Today we mourn the death of a great band, Led Zeppelin, at the hands of big bad Classic Rock Radio. Sure, you could look at a couple tracks on the following list like “eh, that’s not overplayed; I wish my station would play that one.” And that illustrates the point. The fact that we can all think of more than 10 Led Zeppelin songs that are so overplayed says something about classic rock radio.
- Stairway To Heaven
- Black Dog
- Communication Breakdown
- Whole Lotta Love
- Immigrant Song
- Fool in the Rain
- D’yer Mak’er
- All My Love
- Dancing Days and Heartbreaker (tie)
I remember when my brother got In Through The Outdoor on vinyl as a Bar Mitzvah gift. I spent a lot time obsessing on how the front and back covers were related.
I also remember hearing “Kashmir” on classic rock radio a lot when I was little. My dad and brother were musicians (I was just a drummer) and we used to listen and count and try to figure out the deal…. we thought the song was in 7/8 timing, but there was always something weird about it that messed with us. Turns out the guitars were essentially playing a riff in 3/4 while the drums were still in 4/4. Or not. Who knows….
Led Zeppelin had it all. The mystique… the albums named simply with numbers. Till the 4th one, which was so legendary and bad ass that it didn’t have a title. Or it was self-titled. It had nicknames. Like Led Zeppelin IV and Zoso. And of course the song “Stairway to Heaven” was on that album. It was never actually officially released as a single and it is among the most played songs in radio history.
Then they started naming their albums and the titles were as killer as the tunes. Houses of the Holy. Physical Graffiti (which contained the song “Houses of the Holy”). Presence, which by the way is a great and vastly underrated album.
Now, thanks to Classic Rock Radio, they’ve been reduced to a cliché of riffs. How embarrassingly sad it is to see a grown man at a bar turn to his drinking buddy and scream out “Hey hey mamma say the way you move” and “been along time since-a rock’nROLL!” Radio made Led Zeppelin annoying by ramming it down our throats in succession with Boston, Elton John, The Eagles, Billy Joel, Heart, Bob Seger, Steve Miller, and Phil Collins everyday until we took Led Zeppelin’s awesomeness for granted.
So now we don’t think much about Led Zeppelin. We casually toss them aside because we’re “bored” with them. Or because we can only take Robert Plant’s voice in small doses. Or we just dismiss them as blues-ripoff artists… Thanks a lot, Classic Rock Radio. You ruined one of the best fucking bands in the world and you continue to stab its corpse everyday, once an hour, and every night when you “Get the Led Out.”
*Ah… but what about “Kashmir”?? The legendary “KASHMIR,” it should be in caps… with it’s promise of “all will be revealed.” Its otherworldly sound. We do owe radio one small thanks: they actually played “Kashmir” for us. It’s the kind of long weird cool song that they usually would fail to play. Sure they overplayed it, but we didn’t mind. It’s the one song on the list that is resistant to being played to death. Of course, some people think “Kashmir” is overrated. Maybe it is. Technically, The Beatles are “overrated” but that doesn’t mean they aren’t any good. But “Kashmir” reminds us that the Mighty Mysterious Led Zeppelin is still great, mighty, and mysterious. “Kashmir” lets us know that there’s more out there beyond “Black Dog” and “Stairway.”
The songs don’t have to remain the same.
With that in mind…. Here’s a bonus:
Top 10 Awesome Zeppelin Things That Cant Be Killed
1. The BBC Sesssions (2-disc live set)
2. How the West Was Won (3-disc live set)
3. 1973 5-18 Dallas, Texas (soundboard recording)
4. 1975 2-12 Madison Square Garden, NY (matrix of soundboard and audience recording)
5. 1977 4-27 Cleveland, OH (soundboard recording)
6. 1977-6-19 San Diego, CA (soundboard recording)
7. JOHN BONHAM (as should be apparent by all the live recordings listed above, the true awesome power of Led Zeppelin is best felt/heard on the live shows, not single songs on the radio. And the genius and raw talent of John Bonham is big reason why. Y’know, we learned that he drank himself to death so you expect him to be sloppy or something but he is an amazing monster and I mean that in the best possible way. So, no, John Bonham can’t be killed.)
8. Physical Graffiti
10. The Possibility of a Led Zeppelin reunion tour with Jason Bonham on drums