Why I Hate Led Zeppelin

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Apr 29 2006, 22:32

Since some peeps must know, here’s a post about why I hate Led Zeppelin. For me, there is no band I like less and, from an objective standpoint, no band more overrated. Since a lot of things I hate about Zep and the arguments I might make about them could be applied to other bands that I do enjoy, you might sense some hypocrisy. Such is life.

1) “They just suck, que pasa?”

Robert Plant’s vocals… I hate them. They can’t generate any force, and his tone just annoys me. I get these vibes of… I dunno, ego off of them. They don’t sound natural, although it is his natural voice, and it lacks some important qualities. He doesn’t have the vocal prowess of an Ian Gillan or a Freddie Mercury (Queen), nor the charm of an OzzY or a Bon Scott (AC/DC). I feel no connection to the stories he tells, and his voice is histrionic without focus. As I said, he has neither the power to sing the things he sings nor the soul to wail the blues.

Jimmy Page is a decent riff writer, but his solos don’t do anything for me. He also tends towards Indian sounds which tend to be boring unless fused to a heavy riff (see "Stargazer" or even "In the Name of God"). As a live player he pisses me off all the more. Nobody has more irritating jams than Zeppelin, and none more ridiculous than Jimmy’s violin-bow wankery. Wow, he can make his guitar sound like a creaking door! Wait… why the **** would he wanna do that? The 23-minute "Dazed and Confused" may be the most awful piece ever committed to record. Even Cream’s feedback scarred noodling wasn’t this dull. They at least put together tuneful jams at times… Zep, not so much.

John Bonham is a solid player, and the only member of Zeppelin who doesn’t come off as an asshole. My main problem with him is that he liked to solo. A lot. As in 20 minutes a lot. Drum solos are boring unless you’re a drummer or you’re viewing it live. Bongo solos are the tools of the antichrist. Critics mock ELP for having 20 minute solos… well, look at the big fat ugly root of all tedium.

Jones' bass is quite unremarkable save for when it stands out to drag your spirit to the abyss as in "Dazed and Confused". And not in a good way. He does do some decent keyboard work on tracks like "Trampled Under Foot", but frankly nothing to get excited about.

Perhaps the most horrible part is that Zeppelin 'experimented' so much. Stylistically Zeppelin is rooted in blues, but that didn't keep them from spreading their unholy genes into funk, folk, skiffle, and even reggae. I cannot describe to you fully how much songs like "D'yer Maker" and "The Rain Song" are an offense to music. Everything about Zeppelin's handling of foreign musics was awkward and tepid. Honky cracker jive turkeys is the term I'm thinking of here. Of course, even at their most soggily British ("Tea for One" anyone?) they seem out of their element.

Their songs are unconscionably long. Long songs are not in and of themselves bad, but long Zeppelin songs just mean more ****ing Zep to slog through. This is why they’re even more intolerable than the likes of Linkin Park.

2) “Radio-Death”

Zeppelin is played more often than any other band on the radio. Zep songs get spun 10-20 a day on many stations, and even fans start choking on this. My mother also loves Zeppelin, and owns all of their albums. Try me, I know most of their songs. I don’t base my hate on "Whole Lotta Love" and "Black Dog", but on every damned Zep song I’ve heard which must be upwards of 50-80.

3) “They’re Overrated”

I can’t convince you that their music sucks. It does, but you won’t agree. But as makers of original music and influences… there I believe they’re in fact highly overrated.

Zeppelin didn’t create metal. They had some metal-ish songs, but the first of these was "The Immigrant Song" from III which was released after the first two Black Sabbath LPs, Deep Purple’s IN ROCK, Uriah Heep’s VERY 'EAVY VERY 'UMBLE, Lucifer's Friend’s self-titled, etc. All of which are more clearly metal than any Zep LP. Zeppelin was one of the first hard rock acts, but even The Beatles were writing more advanced metal fare with "Helter Skelter", a doomy proto-metal bullet that handily demolishes anything from I and II. Blue Cheer was heavier, Cream turned up the amps and fuzz first, acid rock bands were more advanced in experiments with volume and feedback. They were indeed an influence on Sabbath, but many other groups were too and Sabbath’s early recordings stomp all over Zeppelin’s in inventiveness and originality. And I’d love to see you try to argue any direct Zep influence on Deep Purple or Uriah Heep.

