What’s So Great About Led Zeppelin Anyway…?
Do you remember the movie “Wayne’s World”?
The scene where Wayne and Garth go into a guitar shop then as Wayne picks up a guitar and starts to play the beginning to “Stairway To Heaven” the salesman stops him pointing to a sign on the wall that reads “no Stairway”. Wayne decries “denied”.
We all got the joke.
Stairway to Heaven was so popular that it had been played to death.
It was like the boy that cried wolf, it had become so common place and almost tedious to hear that it was easy to forget that it was actually a great song.
Along with “Smoke On The Water” I’d heard Stairway too many times to take it seriously so subsequently I never got into Led Zeppelin during their day.
I’d actually never heard a Led Zeppelin album all the way through! but when I started teaching guitar it seemed that all of my students wanted to learn Led Zeppelin songs.
I was bewildered at first but I soon thought that I should find out what the fuss was about so I went out and bought their first 5 albums.
As I listened to them I could see why they were so popular. I learnt a lot of their songs and teaching really reinforced my knowledge of Led Zeppelin’s repertoire.
Over the years I’ve done all sorts of gigs in all kinds of venues.
Apart from my “Guitar Heroes” I’ve played with quite a few singers.
A Led Zeppelin Stairway To Heaven Request (Not Denied!)
One of those singers, James, had a huge voice, a huge repertoire of Pop songs and played to backing tracks and he’d have me play the guitar solos, it was a lot of fun but he was no Led Zep or hard rock guy.
On one occasion we were playing in an RSL club when a patron came and requested that we play “Stairway To Heaven”.
James said he didn’t know it but he pushed me forward and suggested that I play it while he go grab a beer.
Without any backing I just played the guitar parts without singing.
Jimmie Page’s guitar riffs took the attention of the room and when it came time for the solo I hit the gain pedal and let it rip.
I couldn’t believe the applause and cheering that followed.
I even had the manager come out of his office to tell me that I’d played his favourite song and thanked me!
It was astonishing to witness the impact it had on people…what was it?
Not long after that Toto came to Sydney and I went to see them, as expected it was a great concert.
They did their first set and went off for a break.
After the break Steve Lukather, the bands guitar player, came out on his own and played “Little Wing” the Jimi Hendrix classic, but as I did with “Stairway” he didn’t sing, he just played the guitar parts and then the solo.
Coming from one of the best in the business it was so effective and the audience loved it.
After seeing Steve Lukathur’s powerful performance of “Little Wing” and my experience with “Stairway” I could see that the guitar riffs to these songs were strong, they stood up on their own and were interesting enough without the singing.
So I got the idea to mix up the riffs from various songs and string them together in a medley so that’s what I’ve done here with my “Led Zeppelin Medley”.
I start with “Moby Dick” then move into “Going To California”.
“Kashmir” is next before I go into “No Quarter” with a quick reference to “Dazed & Confused” then return to “Moby Dick” to finish.
In our modern day, Kashmir is still incredibly popular so I’ve included it in the Medley.
Led Zeppelin: Timeless Global Popularity
In an interview, Jimmie Page said that he’d stopped drinking in his 50’s as part of his longevity plan.
His reason was that he was aware of his musical legacy with what he’d done and achieved with Led Zeppelin so he wanted to be around to see that legacy established and set for future generations.
What a legacy!
I saw a lot of people inspired to play guitar because of Led Zeppelin and I’m just one guitar teacher in one area of Sydney so world wide how many people were inspired by Led Zeppelin?
With my experience playing “Stairway” at the RSL club and watching how happy it made people, it begs the question, how many people have been made happy by Led Zeppelin’s music worldwide?
We’re talking millions!
Jimmie Page and Led Zeppelin are definitely worth checking out and investigating what made them so successful.
Anyway, it’s just good to hear their music and a good place to start is the movie “The Song Remains The Same”.
Robert Plant, the bands singer, had been involved in an accident and due to his injuries was unable to go on the upcoming tour so they decided to make a movie from the previous year’s concert tour of America which meant that Led Zeppelin’s concerts were done in the cinema while Robert Plant was convalescing.
Not many people have this sort of impact on the world the way that the Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin had and I have always been intrigued as to what makes that success and impact.