Music/Popular Culture

Tournament of Rock – Legends: the Led Zeppelin pod

Results: For the second pod in a row, we had a clean win by the top seed. Clearly this is just too easy. The numbers: #2 The Clash 54%; Fleetwood Mac 35%; #10 Crosby Stills & Nash12%. The Clash advances to the Sweet 16.

Fine. Let’s steer our search for the greatest band of all time over to the Fillmore region and see if we can’t stir it up a little. In this pod, one of the most important and influential bands in rock history throws down with … well, two other important and influential rock icons. Power on power, smash-mouth rock, here we come.

Listen. Think. Vote. Polls close tomorrow morning sometime.

<br /> <a href=”” mce_href=””>Which band/artist deserves to advance in the Tournament of Rock: Legends?</a><span style=”font-size:9px;” mce_style=”font-size:9px;”>(<a href=”” mce_href=””>online surveys</a>)</span><br />

16 replies »

  1. Led Zeppelin. It’s funny, but when the voting gets serious, it becomes easier. For example, Rush is just fantastic, but I didn’t consider them at all here. Likewise, Clapton is one of the most important names in rock music, but Led Zeppelin is the clear leader. I know there will be those who disagree, and I hope the other two make a good showing.

  2. Damn. Rush against Zepplin and Clapton. Major bummer. I was afraid that they’d come up against someone I couldn’t vote against. Now to figure out which is greater, Clapton or Zepplin. 😦

  3. I like all three well enough, but i don’t know how to argue against Zeppelin…even if i wanted to.

  4. Wow. Another interesting pod. I had a gut feeling/hope that Led Zeppelin would lose in their first appearance. But as it has worked out, they face two artists who play to Zep’s strengths.

    Straight up, I take Clapton’s guitar work over Page’s. But when you throw Plant’s voice (at least early on), Bonham’s steamroller drumming, and JPJ’s talent for production, it’s not much of a contest.

    As for Rush, love ’em. Zeppelin’s lyrics ranged from direct to arcane to absurdist Tolkien rehashings … and yet they seem pretty good in comparison to Neil Peart’s pretentious drivel. But on the skins, I’d put Peart ahead of Bonham on range alone. I also get the feeling that Geddy Lee’s bass could take on both Page and JPJ simultaneously. If you throw in Lee’s foot pedals, it takes on an epic guitar god quality that would make the Kids in the Hall proud. Still, the package never came together quite as well.

    We’ll see what happens when Zep goes up against a band of pure, focused songwriting. I don’t think they’ll fare so well.

  5. My first thought was Zeppelin, but then I thought about Zeppelin up against some who are already in the next round, and I think Clapton would be harder to beat.

  6. When the artists are as notable, either as musicians (as many of the individuals in this pod are) or socially (as none of these three artists are, particularly), the decisions get complicated.

    Clapton is the greatest guitarist here – Page himself has said he couldn’t play with the inventiveness of Hendrix or the soulfulness of Clapton, but he could play faster than either (though even that’s an arguable proposition). Alex Lifeson doesnt even deserve consideration – excellent guitarist for what he has to do in Rush, but Geddy Lee and Neil Peart carry so much freight that he gets mostly a free ride.

    fikshun’s comments about Geddy Lee are fascinating, coming as they do from a guy who’s a terrific lead guitarist – and they show that being a great guitarist as he is doesn’t mean you understand what being a great bassist is. I’m a pretty decent bassist myself and I can tell you this – Geddy belongs in the Chris Squire (bassist for Yes) school – it’s flashy, but that doesn’t mean it’s better than the more subtle stylings of JP Jones – who is one hell of a bassist. And neither of them is as good as John Entwistle of The Who – and when have you noticed Entwistle’s bass work?

    But I digress…

    I like Led Zeppelin – but as fikshun rightly noted, the lyrics are too often drivel (and that’s Plant’s fault, mostly). And much of LZ’s mystique is connected to JP Jones’ production wizardry.

    Rush has two fantastic musicians, one very good one, and possibly worse drivel passing as lyrics than Zep – and that’s saying something. And they have a bigger problem for those of us who like a little focus in our song writing – as my brother notes, the songs are “just too frickin’ long….”

    So how do I vote?

    Well, for one thing, I don’t like the set up of this pod. I think The Clash had an easier pod than Zeppelin, a #1 seed. But since I set the damned tournament up with Sam, I guess I’ll go off somewhere and curse myself….

    Still, I’ve not answered the key question – if the musicianship is stellar all round, and social importance is, let’s be kind and say less significant, how should one vote?


    This to a large degree eliminates Rush, easily the least influential of the three. Zep shows up lots of places. Listen to Nirvana. Cobain’s songs are blends of Zeppelin and The Beatles.

    But Clapton’s guitar is everywhere – listen to Joe Perry – Mark Knopfler – Todd Mohr – John Mayer.

    The Beatles made lots of guys want to pick up guitars and write songs. Clapton made guys want to pick up guitars and play the hell out of them….

    Voted for EC….

  7. Well, for one thing, I don’t like the set up of this pod. I think The Clash had an easier pod than Zeppelin, a #1 seed. But since I set the damned tournament up with Sam, I guess I’ll go off somewhere and curse myself….

    The Clash might have had a tougher pod if our voters hadn’t deemed Fleetwood Mac more worthy than The Byrds.

    Just sayin’…..

  8. @ Jim: several thoughts.

    1) did you call me a terrific lead guitarist?!? i would say i’m a decent rhythm player and leave it at that.

    2) Geddy wasn’t great in the ’70s. Great tone, great riffs, etc. but it almost invariably got in the way of the songs. But once he settled down in the ’80s and started putting the songs first, i thought he became great. As great as the “Exit … Stage Left” live album is, i’d put Power Windows and the “Show of Hands” live album ahead of it.

    3) JPJ is a great bass player. He seemed to approach the instrument like a film composer; mindful of his themes, filling in the gaps. Sometimes pulling out all the stops, sometimes leaving well enough alone.

    4) and i notice John Entwhistle all the time. 🙂 for my 9th birthday, my dad took me to see my favorite band at the time, Kiss. after the concert, he said “it’s time you know what a real band sounds like”. he handed me Live at Leeds. i was floored. that’s easily the greatest live album ever, and a lot of that is because of Entwhistle.

  9. Live at Leeds is an awesome recording, certainly one of my all-time favorites.

    I found myself listening to the radio in the car last night when “Ramble On” was playing. I listened in light of the comments on this thread and realized something new. I’m not a huge Zeppelin fan (all i own are the BBC Sessions and that’s enough for me), but what i do like from Zep is the rhythm section…maybe that’s why i can take ’em or leave ’em: the stuff on top kind of gets in the way of what i really like.

  10. @ Lex: I am a fan of “II” and (even more) “III” – mainly because of “Ramble On,” “Thank You,” and “What is and What Should Never Be” on “II” and “Tangerine/That’s the Way” on “III” (although I must admit I enjoy “Out on the Tiles” and “Gallows Pole.” The rest of their catalogue is…okay….

    Most “real” fans of Zep tell me I’m not a Zep fan because “III” is my favorite.

    But my purpose in all this yammering is to say that the bass line on “Ramble On” is just sublime. It’s that mindfulness fikshun (who’s sandbagging about his guitar abilities) on full display….

    But Plant’s lyrics, as usual, are godawful….

    @Sam: Fleetwood Mac? Baa, baa, baa….

  11. @fikshun and Lex: “Live at Leeds” is the standard by which ALL live albums should be measured.

    That is all….