Posts Tagged Led Zeppelin
This second full week of January is a week for debut albums. First-outs this week include The Beatles’ Introducing…The Beatles (1/10/64), Led Zeppelin’s 1/12/69 debut, Aerosmith’s 1/13/73 first effort and ZZ Top’s First Album from 1/16/71. Today, January 14, marks the 39th anniversary of Paul Simon’s eponymous debut album (click here for my Rhymin’ Simon playlist).
Hot off his decade-long, multi-platinum gig with partner Art Garfunkel in the acclaimed 60s folk-pop duet Simon & Garfunkel, Simon cooled off for two years to work on his debut album as a solo artist. When released 1/14/72, Paul Simon became the first of three straight Top Ten, million-selling studio LPs for Simon (not including the 1974’s Live Rhymin’).
Paul Simon expands from the straightforward folk-pop music of his Simon & Garfunkel years and includes reggae influences (“Mother And Child Reunion,” a Top Ten hit), African rhythms and texture (“Duncan”), and Latin tinges (“Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard”). This subtle exploration of different musical genres continued with the R&B and gospel influences on 1974’s There Goes Rhymin’ Simon and the jazzy sounds of 1975’s Still Crazy After All These Years, which hit #2 and #1 on the U.S. pop charts (Paul Simon made it to #4 in 1972). After a relatively quiet 10 year stretch, Simon returned in 1986 with Graceland, an album deftly mixing American folk-pop with South African mbaqanga music. Those four albums, plus the heavy Latin sounds of 1990’s The Rhythm Of The Saints are Paul Simon’s best five and an incomparable collection of world-pop from one of the best all-around folk-pop songwriters of all-time.
The eponymous debut album by British prog-rockers Yes is considered to be the first progressive rock album. And Yes the band (for their playlist, click here) is considered to be the most venerable and commercially successful prog-rock band. Their debut album was released on October 15, 1969 in the waning days of psychedelic rock, and just ahead of the big splintering of rock music into a multitude of sounds and genres that made the 70s the best decade for rock music. With their next three albums, Yes became a major and defining force on the progressive side of rock music. But the debut LP didn’t fare well, even though it’s a decent collection of early Yes songs. The biggest reason: Yes was released within a few weeks of several notable late-1969 rock albums by the heavy hitters of the time, including Tommy by The Who, Led Zeppelin II, and the Stones’ Let It Bleed. By 1973, that would all change.
By the way, Yes includes two very ambitious and interesting covers of songs by the Beatles (“Every Little Thing”) and the Byrds (“I See You”). To download Yes from iTunes or for a CD from Amazon, click here.
In mid-summer 1987, punk had mellowed out, the New Wave had largely settled into synth-dance pop, heavy metal had mostly gone mainstream to pop-metal, and good ol’ rock ‘n roll was on life support, waiting for a savior. The White Knight, it turns out, was Guns N’ Roses. With their July 21, 1987 debut LP, Appetite For Destruction, they burst into the void with a swaggering, down-and-dirty, loud and unpretentious hard rock that instantly covered the landscape with sounds not heard since the Stones, Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin in the 70s.
GNR formed three years earlier when the cream of two Southern California bands, L.A. Guns and Hollywood Rose, joined to form a new band and took to the road to spread their venomous bites of grinding rock ‘n roll. Lead guitarist Tracii Guns (nee Tracey Ulrich) and singer/frontman Axl Rose (William Rose Bailey. Jr.) formed the nucleus of the group, but Guns left before Appetite…. His replacement, Slash (Saul Hudson) formed a twin-guitar attack with guitarist Izzy Stradlin (Jeff Isbell), matching licks and riffs atop the pounding rhythm section of drummer Steve Adler and bassist Duff McKagan.
Appetite For Destruction started slowly, but increasing grassroots pressure on radio and MTV programmers gained significant airplay, especially for the three great singles that came off the LP. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” (#1 in the U.S.) is power balladry at its best (and a signature GNR track). “Welcome To The Jungle” (#7) speaks to the dark underside of L.A. and its careless rock ‘n roll scene. Hard rocker “Paradise City” (#5) is about anything but paradise.