Zeppelin’s heavy side was mostly fat reused blues riffs, and their lighter side based on folk. Jimmy Page had already generated the most interesting music of his career with The Yardbirds, where Jeff Beck was regularly blowing him off the stage. They’re praised for trying all sorts of different types of music. They neither pioneered this nor even did it all that well, at least on their first five LPs.

John Bonham was a fairly innovative drummer, and was along with Bill Ward (Black Sabbath) one of the first to pioneer the powerful metal style. The band also made the important step of toughening up the Beatles’ experiments with Eastern sounds, making them (along with Rainbow and perhaps UFO) the progenitors of the very widespread occurrence of such sounds in hard rock.

Now, that isn’t to say Zeppelin isn’t name-checked incessantly. So many bands have started playing because of them. Fortunately, most of those bands ended up playing something not at all like Zeppelin. Those that do, like Kingdom Come, Whitesnake, and The Tea (*vomit*) Party (screw tagging them), tend to suck horribly. Those that don’t, like Judas Priest or Metallica, can end up making excellent music.

Zeppelin are also credited as the supreme geniuses of rock, by the same critics who lambaste the rest of the hard rock genre for having stupid themes and lyrics. Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, power metal, death metal, AC/DC… all bad lyrics. And yet, Zeppelin suffers no ill-will for a career full of songs about the Lord of the Rings and butt****ing. Zeppelin songs are lyrically pointless, and often puerile. This is tolerable, but this is one flaw I can point out that is hard to deny about a band so many fellate as flawless.

It is also worth noting that the early solo work of Robert Plant is very, very rarely discussed by anyone even though it basically sounds like what Zep would've done after Presence. Jimmy Page's solo work has been a long trainwreck of critical derision and commercial mediocrity, and when was the last time anybody listened to one of Jones' projects?

And what can we extrapolate from that? Slap the Zep logo on any old bullshit and people will gobble up said shit with all of the zeal of a pornstar in a sheiser flick, but the exact same album will receive almost total apathy without it.

Oh, and...

4) “Their Personalities”

Holier-than-thou egotists are Page and Plant, and in the 70’s their ludicrous stage routines should’ve gotten them laughed off of the stage. Instead they were deified. I think I covered Jones (touchy lil bastard) and Bonham already.

They set my teeth on edge.
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  • -Zephyr-

    woot. (sorry)

    Apr 29 2006, 22:50
  • -Zephyr-

    but looks like you do care about them since you wrote a pretty long article about 'em ^^ maybe not what i would have done if i dislike a band xD

    Apr 29 2006, 22:51
  • 6:00

    I never said I didn't care about them. Given that they're inescapable I take shots at them whenever possible. There must be equilibrium, dammit.

    Apr 29 2006, 22:53
  • tompsuli

    who has said that led zeppelin created metal? noone..

    Apr 29 2006, 22:58
  • 6:00

    Actually, it's a very common opinion.

    Apr 29 2006, 22:59
  • stepwood

    Agree with most of this. Ironically, John Bonham was the biggest arsehole of the four (if you believe the stories)

    Apr 29 2006, 23:05
  • jeenio

    I agree with you about the Robert Plant's vocals. are quite boring for a band like led. although they have some nice songs.

    Apr 29 2006, 23:21
  • Black_Debbie

    Diamanda Galás With John Paul Jones - The Sporting Life is quite a solid fusion.

    Apr 29 2006, 23:28
  • jroger

    JPJ cannot write music for shit.

