banging a 14 year old girl many times over, the band claiming the wrote the lyrics and melodies to traditional songs such as Nobody’s Fault but Mine, In My Time of Dying and Custard Pie, not giving credit to the lyrics of Whole Lotta Love to Willie Dixon or to some of the lyrics of The Lemon Song to Chester Burnett, and flat out stealing the music to Dazed and Confused from Jake Holmes. Being so overly egotistical and pretentious that they filmed the extremely gay fantasy scenes for TSRTS (Bonzo’s being the exception, having a lead singer who had to lower the keys to the songs on stage half the time because he couldn’t even come close to the studio, editing and overdubbing all their live albums so that they sound nothing like the bootlegs, recording plenty of pop or soft music as lots of bands and their fans claiming it’s not wimpy if it’s Zeppelin it just diverse (Thank You, The Rain Song, Black Country Woman, Going to California, Dyer Maker, Fool in the Rain, All My Love, That’s the Way, Tangerine, Down by the Seaside) Trying to rhyme words that do not rhyme no matter how you phrase them in the song, and re releasing the same music on cd over and over again and claiming it’s essential each time.
You failed to mention the Beatles were also notable for their groundbreaking use of eastern instruments such as the mandolin and sitar long before Zeppelin, having trippy epic, experimental tracks before Zeppelin (Tomorrow Never Knows, A Day in the Life, Across the Universe, Magical Mystery Tour, She’s Leaving Home, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Strawberry Fields Forever) going from Rock to Folk on Rubber Soul before Zeppelin, using brass and strings before Zeppelin, making it acceptable for a mainstream band to create a concept album and a double album and making the album as a whole important long before Zeppelin. Also, they were pretty darn good at their own electric blues (Yer Blues, I Want You, Don’t Let Me Down, Oh Darling, I’ve Got a Feeling)) and heavy tracks (Revolution, Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey, Helter Skelter, Birthday) and having two kick ass lead singers both on Rock and ballads as well as the greatest songwriting team ever in Lennon/McCartney whose song craftsmanship for hooks and melodies is unequaled, along with real rhymes and the presentation of their tight harmonies.
I usually don’t bring up sales but Zeppelin’s sales are enormous for a reason. It’s because they are so damn good. The fact that only one other band has outsold Zeppelin and continues to do so, and that the band is The Beatles, is significant.
Yeah, but none of that shit matters once you listen to the breakdown in Dazed and Confused. That is science fact.
(Oh, and Jimmy Page owned a sitar before George Harrison did.)
Yeah, I’ve read that quote by him before, but the fact is Harrison used it in 1965 before he even knew who Page was.
I’m not knocking the might Zeppelin but just trying to even things out a bit.
I’m surprised you didn’t count the Stones as being up there since their work during the late 60s and early 70s is sickly good and not like their earlier 60s oldies style. I would put a playlist of Gimmie Shelter, Sympathy for the Devil, Bitch, Can’t Ya Hear Me Knocking, Brown Sugar, Let it Bleed, Tumbling Dice, Midnight Rambler, Honky Tonk Woman, Street Fighting Man, Jumping Jack Flash, Paint it Black, You Can’t Always Get What You Want etc. up against any playlist of the same amount of songs by any band.
The writer is 100% correct. You do not need to qualify the reason because it is very simple. Every single musician in Zeppelin was an absolute genius at his craft. If you are a musician or just a guy who has good taste you get it. If tou are not at least a Zeppelin fan, then you suck if you are a musician and you have bad taste. I have never met a non-Zeppelin fan who wasn’t a total clown. This of course does not apply as much to the younger generation who have been sold a musical shit buffet from the time they emerged from the birth canal. Zeppelin are the best but the other bands you named are good until you get to the modern vagina rock that you called out for sucking.
“musical shit buffet”
No band in history has been sued more than Led Zeppelin for STEALING OTHER PEOPLE’S MUSIC…. you can look it up. So rip on Springsteen and the Who all you want, they never got taken to court like these pretenders to the rock throne did. To make it worse, these thieves had the nerve to sue the Wayne’s World movie for borrowing a few bars of Stairway to Heaven… which Zeppelin “borrowed” from a band called Spirit in the first place (another thing you can look up). So in conclusion, Led Zeppelin doesn’t kick the shit out of every other rock band… they just steal their music.
