Miss Pamela wrote:
I have the 1983 edition which, I guess, has a few changes. The review is by Billy Altman, quoted exactly:
That same review went on to say...(and I paraphrase):"...with the release of Led Zeppelin
, two things were made crystal clear-the sixties were over and spaced out heavy rock drove barely pubescent boys crazy."
"When Led Zeppelin's debut album appeared in 1969, the anticipation built up among knowledgeable music fans...was replaced by an equally king-sized disgust. Here was a band that, when not totally demolishing classic blues songs, was making a kind of music apparently designed to be enjoyed only when the listener was drugged to the point of senselessness. Page...had somehow made 2 very important discoveries: spaced-out heavy rock drove barely pubescent kids crazy; the Sixties were over. And so with virtually no critical support Led Zeppelin was soon the biggest new band on earth."
I'd been wanting to start a thread on a similar, but not identical, topic ... namely, why is there such an impression of 'hatred' or knee-jerk rejection of Led Zeppelin's music by a certain community / camp of music listeners who were in their teens-thru-thirties-or-thereabouts when the band originally became widely popular (circa 1969-1975)?
Some of it, sure, is due to critical ink - like the boldfaced sentence in the ^^above-quoted paragraph (which to me sums up much of the general/initial response), or other 'unthinking' reviews noted on this thread.
But my main question is -
why did so many 1960s-era rock music, and music-in-general, listeners seemingly, and/or steadfastly turn against or reject Led Zeppelin as a musical or even creative entity from almost the beginning?
As in - why wasn't Zep received the same way, on a broad basis, as were The Beatles?
Was the music too loud and/or obnoxious for them?
Was it devoid of perceived 'refinement' or redeeming value?
Some kind of 'hip' reference, relevance, or undertone was missing, for them?
Or maybe they just didn't like it. It wasn't to their taste. It rubbed them the wrong way.
Not only this - prominent rock musicians (in 'competing'
bands of similar stature) also made public statements at the time of not being able to 'get' Led Zeppelin's music. Keith Richards, Pete Townshend and Eric Clapton are all quoted in early-'70s interviews with sidelong comments about how the band's music was "too loud", "simplistic" or otherwise, in their view, pointless. (On the other hand, prominent musicians from Ike Turner, to Elton John, to George Harrison himself acknowledged some appreciation of what Led Zep was doing at the time ...)
So why wasn't Led Zeppelin, the musical successor in popularity terms anyway to The Beatles, afforded similar 'acceptance'?
(then it diverted & degenerated into not just how Led Zep was "too loud" or "simplistic" but further into how they "ripped off every old bluesman", they "weren't original" or weren't "pure/real blues", the 'satanism' accusations, "a supergroup conspiracy concocted entirely by record company corporate interests"
, on-tour/backstage antics, and all other forms of detractions and distractions ... a lot of this was to do with how the band, at the outset had to choose its own battle with certain elements of the press for positive portrayals; and on later tours would devote more effort just to PR.)
Now in a way I can understand how some of the music of Led Zeppelin doesn't get the kind of 'universal' appeal that a Beatles tune like "Hey Jude" or something like that might (although for a different generation of listeners, songs like "Stairway" have a similarly broad meaning or identification factor) .... or that as great as LZ's impact was, nothing in modern music can ever approach or reproduce the impact & moment in time that The Beatles had on the world of music in the years 1964-66.
Part of this is the songs themselves: one of the main reasons The Beatles and Dylan became so universally acknowledged, is that their compositions were adapted and performed by countless contemporary & popular music artists, at that time. Led Zep's music, being so much a product of the 4-piece ensemble itself, the unique way in which the LP albums were presented/recorded/arranged, and the band's own live performances, doesn't lend itself easily to wide re-interpretation in this manner. (So right there: you've alienated a big demographic of 'mainstream' 1960s-era critics and music listeners who could potentially "identify" with Zep in such a second-hand way.)
But still - there seem to be a core group of listeners and music fans who simply will never cross the Led Zeppelin line (primarily drawn by them). It's not music that they embrace, or consider 'worthy'.
Musicians are also included. So many musicians (not of the celebrity-popstar variety) still find one way or another to explain why Page can't play guitar, Bonham can't play drums compared to so-and-so or someone-or-other ... "that's not music."
and of course, there's no accounting for taste.
And then again, there's a whole lot of cognoscenti/classic-era rock & music fans (and musicians too) who do love Zep and always have from the very beginning in '68 (even if they hadn't been big Yardbirds fans at the time, or whatever). So it seems to be very polarized.
Anyway, these kinds of comments by their contemporaries are important to look at from the pre-1975 era in particular
(by what mainstream rock, or the music biz / music fans / musicians in general were 'saying about' Led Zep in the post
-1975 era you'll get a variety of 'post-modern' interpretations & perspective to how their music inspired a punk backlash, and further from that to the post-punk era where actual inspiration is drawn, and openly acknowleged as such, from their music itself).
Although, in the very early 1970s - let's say from about 1970 to 1972-3ish - it seems as though English bands like Led Zep, Pink Floyd (and a few others) had such a strong, but underground, following that there was a whole new generation, and large number, of post-Beatles music fans who were not being fully 'accounted for' by the mainstream press. Also remember the Glam Rock wave of '72-'73 which swept the UK and then US; not to mention progressive rock ... all the things happening in funk/soul, reggae, and jazz. a time of upheaval for popular music.
There's a quote (which is reproduced in Paul Kendall's Led Zeppelin In Their Own Words
) from Jimmy Page about this, from some mid-'70s UK music paper interview iirc, in which he says something to the effect of, he's just glad that due to relative lack of 'mainstream' commercial appeal, fans do connect with & appreciate the music:
" ... bands like us and - I hate to say it but, The Floyd - we're off into our own little bits."
(iirc ^this quote may be from a 1976-or-later era interview in which Page is perhaps, in part, being asked about the impact of the punk wave on LZ ... don't have the In Their Own Words
As I also made comment on a couple of the newspaper reviews (from California shows, researched by blackmikito) posted in What Place To Rest The Search forum: in the 1969-'71ish era especially, it seemed as though the typical local concert reviewer was not even equipped to hear
what music the band was actually playing ... it's often just portrayed as an inaudible 'noise' or whatever; then, having failed to recognize or discern what's being done in a musical sense the reviewer will begin making comments/going into a dissertation on the concertgoers themselves, or even veering off topic into how 'depraved' or 'beneath' them today's pop/rock music is in general ... how inspiring these writers/pundits of the time found LZ's music, indeed.
and as we know, in the 1969-72 era (esp. in the US but also in Europe as well) there was 'unrest' among the 'youth' which the newspapers/media seemed generally obliged to report on in connection with 'rock concerts'; and were more than happy to associate such disturbances with the very nature of the music itself.