    Apr 30 2006, 0:36
  • funkyfest

    i've listened to them a bit recently, and have come to the conclusion that they are extremely overrated. i like some of their stuff,like good times bad times and heartbreaker, and can appreciate bonham as a drummer, though even i find more than 3 minutes of drum soloing offensive to the ears. drum solos are boring! and their lord of the rings shit gets on my nerves.

    Apr 30 2006, 0:53
  • clintisiceman

    I like Led Zeppelin, but they are definitely overrated. You hit the nail on the head with the LZ didn't create metal thing, which I've heard so often. Whenever someone says that, I put on Helter Skelter. That was way more innovative than most of Zeppelin's earlier stuff, I agree.

    Apr 30 2006, 1:06
  • Black_Debbie

    News Flash! Teenagers bitch about their parent's bands! More at 11!

    Apr 30 2006, 2:16
  • FordRules

    Robert Plants voice is excellent, Jimmy Page can sure play guitar. Bonham is awesome. JPJ is hardley noticeable.... Led Zeppelin is my favorite Band and they will and always kick any new bands ass. Led Zeppelin was never suposed to be a metal band anyways. They have always been like a aerosmith type band, Heavy when they want to be and soft when ever. Listen to Kashmir. That song is the greatest Song ever made in the world. Blows away any new shit like Billy talent or coldplay. You have no clue about Zeppelin..

    Apr 30 2006, 3:49
  • hyper22

    Black Debbie, if you're going to just blow off that very long and well-written rant on the basis that he's a teenager, who's less mature?

    Apr 30 2006, 5:39
  • HenchmanOfSanta

    They didn't create metal, but Dazed and Confused came out before Immigrant Song and at the same time or before those other albums. John Paul Jones seems like the only non-ass to me, and they're my favorite band! I will congratulate you for having reasons, although a huge rant wasn't necessary.

    Apr 30 2006, 12:17
  • HenchmanOfSanta

    Sorry to hear that you can't handle an opinion. I can't even listen to Kashmir all the way through more than once a month, and I have it as a ringtone. I think he demonstrated pretty well that he has a clue about Led Zeppelin, although I don't see how JPJ is barely noticable. Sorry, but you are not the standard for musical taste.

    Apr 30 2006, 12:21
  • suklaa

    a career full of songs about the Lord of the Rings and butt****ing...too true...:D. Grrreat. I've gotten the impression that usually when people mention Led Zeppelin as the forefathers of metal, they speak of them as being one of the many, including for example Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. And this isn't meant to make your arguments any less valid, but didn't Lucifer's Friend's first album come out in something like 1973? Ain't too sure about that though.

    Apr 30 2006, 13:13
  • 6:00

    News Flash! Teenagers bitch about their parent's bands! More at 11! Given how many bands from the 60's and 70's that I like, this seems a little spurious. Listen to Kashmir. That song is the greatest Song ever made in the world. Blows away any new shit like Billy talent or coldplay. You have no clue about Zeppelin.. Have you looked at my charts? didn't Lucifer's Friend's first album come out in something like 1973? Their self-titled album was out in '70, and it's also pretty universally considered their heaviest to boot. And I should add, this rant was written for a message board I post at some time ago because people demanded reasons why I hate THE BESTEST BAND OF ALL EVAR.

    Apr 30 2006, 15:51
  • -cowgirl-

    hey, JPJ is one of my fave bassists!! (obviously way behind people like Steve Digiorgio.... and myself) so i'm defended zeppelin there!! but i agree, Zep gets WAAAAY too tedious sometimes with all the slow boring songs and random experimentation. (which do anoy me quite alot) OOOH! here's a solo thats overrated- Stairway to heaven- yeah sure its a 'classic' and i actually enjoy it, but there is WAAAY too much hype! but in all fairness they do have their share of down-right FUN songs.. misty mountain hop or Rock n Roll (for example) who WOULDN'T wana 'bop' around to them??? and as for being an influencial band, i'd say.. minimally so! when i went through a phase of worshipping them *cough* and decided to write a few songs for my band, they sounded nothing LIKE zeppelin.. the songs basically had no influence on me (or my guitarist who is also a fan) so thats proof enough for me that their writing style was nothing special.. so yeah, this was an interesting read :) thank you - leah x

