Círdan’s note: Welcome back music lovers. On Monday, we kicked off our Nerd Rock series with Pink Floyd. This blog series was developed by one of our high schoolers, Ethan, a.k.a. spock0528. Make sure you read the introduction and his explanation of what makes rock music nerdy in Monday’s Post before tuning in to this one. Enjoy!
You don’t get more epic than Led Zeppelin. British hard rock band Led Zeppelin is one of music’s greatest artists. As far as bands go, they are only second to the Beatles in terms of innovation and influence. They revolutionized live shows and made Rock and Roll about albums, not singles. Though they were only around for a little over a decade, they created about as flawless as a career as possible through their nine albums. Rated the 3rd greatest artist of all time by VH1, 14th by Rolling Stone Magazine, and second greatest band of all time by WatchMojo their music is timeless and oh-so nerdy, often borrowing elements from fantasy and history for their music and appearance.
Led Zeppelin formed in 1968 as a heavy blues rock band made up of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, drummer John Bonham, and bassist John Paul Jones. They released their first album in 1969. It was made up of blues covers, acoustic tracks, and psychedelic songs. It began one of the most successful debut albums of all times becoming the fifth best selling album of the 60s. They released their second album Led Zeppelin II later in the year which outsold its predecessor and is now seen as one of the most important albums in hard rock and heavy metal history. The album featured more original songs written by Page and Plant such as Whole Lotta Love and Ramble On.
Listen to the Tolkien influenced “Ramble On“, especially the second verse:
Led Zeppelin were renowned for their incredible musical ability. Jimmy Page is considered to be one of rock’s all great guitar players (usually ranking just under Jimi Hendrix). John Bonham is usually rated the greatest drummer of all time, while Jones was known not only for his skill with a bass but with the keyboards as well. Plant became known for
his powerful, bluesy voice that cemented him as one of the greatest frontmen of all time. Led Zeppelin’s live shows became legendary partly due to the fact that they lasted for many hours, much longer than had ever been done before. They were also known for never releasing singles, meaning you couldn’t go to the record store and buy a single Led Zep song, you had to buy the whole album.
Watch Jimmy Page play an incredible guitar solo with a bow:
By Led Zeppelin’s fourth album in 1971 they were the biggest band in the world, taking over from the now broken-up Beatles. The album featured many of Zeppelin’s best songs such as Black Dog and When the Levee Breaks and of course, Stairway to Heaven. Led Zeppelins lyrics began to get more complex as they now used the works of Tolkien as inspiration for songs. Stairway to Heaven, Ramble On, Misty Mountain Hop, and The Battle of Evermore all reference LOTR in some way. The group also referenced Norse mythology and Vikings with songs like the Immigrant Song and No Quarter.
Try to find all the Tolkien references in the geeky “The Battle of Evermore”-
On their next few albums Led Zeppelin began to experiment with more types of music such as funk, reggae, ballads, progressive rock, folk, along with using spanish and eastern influences, such as on the song Kashmir (featuring the nerdy line: “I am a traveler of both time and space”) . Houses of the Holy and Physical Graffiti were some of the bestselling albums of the decade and their new musical styles helped bring in new fans.
However in the late 70’s personal tragedies, such as Plant being injured in a car crash and his young son dying of illness, along with drug use caused Led Zeppelin to begin to disintegrate. Soon after the release on their 8th album In Through The Out Door, John Bonham died of alcohol poisoning leading to the band’s breakup in 1980. In 1982, the album Coda was released. It was made of previously recorded but unreleased tracks. Page and Plant both pursued solo careers during the 80’s and 90’s. In 2007 the band reunited with Bonham’s son, Jason, on drums for the Ahmet Ertegun tribute concert leading to a DVD release of the concert in 2012.
Watch the trailer for the Celebration Day concert:
Our Nerd Rock series continues on Friday with Rush!
P.S. At the meeting, we talked about Page’s playing of the guitar with a violin bow and how different and unique that is, and how that is, really, what a nerd looks like. What do you think?
Send us an owl: What is your favorite Led Zeppelin song and why?