Music/Popular Culture

Tournament of Rock – Legends: Led Zeppelin vs Jimi Hendrix

Results: I suppose when a #3 seed beats a #2 seed and the #3 seed is one of the most important and influential bands of all time it’s hard to call it an upset, huh? The numbers: #3 The Who 66%; #2 Bruce Springsteen/E Street Band 34%. The Who are our first band into the Great 8.

Now let’s truck the tournament to name the greatest band of all time out to the Fillmore region and see if we can’t incite fans of incendiary hard rock guitar into a galloping hissy fit.

#1 Led Zeppelin: Listen #5 Jimi Hendrix: Listen

Put that in yer bong and smoke it. Polls close tomorrow morning.

<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=””>survey</a>)</span><br />

The updated bracket looks like this:

Image credits: UnrealityTV and

24 replies »

  1. And the other shoe drops. See, up until now this contest could have been named the Tournament of Boomer Bands Are ALL Greater Than Anything Gen X Can Think Of. But now I get to sit back and watch ’em all squirm as they have to begin eating each other.


  2. I’m going with Hendrix, but it’s still painful. Ultimately, I’m deciding based entirely on numbers: Hendrix, even though he had a short career, produced more of the songs I like than Led Zeppelin. I still hate voting against Black Dog and Stairway to Heaven, though.
    Also, Robert Plant’s hair is wicked awesome.

  3. Voted for Hendrix. That was a tough one.

    If you go on catalog alone, it’s an easy win for Zeppelin. But when I thought of all the hallmarks and cliches of rock ‘n’ roll, Hendrix spawned a number of the former and Zeppelin were guilty of too much of the latter. Maybe I should never have watched The Song Remains the Same. Points in LZ’s favor though: 1) despite existing in 1979, they did not do a disco record and 2) they had the dignity to break-up after Bonham’s death.

  4. There are a number of Xer bands I would vote over ether one in the last pod. The Police against REM would kill me as much as this pod did.

    I’ve been thinking about the whole boomer/Xer legends thing. I wonder if longevity has something to do with it. Most of the Boomer legends were around a long time, the Xer ones broke up after just a few years. There are exceptions, but anyway, that’s the beginning of a thought.

  5. Yeah, longevity is a criterion that everyone should weigh. Sometimes, as in the case for the Stones for me, longevity works against you. If the Stones had broken up in ’72, I might revere them as rock greats instead of loathing them as i do. But to me, an artist who dies after a few short years of greatness represents a dark aspect of our rock ‘n’ roll worship as much as any of the other trappings. It’s part of the fabric of the phenomenon; “hope i die before i get old”, “it’s better to burn out – rust never sleeps”, etc.

    • fikshun: If I were going to pick a perfect time for the Stones to throw in the towel, how about right after Some Girls?

      No doubt that sticking around too long can be a bad thing. We’ve kicked the idea around before here (the Elton John case comes to mind, but there’s also Rod Stewart, and thank all the gods that The Police split instead of Sting trying to make them his solo backing band). Jim is on record saying that latter day suck doesn’t erode a legacy of brilliance, but I don’t agree.

      I’ve always said that we deify Hendrix, but if on the day he died Rod Stewart had died instead, well, who knows. Hendrix might be riding herd on Celine Dion’s autotuner, and there’s no doubt that we’d revere Rod the way we do Joplin.

  6. Oh yeah, I’m going to have to work dying at your peak into my theory. That also seems to be a major factor. Hendrix falls into that category, besides he’s one of the exceptions I mentioned.

    Also, thanks for fixing the comments.

  7. I voted for Hendrix. Have you ever been experienced? Well, I have….

    Get on with it, Jimi….

  8. I am both confused and bewildered. At first I didn’t understand how REM was defeated by Jimi Hendrix. I attributed that to a bunch of old fogeys (and I use the term reverently, because I must respect my elders) not getting REM. Sure Hendrix is the greatest guitarist ever, but REM was the full package. Good lyrics, good sound, strong mood development, redefined the college underground scene. But whatever, fine. REM wasn’t about to win their bracket anyway (though I liked them best).

    But here, we have one of the bands that won’t fully embarrass itself against an eventual showdown with The Beatles, and their a friggin’ coin flip with Hendrix? To date, I just assumed that I was too young and musically uneducated to follow these votes, but now I’m not so sure.

  9. @ Dr Slammy – i like “Miss You”. it’s one of my favorite songs by them. i’m ashamed of that fact. but really, they should have recorded “Honky Tonk Woman”, mixed it down, and then said “hey mates, you know what? this really sounds like a band having some fun. it’s a well crafted song and we’ve definitely proven to ourselves that we can do more than rock. that’s really great. i’m completely satisfied. but you know what? it still sucks … let’s call it a day”. i definitely agree with you that latter day suck can reduce a career to a zero sum prospect.

    @ Tom – i never really got into REM. i thought they were/are a solid band, but not spectacular. Bill Berry typified that — solid drummer, but not jaw-dropping. MIke Mills is a mediocre bass player, but he has a hell of a sense for harmony/backing vocals. i think Peter Buck is a mediocre guitarist, but he knows his limits and i think REM’s sound is defined as much by his guitar tone as Michael Stipe’s voice. Speaking of Michael Stipe, i can’t think of a bleeding-heart liberal who has annoyed me less. he got involved in causes but never beat people over the head with it. he has a good voice and deftly walks the line between sensitive artist and “i’m going to stand up and be counted” strength. the sum was greater than the parts and it came together well, particularly on Document and Out of Time. but really, i think it came down to Bill Berry’s eyebrows, Mike Mills’ glasses, and Stipe’s reticence toward the spotlight. those three things caused their label to repackage them as “college rock” as a way of explaining why these oddball kids from Athens should be on your MTV between all the other pretty faces that seemed so important at the time. oh yeah, the good songs had something to do with it. the most embarrassing thing they did was “Stand”. A lot of bands would be thrilled to have something so innocuous be their low water mark. REM was consistent … they just never did anything to make me think “wow”.

  10. sorry. i typed “stand”, but i was thinking “shiny happy people”. sorry for my usual long-windedness.

    • Stipe singing “Furry Happy Monsters” on Sesame Street was much better than the original. Still, as someone who loves Kate Pierson’s voice, having her on the album was a treat.

      And did I miss the B-52s in this TOR, or were they here and got killed in the first round?

  11. As someone who graduated from high school four years after Stairway To Heaven came out and was forced to listen to it daily from 1971 through 1975, including as the theme song at both junior and senior promst, I can tell you that tipped my vote … towards Hendrix. If I never hear that song again as long as I live, the memory will still make me cranky.

    Besides which, Hendrix is the bomb!

  12. Personally, I like Jimi Hendrix much better. His music was passionate, skillful, and exciting. Led Zeppelin always made me sleepy.

  13. I like and respect much of Led Zeppelin’s work. But Jimi Hendrix is one of the greatest musicians in the history of the planet! (Saw him three times. The first he basically ripped the top of my head off.)