this ended up being a little long. so, if you don't want to read a lot, i'd like to start by saying that within a week black summer crash may take the place of the beatles in the following post. they're scary good.
i don't really consider music in competitive terms. but.
i consider led
zeppelin to be the "best group ever" mostly by virtue of the fact that i can't think of the beatles as a band
. they exist on a higher plain, somehow. it just doesn't seem fair
to compare them with any other group.
so, by virtue of that, i feel that the very best and most powerful rock and roll band of all time is led
there are other bands that i hold in extremely high regard, either for their musical abilities (steely dan, even though they cheat) or their lyrical content (pulp and some other british pansies; steely dan again) or their pure pop hooks and sensibilities (jellyfish) or even their impact on my life and my feelings (the afghan whigs, guns n' roses, steely dan, or my beloved KISS.) and if an alien ever comes to your house and puts his ray gun to your head demanding to hear what rock and roll music sounds like, i suggest you put on ac/dc posthaste.
but as far as an out and out, headcuttin' throwdown, for my money no band can launch an all-out musical assault
, a living, breathing thing
, like led
zeppelin. as a sheer sonic force, for me they have no equal. they're like a moving mountain, beautifully obliterating everything in it's way. on stage or on record, no band can destroy quite like led
i know they stole. that's what rock and roll is; a guild of thieves & window dressers. the blues songs themselves are literary and musical bastards; they're comprised of a million different versions of a thousand songs by a hundred million people. the blues standards that we know are hardly originals, just the offspring of the ones that came before it. and while i do listen to and appreciate a lot of those artists (wolf, willie dixon, john lee hooker) that zeppelin took from and were influenced by, at heart i like rock and roll and i like to rock
. and nobody i've ever heard can rock like led
and yes, some of their lyrics are stupid and don't make any sense (at least to me, 'cause i've never read tolkien; i had girlfriends in high school
), and some of them are just blues retreads, and some of them i just plain can't understand what that screechy motherfucker is going on about, but some of them are pure gold. but it's mostly inconsequential. for me, what's important with led
zeppelin's lyrics isn't what
plant is saying, but rather how
he's saying it (just like with dylan's singing, it's about the inflection). i don't know what
percy's singing about, but i know how it feels
when he sings "no quarter" or "in the evening" or "ten years gone." and, i like singers that just fucking wail
. probably because of robert plant. like my good buddy donnie donuts says, "yeah, plant's the weak link in led
zeppelin, but he's still in led zeppelin
they may not even be my favorite
band, but i still think they're the best