thinking about this thread
. But still
havenâ€™t pulled my thoughts together in an acceptable fashion. In the meantime, though, recalling julyâ€™s original post which prompted the more interesting elements of this thread ...
the gist of what july73 wrote:
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 ... 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? ...
Below is an excerpt from a well-known Rolling Stone
article, located here: http://www.rollingstone.com/news/covers ... lin/page/2
. Bolded text is my emphasis.
The band members ... played a few nights at London's Marquee, to largely good reviewsâ€”and then the easy times stopped. In November, Grant visited New York, where he won Zeppelin a $200,000 advance from Atlantic Recordsâ€”an unprecedented amount for a new act whose first album nobody had yet heard. Even more important, though, were the contract terms that Grant secured: Essentially, Led Zeppelin held all the control. They alone would decide when they would release albums and tour, and they had final say over the contents and design of each album. They also would decide how much they would do to promote each release (not that much beyond tours, though those would be extensive) and which tracks to select as singles (Grant and the band wanted none). A major band would be working for itself, not for a company or for management (Led Zeppelin had no contract with Grant).
However, the Atlantic deal created an image problem for Led Zeppelin that they never got past. The political sensibilities that had emerged in the mix of the counterculture, the underground press and the new rock culture held a great deal of mistrust of and contempt for power and wealth. The band's large advance and its contract cast it as mercenaries in the view of many critics. Even though they were an essentially unknown quantity, Led Zeppelin were being termed a "hype."
All of this took place before anybody had heard Led Zeppelin's first album. Once that changed, it was love or hate, and little in between.
The Atlantic deal had rubbed enough tastemakers on the British scene the wrong way that Grant couldn't get the bookings that he wanted in England. The band played a few dates at London's Marquee, but there were complaints that it was too loud. Grant decided to send the band to America insteadâ€”though this was possibly his intent all along...
Midway through that first U.S. tour, on January 12th, the group's first album, Led Zeppelin, was released in the U.S. It was pretty much unlike anything else. The arrangements were more sculpted than those of Cream or Jimi Hendrix, and the musicianship wasn't cumbersome like Iron Butterfly's or bombastic like Vanilla Fudge's. The closest comparisons might be to MC5 or the Stoogesâ€”both from Michiganâ€”yet neither had the polish or prowess of Led Zeppelin, nor did Led Zeppelin have the political, social or die-hard sensibility of those landmark bands. What they did have, though, was the potential for a mass audience. Young record buyers loved the album, but there were others who did not.
This had to do with various concernsâ€”the hype claim, a conviction that Led Zeppelin were another white British band exploiting black musical formsâ€”but what bothered critics the most about Led Zeppelin was the sound, which was seen as a manifestation of anger and male aggression. Critic Jon Landau described a Boston show as "loud . . . violent and often insane." Plus, there was a trickier element: This was a younger audience than the one that had embraced the cultural and political epiphanies of the 1960s artists. Landau again: "Zeppelin forced a revival of the distinction between popularity and quality. As long as the bands most admired aesthetically were also the bands most successful commercially (Cream, for instance), the distinction was irrelevant. But Zeppelin's enormous commercial success, in spite of critical opposition, revealed the deep division in what was once thought to be a homogeneous audience. That division has now evolved into a clearly defined mass taste and a clearly defined elitist taste."
Historically, RS has been no friend of Zeppelin, so one must read anything they publish with a critical eye. That said, perhaps there is quite a bit of truth to this portion of the RS article, especially given the date of its publication (July 28, 2006) and the fact that RSâ€™s â€œrevisionistâ€ album reviews of LZ have become much kinder than the ones originally published. All in all, one canâ€™t help but wonder if this is RSâ€™s unstated apology and explanation for why they
dissed Zeppelin early on. In so doing, their mea culpa
may prove illuminating to the general question raised by july.
You can read this excerpt and judge for yourself its relevance to july's question. But if there is truth in its content (and almost certainly there is at least some truth there), among other things to consider is the irony of the thought that Peter Grantâ€™s negotiation prowess helped doom Zeppelin from the start in terms of critical success and acceptance by the â€œtastemakers.â€ Sometimes history turns on simple and singular events. Whether or not that is the case here we'll never know, but it's kind of funny to think that Zeppelin's problems with the critics might never have happened if they'd had a less competent manager!