My students in middle school ask me all the time to name my favorite band. I wish every question they ask me in class would be that easy to answer. No band comes close to Led Zeppelin. I love The Beatles, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Foghat and so many more. However, Led Zeppelin is in a category that I can’t even define. We all get tired of so many of our favorite albums. We overplayed so many records that we cant even listen to them anymore. This doesn’t happen with Led Zeppelin. I can play the Physical Graffiti album every day and never get tired of it. There is not one Led Zeppelin album that I have ever gotten bored with. That says so much. Yes, I was disappointed when they first began releasing Led Zeppelin albums on CD back in the 1980s. They sounded terrible. However, Jimmy Page has finally gotten that right. The recent Led Zeppelin remasters with the bonus tracks sounded incredible. There is nothing like hearing Bonham hit that kick drum and feeling those bass vibrations resonate throughout every vein in your body.
The love of Led Zeppelin has only grown deeper over the years. We can all thank Robert Plant for that. Robert Plant has maintained the band’s integrity by understanding that they could never repeat that magic without John Bonham. Those days were special. The band was a reflection of the culture of the late 1960s and 1970s. Their sound was shaped by what they had just experienced themselves in the 60s. Their music was fueled by their youth, their experience, their inexperience, and of course, their love of the blues.
As a high school student in the 1970s consumed by rock music, my friends and I never went a day without mentioning Led Zeppelin or listening to some Led Zeppelin music. We didn’t have ipods or anything like that. We played the vinyl records every day at home or at our friend’s homes. They got scratched and scratched. The pops and the skips did not matter. We were kids, we could not afford to buy a second copy, so we just kept listening to the scratched copies. That’s dedication, that’s love, that’s what we did. When we started driving, we got the 8 tracks and then the cassettes.
Listening to Led Zeppelin was a way of life. If you were there and a teen, you completely understand what I am talking about. If you were not, you probably think that I am out of mind or that you are one of those fools that comments that Led Zeppelin was overrated. You don’t know what rock and roll is all about if you say anything as incredibly stupid as that.
When my friends and I saw Led Zeppelin at Madison Square Garden in 1977, it was like seeing God. It’s all we talked about for months before the concert. It’s all we talked about for years after. We are still talking about it. We are still listening. We will never stop!
It’s been 53 years since the band’s debut album. Everyone wants them to reunite. They did it once in 2007 and it was fabulous. Jason Bonham filled in beautifully. However, what made it so magical was that Robert Plant made sure to let everyone know it was a one-time deal.
The band was fully aware that they had to do something special for their 50th Anniversary. They came through. The Led Zeppelin 50th Anniversary book that was released in 2018 is an extraordinary collection of Led Zeppelin pictures that we have never seen. Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin is a book that all Zep fans must own. The memories that each band member composed for the book defined what the group meant to them. It paralleled what Led Zeppelin meant to us.
While it’s obvious that Robert Plant will never let Led Zeppelin reunite for a tour, we hope that Jimmy Page continues to release live material from the band’s glory years. For a band that toured so much, there is not a great deal of official live material that has been released by Atlantic Records over the years. The BBC Sessions was a fantastic release and its nice to have gotten a live show as the bonus disc on Led Zeppelin I. Celebration Day was like a gift from Heaven and the bonus tracks on The Song Remains The Same a welcome surprise.
Hopefully, there is more to come. There is a great amount of bootleg material that has been released over the years, but the audio has been poor on most Led Zeppelin bootlegs with the exception of Destroyer and a few others. Live on Blueberry Hill will always be my favorite Led Zeppelin boot.
It’s been 53 years, but it still feels just like yesterday when we all walked to Sam Goody’s or Record World and purchased those new Led Zeppelin albums. Those were Dancin Days.
50 Years Later, Led Zeppelin Is Still The Best Ever article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2019
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