England - Full Moon 151 - 01/11/09
Following up our retroscope series of 2006 and 2007 - here's the New Speakers' corner! Luna Kafé's focused eye on great events, fantastic happenings, absolute milestones, or other curious incidents from the
history of rock. This album met the world 40 years ago tomorrow.
In 1968 Led Zeppelin raised from the "ashes" of The Yardbirds and The New Yardbirds. And, as the phrase goes: the rest is history. The four lads were both young and experienced at the time of their debut. Jimmy Page (who turned 65 last Friday), the oldest, was 25 at the time, Robert Plant and John Bonham were
only 21, while John Paul Jones was 23. There's been a lot of fuss the last couple of years about a possible reunion. In 1985, Page, Plant and Jones reunited for Live Aid (with Phil Collins as one of the drummers). Three years later the troika reunited for the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert, with Bonham's
son, Jason, on drums. In 1994, Page and Plant "reunited" for MTV's unplugged series, resulting in "UnLedded" (No Quarter: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded). And, finally, the band reunited for a one-off benefit gig in December 2007, again with Jason Bonham in the back. In 2007 another compilation,
Mothership, appeared, and last year a 4LP box, 180 g vinyl edition, of The Songs Remains The Same was released. It seems Led Zeppelin will never go out of style.
Anyhow, January 12th 1969 Led Zeppelin was released, with the Hindenburg up in flames on its cover. In retrospect I find the album, well, not good, but not bad either. It's an indeed bluesy album, as Led Zeppelin started as a rhythm'n'blues band, with two covers of old blues man Willie Dixon. Blues has never been my cup of tea, but as a youngster
I accepted everything when hearing Led Zeppelin. "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" is a trad. song, arranged by Page, and with Plant giving his heart and soul expressing the core of the song. The later live favourite "Dazed and Confused" is among the legends of the Led Zeppelin song book, along with another favourite, "Communication Breakdown". A way cool song. Page's folk-stomp "Black Mountain Side" is the first of many folk songs to come, being fine contrasts to their hairy power-rock. The album's closer, "How Many More Times" is another fine moment, and all of a sudden I realise...yes, Led Zeppelin is a classic.
Led Zeppelin marked the start of a new era of the dirigible, and the take-off for a mothership which should turn really big and heavy through the 1970s. Before the final crashlanding with Bonzo's death in 1980.
Well, I'm not longing for a reunion (reunions should be banned, or/and held in small circle of friends only!), and I'm cheering Plant's decision of not to join up with Page, Jones and Bonham Jr.
Copyright © 2009 Håvard Oppøyen