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  • [music]

  • [John Covach] It's been 45 years since Led Zeppelin

  • released the first two albums Led Zeppelin I was released in the first half

  • of 1969 Led Zeppelin II

  • was released in the second half of '69. In many ways Led Zeppelin's music is

  • defined historically by the fourth album from 1971

  • because it has "Stairway to Heaven" on it. "Stairway to Heaven" is one of those songs

  • that people have said

  • is probably playing on the radio every second

  • of every day and has been since it was released. A real

  • iconic song in the rock repertory. And while

  • Led Zeppelin very much defined the 1970s in rock-and-roll

  • the roots of the group's sound and many of the important influence can really be found in

  • the second half of the 1960s.

  • [music: "A Whole Lotta Love"]

  • So the first two albums

  • really do show a lot of the range of what

  • Led Zeppelin was. They are essentially a group that came out

  • of the British blues rock tradition having come out of

  • the Yardbirds, and so there are hardly are any songs really on the first four

  • Led Zeppelin albums that cannot be attributed

  • in the one way shape or form to a previous blues number.

  • [music: guitar solo]

  • When we think about that second

  • Led Zeppelin album coming out at the second half of nineteen sixty-nine

  • it made it number one in the American charts, but

  • people don't realize that the album that it was fighting with for the number one slot

  • was Abbey Road. Some would think of as The Beatles sort of finest

  • achievement recording wise, and Led Zeppelin which was really

  • a fantastic record coming from an entirely different kind of blues influence kind

  • of place. We don't typically think of Led Zeppelin as really duking it out with The Beatles,

  • but in fact that really was the case in the second half of 1969.

  • [music: baseline from beginning of "How Many More TImes]

  • It's especially in the live shows that you really get a sense of who Led

  • Zeppelin were

  • as musicians. In fact, the studio recordings only capture a

  • kind of boiled down version of what Led Zeppelin music was. They would do shows

  • that lasted four hours, in which songs would be stretched out

  • with long jams and bringing in other kind of material. And so Led Zeppelin live

  • was really an almost kind of Grateful Dead

  • kind of experience. [music: first notes of "Heartbreaker"]

  • Many rock historians think of Led Zeppelin as being

  • one of the proto heavy metal

  • groups. In other words, something like "Whole Lotta Love" or "Heartbreaker" really

  • kind of define

  • what heavy metal is going to become into the 1970s and especially into

  • the '80s when really divides itself out

  • from the rest of the rock mainstream. And I think that's probably right but

  • it's also important to

  • to think about the fact that when that Led Zeppelin first came out in '69

  • with those first two records

  • most critics didn't think they were very good at all.

  • It's amazing to read those reviews of those first records and to think that

  • these critics that this music was terrible

  • and it would never survive and it turned out to be some of the most iconic

  • records in the history of

  • rock music.


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45 Years of Led Zeppelin

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    Mustard Chen posted on 2015/03/20
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