Led Zeppelin questions...

  1. Its a cliche that whenever a very popular rock band is hated by the critics and a lot of fans - they point to Led Zeppelin and say the critics hated them a lot too; but look at what the critics say now. Why was Led Zeppelin so unpopular with the rock press? And were they really considered trash by a lot of more serious rock fans?

  2. Did Led Zeppelin release many singles? I heard that they released one or two early on which flopped, so they stuck to promoting only albums. Yet on rock radio, about a dozen or so “hits” get all the airplay, suggesting they did keep releasing singles. Some of their best songs are seldom heard off the albums. Is it just lazy programming by ‘classic’ rock radio DJ’s?

  3. Why isn’t “Hey Hey What Can I Do” on any album? Was it the single they released?

This song originally appeared as the B-side to the “The Immigrant Song,” and recently reappeared on the Led Zep boxed

  1. They released 10 singles (in the US) that made the Top 100. Of those, 6 made the Top 40. The most successful being “Whole Lotta Love”, which hit #4. Their best known song, “Stairway to Heaven”, was never issued as single, yet remains one the greatest “rock classics” of all time despite the fact that Robert Plant claims he just strung together a bunch on non-related phrases and the song is meaningless in and of itself.

Also many of their songs were not favorable to radio format, i.e. 2-3 minutes long.

I think there was a minor fallout between LZ and Atlantic after the single for “Whole Lotta Love”, which cut out the long instrumental section. Radio stations had been editing that part out themselves to make it easier to fit in playlists, and Atlantic decided to release a single of that version due to its radio success. All of this happening without LZ’s permission.

You can see what singles were released on this page. These do to seem get a lot more airplay on “classic rock” stations than other, far more deserving LZ songs, but that might be due to radio corporations (all three of them :)) making playlists for all their stations, which results in the tedium that’s modern US radio.

As for the critics, I think a lot of them felt that LZ were ripping off “genuine” blues to make it commercially appealing.

Led Zepplin’s critical reputation has been mythologized quite a bit. The main complaint about early Zep was their penchant for stealing other people’s songs without attribution (a section of “How Many More Times” quotes extensively from a song “The Hunter” but doesn’t say so). Still, from what I recall, the consensus of their albums were:

  1. Good, interesting beginning.
  2. Some very good stuff, but also a lot of crap ("The Lemon Song’).
  3. Stinkeroonie (other than “The Immigrant Song”)
  4. Great Album! Especially “Stairway to Heaven.”

Rolling Stone didn’t particularly like Led Zep, but other critics were more postive.

Rolling Stone didn’t really approve of anything, despite being leading rock and roll magazine, (i.e. the Beatles)
During the 60’s and 70’s I’d say there was a backlash on Rock and Roll by the Critics themselves, because a lot of the rock bands were not willing to ‘sell out’ and ‘cash in’ their instant success. Of course this critic backlash had no effect on the public’s love of the band and its music.
Now days, a lot of the critics are willing to recognize and respect artists that don’t ‘sell out’, and criticise those who do and are more fake (i.e. Britney Spears)
That’s my take anyway.

Well it’s besides the point but theywere ripping off genuine blues. “Custard Pie” takes whole lyrics from “Drop Down Mama.” LZ also settled out of court (with Willie Dixon IIRC) for plagiarizing music. I think the song in question was Whole Lotta Love.

Not that LZ was the only band doing this. :rolleyes:

Maybe off subject, but was the movie, “Almost Famous,” supposed to about LZ?

Speaking as a Zepplin fan my theory is that, even though I know its a cliché, they were simply ahead of their time.

Consider the groups that were popular in the 70s:[ul]
[li]Capt. & Tenelle[/li][li]KC & Sunshine Band[/li][li]Donny & Marie[/li][li]Kool & the Gang[/li][li]insert ‘band with an amperstand in its name’ here![/ul][/li]The mainstream press (and single buying public) was simply not ready for hard rock/heavy metal.

Trivia question: What won the Grammy for Best Song the year ‘Stairway to Heaven’ came out?

Answer: ‘My Sharona’ by The Knack.

'Nuff said…

Sorry, no. Led Zeppelin IV came out in 1971, “Meet the Knack” came out in 1979. And if “My Sharona” won a Grammy, it isn’t mentioned on the official Knack web site (yes, there really is such a thing).

FTR, the Grammy for Song of the Year in 1971 went to “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Paul Simon, and in 1979 to “Just the Way you Are” by Billy Joel. Both also won Record of the Year those years.

You can debate the 1971 award but IMHO “My Sharona” would have been a better choice for song of the year in 79.

I don’t think the band in the film was modeled after one band in particular, but Crowe’s first tour experience was with the Allman Brothers, if I remember correctly. The film was more a collection of tour experiences with different bands gathered together and portrayed as one tour with one band.

I think a lot of critics are harsh on bands (such as Led Zeppelin) who can play their instruments to levels beyond what the idiom calls for. They see them as pretentious and copping a style for their nefarious purposes as opposed to real rock-n-rollers playing untrained and raw and “keepin’ it real”. The critics have their finger on the pulse of what’s good and pure. If a band plays an extended instrumental section they are “self-indulgent”, which is bad. Bands like Yes and Rush just drive them up the wall.

Check out the trivia page on www.imdb.com for some tidbits on Almost Famous and the links to Zeppelin.

Regarding the stealing of riffs and lyrics… Isn’t that common in the blues genre? Maybe stealing is the wrong word, how about borrowing?? Did Zeppelin ever claim that the riffs and lyrics were original?

quick trivia: Name the two zeppelin songs where Jimmy Page doesn’t get a writing credit.

Jimmy Page didn’t take credit for “You Shook Me” or “I Can’t Quit You Baby,” two old blues numbers on their first album, credited to Willie Dixon.

I think you were one year off on those. Song of the Year in 1971 was “You’ve Got a Friend” by Carole King, and in 1979, it was “What a Fool Believes” by the Doobie Brothers.

I’m basing this solely on what is written in the liner notes for the box sets. One may have been “You Shook Me” but another one was “All My Love”.

I’ll have to double check. Those could be wrong though.

I got the info from:

Or do you mean the award given in 1971 was for songs that came out the year before, so “Stairway” wouldn’t have been eligible until the 1972 awards?

In any case, no Knack.

I’m pretty sure that you’re right on “All My Love”, going from memory, and I think another was “Bonzo’s Montreaux” on Coda. And there were the two blues songs on their first album that were attributed to Willie Dixon, as noted, as well as “Gallow’s Pole”, “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” and “Hats off to (Roy) Harper” which are listed as traditional.

All I’m saying is that “Just the Way You Are” was released in 1977, so it would have been awarded either in that year, for that year, or in the following year, for that year. Awarded in 1977 for 1977, or awarded in 1978 for 1977.

If you follow me.