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Transcript of Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin played heavier, guitar-driven rock. Their early music revolved around simple riffing and lyrics about love and love making. As they progressed as a band and individual musicians, they diversified their sound, playing softer pieces and songs out of their musical niche, such as Bron Yr Aur, Trampled Under Foot, and Carouselambra. Their music became more intricate over time while Jimmy Page experimented with different playing styles and the lyrics dealt with a variety of topics, involving much metaphor and symbolism.
Biography Part I
Led Zeppelin is a band that is recognized as being the originator
of metal music when they formed in 1968. Their albums from 1969 to 1975
were greatly influenced by a variety of musical genres. For example, the blues, folk, rock and roll, psychedelic rock, Celtic, Indian and Arabic. There were other influences on their music, such as the fantasy novels of J.R.R Tolkien. The band’s lyrics quote text directly from a few of Tolkien’s novels, such as The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings.
Worldly and political events also influenced Led Zeppelin, such as the Vietnam War, Watergate, and Stagflation. Blues artists Skip James, Muddy Waters , Robert Johnson and Howlin' Wolf all had tremendous impact on Led Zeppelin especially in the production of their first two self titled albums albums.
Jimmy page says " I'd have to say my main blues influences was Howlin' Wolf, and his stuff wasn't just straight groove, playing on the beat, either. I loved his voice and the sheer intensity of the music as well as the timing of it. I've often thought that in the way the Stones tried to be the sons of Chuck Berry, we tried to be the sons of Howlin' Wolf."
Country blues similar to Howlin’ Blues Scottish folk guitarist Bert Jansch helped inspire Page, and from him Page adapted open tunings and aggressive strokes into his playing.
In Led Zeppelin III, in particular, the band incorporated elements of mythology and mysticism into their music, which largely grew out of Plant's interest
in legends and history.
"Traveling Riverside Blues "
1. Who is the lead singer of Led Zeppelin? (select all that apply)
a) Robert Plant
b) Jimmy Page
c) John Bonham
d) John Paul Jones
Whether you’re a fan of rock music or not, you’ve probably heard many of Led Zeppelin’s most common hits, be it “Stairway to Heaven”, “Whole Lotta Love”, “Kashmir” “Ramble On” or “Achilles’ Last Stand.”
Beginning with a historical biography of Led Zeppelin, we will examine the musical styling, influence, significance, and legacy of the band to develop an understanding and appreciation of their impact on the music industry both past and present.
We’re going to dig deep and examine a number of factors regarding the British rock band to reveal what truly makes Led Zeppelin so important and to understand what allowed them to dominate the music scene of the 1970s.
List the names of all members of Led Zeppelin
Identify and understand the primary factors and musicians that influenced Led Zeppelin
Briefly describe the musical style of Led Zeppelin
Understand and recognize the lasting influences of Led Zeppelin on music and pop culture
Key Terms and Concepts
Recognize and understand the following:
Led Zeppelin is described as “the perfect combination of the most intense elements: passion and mystery and expertise”
. Led Zeppelin entered the global music scene with their first self-titled album in January of 1969 under Atlantic Records. The British band, originally named “The New Yardbirds”, consisted of lead singer Robert Plant, bassist John Paul Jones, drummer John Bonham, and guitarist Jimmy Page.
In their first year, Led Zeppelin completed four US tours, four UK tours, and released their second and third albums, Led Zeppelin II and Led Zeppelin III. By 1971, Led Zeppelin had become arguably the biggest and most influential band in the world, famed for their musical blend of hard rock, psychedelic blues and English folk
. 1971 also marked the release of the group’s fourth chart-topping album, Led Zeppelin IV. The band’s fame and popularity grew throughout the decade, superseding even that of the Rolling Stones.
Biography Part II
In 1980, drummer John Bonham died as the result of substance abuse. Drugs were a familiar issue among the band members, as well as many other musicians at the time. After the death of Bonham, Led Zeppelin issued a public statement that said, “We wish it be known that the loss of our dear friend, and the deep sense of undivided harmony felt by ourselves and our manager, have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were” and with that, the band dissolved.
Following this tragedy, the band has held several reunion performances with John Bonham’s son, Jason, playing the drums. Led Zeppelin’s influential music earned them countless awards and achievements, as well as a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.
Today, Led Zeppelin’s music lives on as powerful and influential rock that inspires countless musicians today.
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Led Zeppelin became influential in the use of “stadium rock” alongside bands like The Rolling Stones and Grand Funk Railroad, in which large venues and sporting stadiums were used for performances, and very often sold out. As a result Led Zeppelin had a significant influence on the music business and the way that rock concerts were managed and presented to large audiences.
It is for their contribution to both music and pop culture that Led Zeppelin is considered “as influential in that decade [the 1970s] as the Beatles were in the prior one.”
Led Zeppelin covered Robert Johnson’s “Traveling Riverside Blues” in 1969. John Paul Jones said, “The very thing Zeppelin was about was that there were absolutely no limits. We all had ideas, and we’d use everything we came across, whether it was folk,
country music, blues, Indian, Arabic.”
The music of Led Zeppelin has been a “crowning achievement in the genre of hard rock/ heavy metal and the band must be considered one of the most important of all time.”