Those three hit singles and the heroin-laced, late-80s gem “Mr. Brownstone” make Appetite… a true classic and (for good reason) one of the hottest selling debut albums of all time. It’s available for purchase as a CD or individual MP3 files on Amazon, and as iPod downloads on iTunes. GNR is in Dr. Rock’s Playlist Vault.
The original (and many believe still the best) heavy metal band, Led Zeppelin (click here for my LZ playlist) was formed in mid-1968 by ex-Yardbirds guitarist Jimmy Page, who recruited John Bonham, John Paul Jones and Robert Plant to his band when his dream of a supergroup featuring himself, Jeff Beck, Keith Moon and John Entwistle failed to materialize. By summer’s end they’d played several dates in Scandinavia as The New Yardbirds, then changed the band’s name and secured a recording contract and fat advance from Atlantic Records.
Led Zeppelin’s debut album was recorded in a total of 36 hours in several sessions during October 1968 and released on January 12, 1969. It’s a great blend of different styles and moods, with most of the songs coming from the band’s set lists from the just-completed Scandinavian tour. Notable tracks are two decent Willie Dixon blues covers (“You Shook Me” and “I Can’t Quit You Baby”), a longer, tougher blues-rock original by Jimmy Page (Dazed And Confused”), the frantic, punk-precursor “Communication Breakdown,” a sweetly folksy acoustic instrumental “Black Mountain Side” and the rolling “How Many More Times.” The lone single, “Good Times Bad Times” reached #80 on the U.S. Billboard charts in the U.S. and is #19 on my 25 Best of Led Zeppelin playlist.
We’ll argue forever about which Led Zeppelin album is better, their debut or Led Zeppelin II, which came out 40 years ago today on October 22, 1969, nine months after its predecessor. If you’re on the “other side’, you still can’t deny that Led Zeppelin II was a monster album, and together they are a formidable duo of highly influential hard blues-rock music (tracks from both are included in my LZ playlist on DrRock.com). One interesting fact: while Led Zeppelin I was recorded at a leisurely pace in the fall of 1968, Led Zeppelin II was laid down during breaks in the band’s hectic touring schedule in the U.S. and U.K. between January and August 1969. With no time for unlimited retakes and overdubbing, II is a raw and energetic album, a full set of great guitar riffs, distorted vocals, heavy metal rhythms and very memorable tunes (“Ramble On,” “Whole Lotta Love,” “Thank You” and “What Is And What Should Never Be” are the best).
Now back to the argument at hand. Rolling Stone magazine fails provide any true guidance on the issue of which is better. Led Zeppelin II is listed on the RS Top 100 albums at #59, is included on the RS200 (there were no rankings on that one), and takes the #75 spot on the RS Top 500 list. Led Zeppelin I isn’t on the Top 100 or Top 200 lists, but finds itself at #29 on the Top 500 list. Go figure.
The eponymous debut album by British prog-rockers Yes is considered to be the first progressive rock album. And Yes the band (for my Yes playlist, click here) is considered to be the most venerable and commercially successful prog-rock band. Their debut album was released on October 15, 1969 in the waning days of psychedelic rock, and just ahead of the big splintering of rock music into a multitude of sounds and genres that made the 70s the best decade for rock music. With their next three albums, Yes became a major and defining force on the progressive side of rock music. But the debut LP didn’t fare well, even though it’s a decent collection of early Yes songs. The biggest reason: Yes was released within a few weeks of several notable late-1969 rock albums by the heavy hitters of the time, including Tommy by The Who, Led Zeppelin II, and the Stones’ Let It Bleed. By 1973, that would all change.
By the way, Yes includes two very ambitious and interesting covers of songs by the Beatles (“Every Little Thing”) and the Byrds (“I See You”). To download Yes from iTunes, click here. For a CD from Amazon, click here.
It Might Get Loud! is an upcoming documentary movie about the electric guitar from the perspective of guitar virtuosos from three different generations of rock, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, The Edge of U2 and Jack White of The White Stripes. The film explores their music, background and influences, and brings them together for an impromptu jam session on an empty stage. It Might Get Loud! premieres on August 14 in New York and L.A. and will be in theaters elsewhere in September. Click here to view the trailer.