Saturday, June 17, 2006

Twenty-Five Years Gone

Originally Written: Sunday, September 25, 2005

Today marks 25 years since the death of John Bonham and the end of Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin is perhaps unique, with the exception of The Beatles in the fact that they decided to end it and go out on top. A wise move as no one would have been able to fill Mr. Bonham's drum stool. Think of them as the anti-Rolling Stones if you will. John was a family man who hated touring and the rock star lifestyle. He preferred to go to the local pub and talk to the other farmers about how everybody's crops were doing. He didn't just own a farm, when he wasn't recording or touring he worked his farm. It brought him a lot of pride and fulfillment. He raised prize winning cows that brought him as much joy as his gold records. There are many stories of his outbursts of anger but for the most part he was depressed about being away from his family. Everyone who knew him described him as a warm and giving person.

Led Zeppelin had one of the most varied list of influences imaginable. Bonham and Jones were into Soul, R&B, and Jazz. Plant loved Blues, West coast psychedelia, pop, and Indian Music. Page was fascinated by Blues, Early Rock N' Roll, Folk music, and world music. When people call them the first Heavy Metal band that's an insult. No heavy metal band has their knowledge of music history or their ability to play just about any type of music they decided to attempt. How many band could have played blues, folk, hard rock, punk, reggae, country, and pop? Add to all of those the songs that simply defy categorization.

In interviews both in 1980 and since every band member has admitted that they felt that the band was stagnating and they were hungry to explore new directions and conquer new territory. Were they on the verge of another great period or were they about to head down a creative dead end? We'll never know, but my money's on it having been a huge success. They were always risk takers. Even ending the band was a brave move. They had to know that none of them would ever achieve that level of success as individuals. They never won a Grammy during the band's time, they have since been honored with a Lifetime Achievement award.

No comments: