Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Led Zeppelin - Rock music at its finest

With their own distinctive style of rock music derived from the band’s many musical influences, Bad Touch’s sound incorporates the last 50 years of rock history with an unmistakeable modern British twist.

One of the clear influences in their music is that of legendary British rock band Led Zeppelin, and they celebrate this by performing crowd favourites ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and ‘Rock & Roll’ at many of their live shows.

Without the artistic freedom and innovative style provided by Led Zeppelin, it’s safe to say that bands like Bad Touch wouldn’t exist. So, I thought this was the ideal opportunity to take a deeper look into the history of this band which defined a generation. 

Along with the likes of the Beatles and The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin helped drag Great Britain kicking and screaming out of the dark ages of music; and the influences of the American Rhythm & Blues and Rock & Roll stars paved the way for a whole new generation of liberated UK artists in the 1960’s. 

The brainchild of guitarist Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin formed in 1968, following the rapid demise of his then group ‘The Yardbirds’ – who disbanded despite having tour commitments. Thinking on his feet, Page pulled together a band to see out the rest of the bookings, known as ‘The New Yardbirds’ before changing their name. 

Page was soon to make rock history along with Robert Plant on vocals, John Paul Jones on bass and keyboard, and the late, great John Bonham on drums. Together, they took the USA by storm, with their second album ‘Led Zeppelin II’ dubbed as ‘the musical starting point for heavy metal.’ 

Described by Rolling Stone magazine as ‘Unquestionably one of the best rock bands of all time’, Led Zeppelin were famous for living life in the fast lane, being the pioneers of the rockstar lifestyle, throwing TVs out of windows and being banned from hotels in major cities around the globe. 

But their musical ability shone through, and by ‘Led Zeppelin IV’, which became one of the biggest selling rock albums in history, they were well and truly on top of their game, performing shows that would go on for up to three hours to thousands of adoring fans. 

The mesmerising ‘Stairway to Heaven’ becoming the biggest rock single that was never released. It was only ever meant as an album track, but is often described as one of the best compositions in rock music history. 

Led Zeppelin saw the importance of moving with the times, and released their first named album in 1973, ‘Houses of the Holy’, another Number 1 on both sides of the Atlantic, which was much more experimental, with more use of effects such as synthesisers. 

The band were experts in their trade and adored by millions, with every record released being a US top 10; but in the late 70’s, having outlasted many of their counterparts including the Stones,  life on the road really started to take its toll. 

The release of ‘Presence’ in 1976 saw a clear change in tempo and showcased a much more stripped-back Led Zeppelin than ever before. They decided to release a concert film in the same year, but both received mixed reviews from fans and critics alike – particularly in the UK, where Led Zeppelin had refused to tour since the previous year due to tax implications. 

Despite the questions about Led Zeppelin’s new direction, they continued to pack out stadiums the world over, and their album ‘In through the out door’ was another number 1 smash. 

A year later, in 1979, the band was performing live in Nuremburg, Germany, when drummer John Bonham collapsed. This was the start of concern for the drummer, who had battled with alcohol and other excesses that came with super stardom. Just 18 months later, aged only 32, John was found dead by one of his bandmates. 

This tragedy spelled the natural end of Led Zeppelin, who decided not to carry on with another drummer, saying: ‘We wish it to be known that the loss of our dear friend, and the deep sense of undivided harmony felt by ourselves and our manager, have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were’. 

The three surviving members of Led Zeppelin continued to make music and have even reunited, most recently in 2007 with John’s son Jason Bonham taking his father’s place on the drums. But it was their unique influence between 1968-1980 which paved the way for today’s rock bands, including our very own Bad Touch. 

Without their exuberant stage presence, experimental musical genius and incredible talent, our sense of what rock music stands for would have been very different. Few have had the same impact on a genre and on a generation as Led Zeppelin have; and I for one doubt that many will in future.

No comments:

Post a Comment