Great article with a nice dose of humor in a good way because I agree with you. But i do want to point out and ask if you can elaborate on a few things. I believe there is one band and one band only who could match Zep and that is Soundgarden. Listen to Superunknown(double album if released in the 70’s), not only the greatest album out of the 90’s era Seattle, but one of the greatest albums of all time bar none. Badmotorfinger and Down on the Upside are not far behind. Each member equally talented as a band who fused all the elements/influences in writing/playing together to form their own unique psychedelic sound, like Zep without trying to be a progressive rock band. Rather than it be a band who has 1 or 2 members out of 4 or 5 that dominate everything. Listen to the effortless odd time signatures and melodies combined within. To me they were the best of Zep and The Beatles along with other influences. They are severely underrated in part because of their willingness to stay underground and because a lot of their creative brilliance in writing and playing can be subtle at times.
Also keep an eye on a newer up and coming band from Sweden, Graveyard who I think are excellent and the best newer band. Rival Sons not far behind but a little too Zep heavy. Also could you elaborate on The Stones who are commonly referred to in many circles as the “world’s greatest rock and roll band”. Now I don’t agree with that except at one time they made a case during their “68-72” golden era. I don’t understand how you can say they predate music when The Beatles came before them and that they are not rock? They are definetly more rock and grittier over all then Beatles yet you cover them so just curious. How about Guns N Roses? I know their career was too short lived to qualify but do you think they had the potential? I think they had a chance if hadn’t lived by their debut album title literally. Tool is another band who someone could make a case for if they ever continue to release music again?
I think many fans like Led Zeppelin because of the overlord attitude in the group’s image, which many people rarely let themselves let out in their real lives. Thus when these fans listen or watch LZ, they on some subcomscious level watch themselves, or rather the ideals of themselves (when an artist capsules the ideals of a certain category of population, that category always appreciates it), the people fans always wanted to be (I’m not talking about musical abilities now). LZ somehow taught many people how to be somewhat over-confident. And even when LZ members are tolerant towards other musicians, many fans took their attitude to the limit, and from an overlord approach to music went to somewhat disdaining other artists, and reacting painfully to the criticising of their idols (because they think that criticising their idols means criticising fans themselves). Jack Bruce was a fine example (I wonder if some LZ fans were glad about Jack’s passing away some years later?) This approach is not uncommon for the Queen fans, by the way – it’s strange this group has been barely mentioned here.
I love Led Zeppelin, and often listen to their live records, which in my opinion reflects their music much better than their studio albums. But also I love listening to Grateful Dead, the Doors and Fleetwood Mac. In my opinion, these four bands were the essential live rock bands of all times, regarding the live evolution of their songs – Dark Star, Dazed And Confused, The End and The Green Manalishi, for instance. There was a lot of depth in their live music. Unfortunately, many LZ rarely seeked for depth in the music of their idols (and there’s a lot of it!), preferring to focus on their brutality, preferring their favourite music to “grab them by the throat”, as Iggy of the Stooges once said.
Didn’t want to hurt anyone. Thank you.
Jesus, Greg, this post is still getting comments. 2017!
I come here occasionally for old time’s sake. And to read some good writing.
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If you are a real mother fucken rocken roller, then you will reason with this motherfucker.
There is no fuckin way any other band will ever come close to fantastic heavy fucken blues rockin roll as Led Zeppelin. What I’m baffled with is why would anyone even question the genius of Page Plant Jones and Bonham. No band will ever surpass the heavy loud screamin rock innovation of the best band from the 20th century!!!!!!!!!!!!
Danimal (Half Man, Half Animal)
IRON FUCKING MAIDEN
Ok, dig. Comparing rock bands to each other is a bit of an exercise in futility.
The great thing about rock era music is that all the bands had something unique to offer and they were all quite identifiable, unlike the rock parody shit like kiss, Twisted Sister, GnR and all the other image laden hair band bullshit that came along after rock.
There is no best, because the criteria for best is not static. Bands like the Stones and CCR were great because they had groove and kickass rhythm sections. Zep were great because it was a band with four virtuosos. .
Just being a genius is not enough, which is proven by Frank Zappa. The guy had an IQ into the stratosphere, yet his music is boring as watching mist coagulate and run down a window.
Zep is the best some days. Other days CCR is best, Other days Deep Purple is best ( another band of virtuosos).
Music is not or at least should not be a competition, leave all that shit to the juvenile sports fans.
No doubt Led Zeppelin was the best band and so far ahead of whom ever is 2nd. Besides…
nobody ever looked cooler holding a guitar then
Jimmy Page. Especially in his prime.