Remembered: Led Zeppelin

The 70s and 80s was an era of and the introduction of Heavy Metal. One of the leading bands who helped introduce and make heavy metal popular was Led Zeppelin.

Led Zeppelin was an English rock band formed in 1968 by Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham. Prior to being labeled Led Zeppelin, the group came together as “The Yardbirds” a band that Eric Clapton once played lead guitar for. After Clapton left, the band later reformed under a new name, came to America and before long sold over 200 million albums worldwide including 111.5 million certified units in the United States. The band Led Zeppelin also ranked #1 on VH1′s 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock.
Led Zeppelin released their first album in 1969 during their first U.S. tour. The album was considered a nice blend of blues, folk and eastern influences.

They were also described as the heaviest band of all time by Rolling Stone. Many even suggest that Led Zeppelin’s album “Led Zeppelin II” wrote the blueprint for heavy metal bands. The title and genre assigned to Led Zeppelin of heavy metal had Plant concerned who at the time was afraid it would typecast the group. Plant said it was unfair for Led Zeppelin to be labeled heavy metal as a third of their music was acoustic. Then, as now, the definition of heavy metal was music that has its roots in blues-rock and/or psychedelic rock. It is also characterized by amplified distortion, extended guitar solos and lyrics associated with masculinity and machismo.

While the label “Led Zeppelin II” gave the band its heavy metal genre, “Led Zeppelin IV” showed off the band’s unique talents. The album included songs such as “Black Dog, “Going to California”, and “Rock and Roll.” The album proved to be the band’s best selling history thanks mostly to the track “Stairway To Heaven”.

Stairway to Heaven, the most requested song by the band, was played at every tour from its release in 1971. The song was voted number three in 2000 by VH1 on its list of 100 Greatest Rock Songs.

The song was also considered controversial as some Christian evangelists suggested that it had hidden messages in the song that were masked. The technique, they said, was called backward masking and hid messages about Satanism. Some stated that in the section of the song where lyrics say “If there’s a bustle in your hedgegrow, don’t be alarmed now”, if played backward stated “Here’s to my sweet Satan” and “I sing because I live with Satan”. The band ignored such claims stating that their ‘turntables only play in one direction, forward, and that it would be a silly waste of time to record something like this.

What was Led Zeppelin’s biggest musical influence when first getting started that made them such a success? Certainly all the talent of Bonham, Jones, Page and Plant didn’t hurt. Some state that with Page’s layered guitar work, Plant’s upper-timber vocals, Jones’ melodic bass playing and keyboard work along with Bonham’s thunderous drumming created alchemy, how could they go wrong.

It was after the death of drummer John Bonham that the group disbanded in the early 1980s. Robert Plant went on to launch his solo career and Jimmy Page formed “The Firm with former Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers. John Paul Jones began producing, arranging and scoring music.

The group did rejoin in 2007 for a concert in London. Surviving members along with deceased drummer John Bonham’s son Jason performed. Whether the group performs again or not, it is hard to tell. But it certainly has already left a lifetime long legacy.