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Monday, October 04, 2004

LED ZEPPELIN III

First Off I'd like to say that I've spent the better part of twenty years convinced that Led Zeppelin was over rated. This stems from two things: Robert Plant is just way too effeminate on stage, and his lyrics at times are just plain bad (Dancin' Days, Ramble On...). It seems I'm always reading about his testosterone levels, I see no eveidence of anything resembling machismo from Plant. And secondly, when I was a teenager, Led Zeppelin was hugely popular with the Trans Am and muscle shirt crowd (hard guys) at my semi-rural high school. In short, Zeppelin was just not cool. Having said that; I love Led Zeppelin III. I always have. My brother Rod got it for me for christams '79, and I listened to it endlessly that year (along with RUSH '2112', Nazareth 'Hair Of The Dog', and Ted Nugent 'Double Live Gonzo'). What's great about this record is the departure from the formula set by Zeppelin I and II. The first two records were essentially 'live' blues jams, and although they finally nailed that appraoch with 'Since I've Been Loving You' on Zeppelin III, they spend the majority of the record exploring acoustic textures, and more exotic and folk styles of writing and performing. 'That's The Way' (my all time fave), 'Tangerine', 'Freinds', and 'Celebration Day' bring a freshness to the Zeppelin that's unmatched in my opinion, with the exception of 'Battle Of Evermore' on the fourth record. During the past twenty years as I was poo-pooing the Zeppelin thing to anyone who would listen, I was often heard saying that I would prefer to listen to John Bohnam play the drums by himself. Now, I admit that's a gross overstatement. Bonham is/was/and always shall be king-god behing the kit, but, and I'm saying this for the first time here people, Jimmy Page is deservant of all the accolades he gets ("the guitarist I like is Jimmy Page"-Mike D). Although Page is often a bit sloppy, it's not due to lack of talent, it's because he has no fear, he just goes for it, and if he mis-frets here and there, well then that's all just part of the game for him. John Paul Jones is probably the most underated rock musician of his time, and Jimmy and Robert would do well to remember his monsterous contribuition the next time they reasssemble. Via the bass, keyboards, and exotic stringed instruments, he layed down the tapestry uopn which they froliced. So, yeah, Zepplein is cool, they do rock, but 'III' is where its' at.

Comments:
I was turned on to Led Zep in the 7th grade in 1977 at the very beginning of my album buying life (albums vs. singles which I had been buying for years, picking them up for 90 cents at the local K-Mart). Most of my progressive friends, those who were already smoking pot, were all over the Zep thing. I did enjoy Zep's music then, but liked the Nugent/Aerosmith thing more. Always bought Zep Albums, they just didn't make the heavy rotation loop on mine and my brothers turn table all that often because as you noted, you could always get your fill of it from our mutual townie friends.

The one Zep record I did go nuts over however was "Presence". I traded a Kiss album for it in 8th grade and what a deal that was. "Presence" is a great album end to end. III is great as well, but I too get tired of the JR Tolken regurgitation after awhile. Check out "Presence" and see what you think, especially "Tea for One". Page at his best in my opinion.

As an adult, I like the first album the best. "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" is Nobel Prize worthy and Plant doesn't spoil anything with his crap lyrical tendency. Bonham, Page, and Jones should have grabbed Rod Stewart or Paul Rodgers in the beginning. It would have been an even better band.
 
If you listen to Jeff Beck's Truth, you can hear what might have been for Led Zep. I'll check out Prescence again, it has all the ear marks of a good Zep LP, you never hear it on the radio! 'Your Time Is Gonna Come' is a truly great Rock moment.
 
Great Blog once again...

I agree with the comment about Beck's "truth"... It's actually the only Rod Stewart Music I like.

My favorite Zep is a tie between Zep III and Physical G.

Whenever I think I'm sick of my music collection I read one of your blogs and end up getting reaquanted with some of my old purchases...

Been listening to a lot of UFO live and because of today's blog I just dug up my Naz, "hair of the dog" And I owe it all to you dude :).
 
Oh shit, i feel a Nazareth blog comin' on. Stay tuned.....
 
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