    Apr 30 2006, 17:37
  • arryhaffin

    Eh? I've never heard anyone say Zep created metal. I've heard people attribute this to Black Sabbath or Iron Butterfly, but not Zep... >_>

    Apr 30 2006, 23:59
  • 6:00

    From AllMusic.com... Led Zeppelin was the definitive heavy metal band. It wasn't just their crushingly loud interpretation of the blues -- it was how they incorporated mythology, mysticism, and a variety of other genres (most notably world music and British folk) -- into their sound. Led Zeppelin had mystique... In doing so, they established the dominant format for heavy metal, as well as the genre's actual sound. Random Google Search Results: Arguably the first true metal band, however, was Led Zeppelin. Initially, Zep played blues tunes heavier and louder than anyone ever had, and soon created an epic, textured brand of heavy rock that drew from many musical sources - GuitarWorld.com the prototypical heavy metal band Led Zeppelin Is in my mind without a doubt better than the beatles. Led Zeppelin created heavy metal.Led Zeppelin The Best band in the world's history ended in the 8O's Heavy Metal Created Hair Metal and evnetually formed the world's second Greatest Band- Guns N' Roses GNR's influence from Zeppelin is not obvius but Distant. this is my theory of Heavy Metal Evolution. - Billy, Boston, MA Etc. Needless to say, it IS a popular and erroneous opinion.

    Mag 1 2006, 1:00
  • Sykotic_X

    You can NOT say 'they just suck'. Bonham showed that he had skill on the drums. Page had huge talent. If your mother has the BBC Sessions, put on Thank You [live], or Since I've Been Loving You. Those solos are brilliant, with great passion. With the length point, they have several short & sweet songs: Immigrant Song, Black Mountain Side, Bron-Yr-Aur, The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair, Tangerine, Good Times Bad Times etc etc. That you consider them more intolerable than Linkin Park is just... maddening. I also don't see why you should rebuke them for being so 'experimental'.

    Mag 1 2006, 7:10
  • 6:00

    Did the band ever say that they created metal? Irrelevant. You can NOT say 'they just suck'. I didn't. I complemented Bonham's skill, and Jones' decent keyboard and bass chops. The problem is that they misuse their skills and produce garbage. With the length point, they have several short & sweet songs: Immigrant Song, Black Mountain Side, Bron-Yr-Aur, The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair, Tangerine, Good Times Bad Times etc etc. They have short songs that suck too, yes. But the longer songs suck the same amount for a longer time, and get an equal amount of radio play. Therefore, more pain. Hmm, perhaps Mr. Sigmund Freud might have something to say about why you hate Led Zeppelin so much. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. - Sigmund Freud If the guitar solo from Heartbreaker doesn't make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end, you're officially dead. That solo is hair-raising in the sense that I feel intense fear and loathing.

    Mag 1 2006, 19:03
  • Zezozoze

    Well done, Keeper of the Steel. You have challenged the planet Jupiter to a fistfight. High praise for your journalistic courage in the face of numerous logical inconsistencies. You haven't succeeded in convincing me of the objective suckitudinity of the Zeppelin, but the ghosts of the ancient crispy heretics do smile upon your efforts. In the interest of pedantic historical quibblery, I regret to inform you that Lucifer's Friend was recorded in November, 1970, a month after the release of Led Zeppelin III. The fiction classic, Hammer Of The Gods states that Led Zeppelin had been performing The Immigrant Song live for several months by that point. It seems downright evident to me that Ride The Sky is direct rip-off of it.

    Mag 1 2006, 21:18
  • 6:00

    The Lucifer's Friend reference should've referred to the album being temporally adjacent to III rather than pre-dating it, although I admit I'm not familiar enough with either catalogue to have known the dates so precisely anyway. But thanks for the correction, I'll keep it in mind.

    Mag 1 2006, 21:33
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