Led Zeppelin defined the genre of heavy metal and became the ultimate benchmark of the genre’s sound and style; this is clearly seen in the number of artists that recognize Led Zeppelin as influencing their music and can be heard in the music of countless other bands and musicians. Led Zeppelin’s unique style facilitated an equally unique listening experience known as album-oriented rock. As a result, Led Zeppelin refused to release their popular songs as singles.
Led Zeppelin has created a legacy of absolutely epic proportions by influencing not only the music scene, but pop culture as a whole. To this day, the music of Led Zeppelin is regarded as the epitome of rock and roll and has served to inspire innumerable artists. It is impossible to chronicle the list of artists that have been influenced by the legendary rock band; however, several artists have cited Led Zeppelin as sources of inspiration in their music. This includes Stone Temple Pilots, Guns ‘n Roses, Van Halen, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Audioslave, The White Stripes, and Rush to name a few.
Led Zeppelin also became influential in the later development of alternative rock and grunge among bands such as The Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana , Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.
Led Zeppelin’s legacy and influence has been widely recognized earning the band a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award as well permanent places in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Grammy Hall of fame among their numerous accolades.
There is no question that Led Zeppelin was, and in fact still is, one of the greatest rock bands the world has ever seen.
Since I've Been Loving You
2. What band was not discussed as being as influenced by Led Zeppelin?
a) The White Stripes
b) Stone Temple Pilots
c) The Lumineers
d) Pearl Jam
3. What was the name of the band before they were called Led Zeppelin?
a) The Night Owls
b) The New Yard Birds
c) The Ebony Falcons
d) The Seahawks
e) The Hawkeyes
4. What genre had one of the most significant musical influences on Led Zeppelin?
c) Big Band
5. Which political event was not discussed as having influenced Led Zeppelin?
b) Vietnam War
c) Cold War
d) JFK assassination
“Since I’ve Been Loving You” was track four on side one of the album, “Led Zeppelin III” which was released October 5, 1970. This track was recorded in the studio live. The fact that they used minimal overdubbing made the track one of the hardest to record.
Page became frustrated after multiple failed attempts to record the guitar solo. He then utilized an unplugged amplifier to record the solo that has been described as the “best guitar solo of all time” by their audio engineer, Terry Manning.
This song is also infamous for the presence of the “Squeak King”, which was the pedal Bonham used for the recording.
This song show cases each band member's talents individually, but in a way that also complements the others. It also expresses how blues is embedded in rock. Page plays around on the minor pentatonic for the entire song, following Plant's singing with simple licks. The lyrics are about his love life, which is a common theme for the blues. Bonham holds back for most of the song while playing a swing beat on a closed high hat, but makes his presence known as the song builds up through his fills. And Jones, the star of the show, once again shows that he is more than just a bass player as he performs a complex bass part on the organ with one hand and fills in the organ part with the other. The variations in the volume and intensity throughout the song can reflect the mix of emotions the speaker feels toward his lover.
1. What influence does Led Zeppelin have on your own musical playlist, either directly or artists that are influenced by Led Zeppelin?
2. In your opinion, what is Led Zeppelin’s greatest contribution to music and/or pop culture?
Led Zeppelin had a tremendous role in defining style and masculinity both in pop culture as well as among musicians. The "quintessential purveyors of cock rock" dominated the music scene with a style of rock that emphasized an aggressive form of masculinity.
This style laid the foundations for hard-rock and big hair bands of the 1980's including Motley Crue , Skid Row and Quiet Riot.
Review Questions Answers
Images and Videos Used
1. Unknown Author. [Print Photo]. ZOSO. Retrieved from http://wall.alphacoders.com/big.php?i=246085
2. Ritchie, L. (Photographer). (2013). Darkness [Print Photo]. Retrieved from http://www.musiceffect.com/cemetery/john_bonham/
3.Arthur, B. (Photographer). (1970). Led zeppelin [Print Photo]. Retrieved from http://www.last.fm/music/Led Zeppelin/ images/279035
4.Brady. (Photographer). (2014, 01 9). 13-Year-Old Jimmy Page Plays Guitar on British TV in 1957 [Print Photo]. Retrieved from http://www.classicrock965.com/13-Year-Old-Jimmy-Page-Plays-Guitar-on-British-TV-/17896962?pid=375565
5.Snapja, M. (2011). Since i've been loving you [Web]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= 5QuGiMAEqE8
6. James, C. (Photographer). (2012). The howlin wolf [Print Photo]. Retrieved from http://www.howlinwolffoundation.com/howlin_wolf_foundation http://www.howlinwolffoundation.com/howlin_wolf_foundation
7.Rider, C. (Photographer). (2013, 09 12). Skip james [Print Photo]. Retrieved from http://ccriderblues.com/skip-james/
8.Different, M. (Photographer). (2014, 01 26). Muddy Waters – Live Dortmund, Germany [Print Photo]. Retrieved from http://differentmusic.net/muddy-waters-live-dortmund-germany/
9.Henderson, E. (2008). Led zeppelin - travelling riverside blues [Web]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtEAp- Rybl0
10.Hunter, W. (Photographer). (1973). Led zeppelin acoustic [Print Photo]. Retrieved from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/24/Led_Zeppelin_acoustic_1973.jpg
11.Kostur, K. (Photographer). (1975). Led zeppelin L.A. [Print Photo]. Retrieved from http://userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/500/23981001/Led Zeppelin 19700327_LA.jpg
In the order they appear
By Daniel Oberg, Cassandra Sondershausen, and Hayley James
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